At the onset of the booking, a hairdresser or client will commonly default to a position of stating either, "what do you want" or "whatever you think." Both of these examples are concerning. Neither attempts to start a conversation, but rather dumps the responsibility of what is about to take place onto the other individual. I use the example of a first date when speaking with new clients on the importance of communication and consultancy. One would rarely sit back in that situation and take a carefree 'have at it' approach. It would be much more beneficial for each person to ask questions that can help to establish discovery and define boundaries with concise clarity. To be fair, a woman likely goes to a salon with the hopes of professional advice and might not feel confident or knowledgeable in discussing their appearance in specific detail.
To that point, a hairdresser should also always insist on thorough consultancy, even if a client isn't sure how to proceed. It is up to the hairdresser to engage each client in a manner that can support the exchange of information with them. Too, a client should always be interested in and willing to discuss, even with a well established and respected hairdresser, their needs and desires. It is an essential part of our development to master the art of communication, particularly with regard to the diverse individuals we will meet in life. Failure to establish effective communication increases the chance for misunderstanding and with that, less than satisfying results. These skills take time, desire, and a decidedly conscious effort to develop. Unfortunately, effective communication and thorough consultancy are not typically addressed within the hairdressing industry.
Throughout my life, I've regularly visited other practitioners whether they be physiotherapists, acupuncturists, psychologists or osteopaths. Each time they demonstrated an interest, care, and thoroughness in their communication with me. Their consultation process has contributed greatly, if not entirely, to the development and implementation of my practice. Establishing a space that can support open and honest communication is so important and is the reason for an independent solo practice. It provides the means to engage with each individual in a way that best supports their needs each time they visit. This definitely takes effort from both client and hairdresser, but with effective and collaborative communication the chance of an enduring relationship and ultimately satisfying results is always going to be much greater.