communicate confidently

Skilled communication is necessary if we want to have a successful massage business.

Without this skill, it will be very difficult to maintain a full appointment book. We can give the best massage in the world, but that pales in comparison to professional communication.

Several areas that benefit from professional communication include trust, boundaries and understanding clients’ needs. (Learn more about confident communication by reading the related feature article, “Power Up: Confidence Helps Build a Practice,” by Rajam Roose, in the November print issue of MASSAGE Magazine.)

 

We Gain Clients’ Trust

Consistency is key. When we are consistent in our message, the client knows what to expect. For example, in my work, I used a general script in massage sessions. My script includes how to get on the table, to change positions, and instruction for when the session was over.

For years, my regular clients heard mostly the same spiel. They felt comfortable in my office because they knew what to expect. This helped to create a space where they could relax and enjoy their massage session.

 

define boundaries

We Define Our Boundaries

We are the ones who set the tone for our business. If we use professional communication, then our clients are unlikely to push boundaries. In the last few years, texting has become a popular communication tool.

For those of us who have been in the profession for a long time, texting clients may seem unusual. But it has now become an acceptable and normal way to set and confirm appointments with clients.

A common problem is when we text. Because of the medium, it is easy for us to slip and use the same type of communication as if texting a friend. Although the client may use shorthand slang in a text or email—we don’t need to follow that same pattern.

We can show that we are professionals in how we use text. This makes it easy to set and uphold boundaries.

Two examples of the same text:

Example 1

Client: “Sunday at 7?”

MT: “I can’t do Sunday. Do u want to come Monday?”

Client: “7 pm?”

MT: “Yeah”

Client: “C u then”

MT: “k”

Client: “R u sure you can’t do today?”

 

Example 2

Client: “Sunday at 7?”

MT: “If you would like a 7 p.m. session, I have openings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Which day would you like to come in?”

Client: “I’ll take the Monday.”

In the second example, the tone tells the client which days were available and leaves no room for question. The message is short and to the point. In a professional way, we have let the client know the available times.

 

We Understand Clients’ Needs

An important part of communication is to listen, rather than hear what is being said. Compare these two examples of a massage therapist and a new client during an intake.

In this scene, the client has circled several areas of the body on the form where they would like attention during a one-hour session.

Example 1

Client: (nervous laugh) “I think I filled up all the spaces on the picture with circles. All of those areas give me problems.”

MT: “Hmm, well, we only have an hour, so I’ll do what I can.”

Client: “OK.”

MT: “Undress to your comfort level and then get on the table facedown. I’ll knock on the door before entering.”

 

Example 2

Client: (nervous laugh) “I think I filled up all the spaces on the picture with circles. All of those areas give me problems.”

MT: “What bothers you most right now?”

Client: “Well, my back hurts a lot because I’m sitting all day. But my arms are always sore from typing.”

MT: “We have an hour today and I can give you a full-body session with attention on your back and arms or we could just work on the areas where you feel you need the most.”

Client: “In that case, could you just work on my back, arms, and my feet too?”

MT: “OK, so today you would like the full hour on your back, arms and feet?”

Client: (Sighs) “Yes, I think that would be so wonderful.”

MT: “If you don’t mind, remove your clothing and hang it there, but you can leave your underwear on if you feel more comfortable,” (lifts top sheet on table), “then lie on your stomach under this sheet with your face in this hole.” (Points to face rest.) “I’m going to wash my hands and then knock on the door to make sure you are ready before entering the room.”

Which example do you think is the massage therapist who listens? Yes, in example 2, the massage therapist listens to her client. Listening is an art and takes time and practice to develop. A way to practice is to repeat what we hear to our client. This way, we can be sure that we understand what they expect from their session.

 

communication puzzle

Take Time to Learn to Communicate Confidently

We are not born with professional communication skills; it takes time to learn them. We can start by noticing how we use text and email and then practice to avoid the use of shorthand and slang.

We can take a few extra minutes to listen to what our client wants from his or her massage session. And finally, we can practice consistent behavior so our clients know exactly what to expect in their sessions.

This is how we can build a successful massage business.

 

Rajam RooseAbout the Author

Rajam Roose has been in the massage profession for 17 years. She currently helps massage business owners understand how to use internet and social media marketing. She wrote “Understand Research: Be a Better Massage Therapist” and “What Does Pain Science Mean For Massage Therapists?” for massagemag.com.

 

 

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