The heart and soul of the professional beauty industry is education, and I believe that continued education has a direct correlation to success. Learning how to do things differently to challenge, inspire and motivate yourself only adds value to the services you provide and the art you create. But simply attending a class or show does not mean that you’ve understood or retained the content presented. Being exposed to the new information is only step one. Jesse Linares, a member of the Sam Villa ArTeam, is taking the rest of this article to share how to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your craft:
Taking advanced education is thrilling; often the educator is someone of repute, the energy of the classroom is high and the information comes at us fast. As exhilarating as it is, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming, and over the ensuing weeks, bits of what you’ve learned can be lost. Of course, we want you to get as much as possible out of our education and any other education you are exposed to, so consider these tips.
Be Prepared for Class
Whether you’ve paid for the class or been included as part of a salon initiative, it’s in your best interest to find out as much as possible about the class content and educator. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out via social networking to see if there are any techniques you can prepare for in advance. In fact, educators love this because it let’s them know their attendees are interested and will be fully vested during the program.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is entering a classroom without specific expectations. It’s important to remember that the class content is a collection of ideas, and it’s definitely not the only way the techniques can be used. It’s not important that you complete the techniques as well as the educator, or anyone else in the room; you just have to understand the roadmap and be able to perform the techniques well enough to take them home and practice. So think in advance of specific guests who may be interested in the techniques and how you can adapt them to fit within their custom hair plans. This approach may encourage you to take careful notes, ask more questions and thereby gain more from the class.
Remember, techniques are merely mechanical processes you use creatively. If you are not considering how YOU will use them with YOUR guests, you are merely learning how the educator does it and it will be of little value to you.
Retention Through Repetition
After a class, it’s imperative that you anchor your learning by repeating the processes within a short time. Like any developed skill, retaining and owning information takes consistent practice. Setting aside time regularly to train in a distraction-free environment will greatly improve your confidence in using new ideas on paying guests.
Get a Mannequin
Working with a high quality, human hair mannequin (such as Pivot Point) is a consequence-free way to practice what you’ve learned. For your own safety, and the safety of your guests, you can practice new techniques – especially those that require you to move your body and/or tools in unfamiliar ways.
Using a mannequin gives you the freedom to practice principles, instead of completing looks. Often, you only need to execute a few sections with a technique to understand it, and you can leave the mannequin until your next session. This economical thinking allows you to extend the usability of the head for several more “technique/comfort tests.” The mannequin doesn’t care what you do, and it doesn’t yell at you when you make a mistake!
Whether you choose to use a live model or a mannequin to practice with, think about conversation stoppers that might arise when using the technique on a paying guest. Will they love the cut, but hate the fringe on it? Will they feel the color technique is close, but not exactly right? Try imagining as many obstacles as possible and how you can overcome them. Then, you can use the model/mannequin to apply the new thought process and see if it works. Through a problem-solution approach like this, you will become much more confident, and the new skills will become part of your repertoire in the salon every day.
Aspire for more!
Sam and Jesse
[Image courtesy of Sam Villa]