How To Do The Perfect Hair Presentation On A Big Stage

Chris Foster - British Barbers Association NYC

One of my greatest professional joys is taking someone new to the hair industry or even someone that has been in the industry for many years and mentoring them to build their personal story of success and positioning them as the 'go-to’ industry professional.  As a hairstylist, you may be the best in the business, but if you cannot communicate your skill to a large audience, it will be very difficult to gain the respect from your peers. Excellent communication skills are key to becoming an expert in the industry. 

One thing that you must be able to do effectively is communicate your passion. Whenever you are teaching in a classroom full of students or on a big stage, being a strong communicator is extremely important. 

Why should I listen to you?

Audiences are naturally skeptical. We tend to guard the gates of our minds against what and who we allow to influence us. That's why being seen as the expert and a great communicator is crucially important. Connecting with the audience is vital; a clear message equals successful presentation. Whether it is selling a product or a new method of cutting, make sure the audience connects and understands the points your trying to get across. I personally found one of the best ways of doing this is to tell a positioning story. You need to persuade the audience that you are someone they can trust, a good source of help and information. On my 'One Mentoring Programme’ I help my students develop strong positioning stories that audiences can connect with straight away.

 As hairdressers/barbers, our most dominant sense is sight and we are drawn in by visual stimuli. This is our biggest communication channel and our industry spends millions of pounds each year to communicate with us in this way. From catwalks shows and editorial photo shoots to trade shows… whatever the method…it has to LOOK good or the message is lost.

People not only listen to you, they also watch you. Non-verbal communication on stage is just as important as what you say. Keep your arm gestures open and use your hands to emphasize the points. Give thought to involuntary body language. Your body expresses what your attitudes and thoughts are. Keep it positive and it will show… the reverse is also true. 

Dress appropriately for the occasion… it is always said first impressions count. Make regular eye contact with your audience, if you can’t that might mean they have fallen asleep!   Another point to remember is to reduce the distance between you and your audience by facing them. This may be difficult if you’re working on a model on stage, so from time to time disengage from what you’re doing to engage the audience…but remember they must always see what your doing with the hair. Your body language and verbal presentation needs to be congruent or your audience will find it difficult to connect to your message. 

Some of the best platform artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with were Patrick Cameron and Beverly C. They are true stage gurus. Their tonality is pitch perfect and their message is always clear: simply beautiful hairdressing and they communicate this so effortlessly.  

Here are some helpful hits and tips:

  • Establish what you want your audience to gain from the presentation, be it entertainment, inspiration or education 

  • Read your audience; monitor how the audience is responding to what you’re saying and demonstrating

  • Finish sentences by looking directly at a person in the audience. Pick someone else in the audience to begin a new sentence this is a great way of maintaining a good eye contact throughout your presentations

  • Energy, what you give in your presentations is what you get back from the audience. 

  • If you need to, prepare numbered cue card with only the main points or key words and phrases. Never read from a script

  • It is good to be a bit nervous; it means you value your performance.