The purpose of my research is to establish and implement a communications course for students of massage therapy. The course should give an overview of several areas of communications including interpersonal, speech, and public relations. This will provide the basic tools necessary to enter the business world.
These tools should help the massage therapist interact with clients as well as other massage therapist in a more positive manor. This will create a more active role between therapist and client which will equal more clients rescheduling regular appointments. There should also be an increase in communication between fellow massage therapist which should reduce conflict or at least increase the possibility of peaceful and efficient conflict resolution. Currently we do not include communications in our curriculum although we have come to see the need to provide these tools for our students.
The Halsa Helm School of Massage is who I work for and we are under the corporate umbrella of Shari s Spa which operates the school on it s premises. We have been in operation for almost two years and have had the opportunity to graduate and follow several classes through our doors, many of which have gone to work for Shari s Spa providing us the opportunity to evaluate the job that we have done as instructors.
The spa provides therapists the opportunity to work through a sub-contractor relationship, outlining standards of conduct, spa operation, and rental agreement. The spa also recruits directly from the school and at this time close to 90% of the sub-contractors are Halsa Helm graduates. In the beginning after the first few graduating classes there were not many problems, the group was close nit and everyone tried hard to get along. As anyone knows though when you involve more people and the group gets more diverse than problems are bound to start escalating. That is exactly what has happened and the problems have become such that everyone is taking notice but few have any idea how to fix the problem.
The spa has gone from a place of harmony to a business in a constant state of disarray. The employs are constantly at each others throats over problems such as stealing clients or not making a bed when finished with massage. In recent months there have been major incidences all involving graduates of the school that have resulted in some therapist leaving the spa completely.
The biggest problem that I see is that little problems are allowed to fester into these major incidents. The therapists all seem to know about problems when they arise but very few are willing to address the issues until Shari speaks up or the situation blows up in everybody s faces. This type of environment can be felt by all therapists, the clients, and even by the student who may be around to witness these actions. This all stems from the inability for these therapist to communicate with each other.
This inability to communicate hurts a therapist in other ways as well, for instance I have noticed that most graduates of our school struggle to re-book their clients after an appointment. This is another way their lack of communication skills stand out. If a therapist simply asks a client to reschedule while still there after a massage about 60 % will do it, but time after time the client walks out the door and wont call again for another 6 weeks, another missed opportunity to use effective communication. This becomes a major problem because if a therapist doesn t re-book their clients obviously the wont make a regular income but, their client may call back and book with another therapist because you were not in at the time.
These are some of the problems that occur when a massage therapist is unable to communicate effectively with clients and other therapists. If I am right then we can solve some of these problems by establishing and implementing a communications course into our curriculum.
I hope to be able to address some interpersonal communication concepts in order to give our students a better understanding of how people communicate amongst each other as well as with ourselves. I also want to teach some ideas about public speaking in order to help students more confidently communicate with new clients. The time constraints of our curriculum will only allow me to touch on these various areas of communications so in my research I hope to find efficient means of teaching some basic concepts.
The importance of this project is two fold. The Halsa Helm School of Massage prides itself on turning out quality massage therapist and if a communications course will improve their graduates and give them an edge in the business world. Shari s Spa prides itself on employing quality massage therapist and if they continue recruit from Halsa Helm then they should only want the quality of graduates to increase.
If this project could produce a quality communications course for our school the it would provide much benefit for myself as well my business. It will start me on my way to teaching as a career as well as improve operations at our spa thus making my life easier.