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A B M P m e m b e r s ea r n F R E E C E h o u r s by rea d i n g t h i s i s s u e ! 83 The Oxford Dictionary defines careless as "not giving sufficient thought or attention to avoiding harm or errors." Synonyms include inattentive, negligent, absentminded, and forgetful. We've all been guilty of carelessness at one time or another: grabbing a hot pan without thinking, running out of gas because you forgot to fill up, or forgetting to make brownies for your kid's school bake sale. When it comes to the practice of massage, being habitually careless can cost you clients, subsequently affecting your business and income, and it may harm your reputation. Following are a few examples of client comments about a careless therapist. "She gives a good massage, but she runs late all the time." "Some kind of smell in the office was overwhelming. It gave me a headache." "She keeps her cat at the office. There was cat hair on the blanket." "He constantly reschedules my appointments." Other issues, such as careless draping, can be even more serious and may result in disciplinary action. It's enough to make a client think about switching therapists for someone who's more on the ball. Put yourself in the client's place. Don't you get aggravated when you have an appointment with someone and they're running late? If you got on the examination table at your doctor's office and there was cat hair on it, what would you think? Many people are sensitive to smells, to the point that it causes them headaches or respiratory issues. Just because you find an essential oil pleasant doesn't mean your clients will. Beware of diffusing oils in the office. Anyone can have an occasional emergency requiring an appointment to be rescheduled, but when it happens chronically, that's usually the therapist's lack of planning and organization. Clients deserve better, and if they don't get it, they'll eventually tire of it and go elsewhere. If it happens to be their first appointment when you're late or when they find cat hair on the blanket, they will likely never return . . . and they'll tell their neighbors. They may even leave a negative review of your business online. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. If you're an employee, chronic lateness or constantly asking for appointments to be rescheduled is likely going to result in termination. If you're self-employed, take a good self-inventory. Why are you always late? If you're scheduling your first appointment at 8:00 a.m. when you're not a morning person, change your work hours. Set a regular day off during weekdays and schedule anything you need to do, such as going to the dentist or another non-emergency medical appointment or getting your own massage, on that day so you don't have to call clients to reschedule. Ethical behavior includes providing the highest quality of care to those who seek our services. While carelessness is different from intentional ethics violations, quality of care should not suffer due to carelessness either. Laura Allen has been a licensed massage therapist since 1999 and an approved provider of continuing education since 2000. She is the author of Nina McIntosh's The Educated Heart, now in its fifth edition, and numerous other books. Allen lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband and their two rescue dogs. essential skills | Heart of Bodywork The Careless Therapist By Laura Allen KEY POINT • Carelessness can negatively impact your business and your reputation.

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