Words matter

I love words. As far back as I can remember, I have LOVED words.  I would voraciously read anything I could get my hands on.  Growing up, one wall of our basement was floor to ceiling with shelves of books. We had books in our bedrooms. There were books everywhere and that was fine,   I loved to read.  Every time I came across a word I didn’t know, out came the dictionary.   My parents even invested in “The Encyclopedia Britannica”  (oops, showing my age here!).  There were days I would pull one off the shelf at random and flip through it, reading a bit here and there. No rhyme nor reason to it.

Funnily enough, one year, I was failing English class in Elementary.  I think it was grade four.  Not because I wasn’t bright. More-so because I was bored in class, the teacher talked too much.  Curious, isn’t it?  hehehe  That summer I was made to read book after book and write one report after another, by my parents.  One book was ‘The Complete Tales of Washington Irving’. You might not recognize his name, but he is the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Better known as “The Headless Horseman”.  I also read several pieces by Jack London. Yes, he did write other books aside from ‘The Call of the Wild’. There were several other classic authors whose work I read. When I began writing those book reports, I muttered and grumbled.  At the outset, I wasn’t the happiest kid. It was summer vacation! I wanted to be out playing!  But then something happened.

A writer was born.

I’m certainly no great Shakespeare.  I often think I should like to write a great novel.  But there’s only 24hrs in a day.  I make no claims to eloquent inspiration of others, but have often been accused of being a walking dictionary.  In adolescence, as most girls do, I dabbled in poetry. I’ve been told I’m good. But HEY, your friends HAVE to be nice, right?  😉   I do sincerely enjoy playing with words, and trying  to bend them to my will to paint a picture in one’s mind.  I enjoy using words that are lost in today’s modern vocabulary. Just as I don’t like to do the same French manicure over and over, WHY should I want to use the same words over and over when there are so many different ones out there? Ahh but therein lies the crux.

Words matter. Each and every one of them. Their unique definitions make all the difference in the world as to why one word should be used and not another.  No two words are the same, nor mean exactly the same thing. Some appear to do so, but they don’t. Not really.

And that brings us to the Nail Industry. How? Why?

Because proper and accurate communication is important if you are to be considered a Professional, and regarded by others as  a Professional.  It is paramount if we are all to understand each other correctly.  It is fundamental if we are Educators and wish our students to succeed.  It is vital if we want to improve the status quo of the industry and raise standards.

Imagine if I went to the garage, and said to the mechanic ” the dooflickey is making a whirwhir noise, and sometimes ticky-tock” and then he in turn called his distributor and tried to order the part needed and referred to it as a ‘dooflickey’.  It’s a sure bet that the distributor will hang up on him thinking he’s some idiot and not a professional mechanic.  What if I were to visit the hospital, and complained to the Doctor of my symptoms; and he spoke to me in the same fashion without benefit of proper terminology with regards to my health issues?  Do I want a doctor that doesn’t seem Professional?   OR WORSE, what would be the end result if he wrote down on my file exactly as I described them, with MY terminology and then sent me to a specialist with that file?  What are the odds that the specialist is going to call the doctor and say “WTF are you talking about? Do you even have a license to practice medicine?”  Maybe that Specialist won’t make the call and will just make an educated guess and low and behold, I get the wrong treatment?

“Professionals” are expected to communicate like Professionals.  Not as average consumers.  Consumers EXPECT “Professionals” to be professional.  Now I’m not saying you can’t kid around or share laughs with them.  What I am saying is that when you speak to them, use the right words.

For a very simple example; the word Cuticle is often used in place of Eponychium.  Please note: these are two very different things!

Now there are those that will argue that it really doesn’t matter.  Oh, but it DOES.  If you are asking for help, and I ask you to describe your PREP and you say that you pushed back the cuticle. So I wonder, does she mean she pushed back the eponychium and removed the cuticle? Did she only push the eponyhium and left the cuticle on the plate? Etc etc and off we go, trying to be sure that the PREP was done properly.  Now that is only a simple example, but you get my point.

Then there are those that say “My clients don’t care what words I use and don’t know the difference”.  Wrong!   They do care, and they will know when you explain. I have proven exactly that for several years.  It is very standard at my table that at the very first appointment, I explain all that I am doing to my client and why.  I do use the word eponychium and  I do explain it’s purpose and why we don’t cut it or remove it.  I also explain what a cuticle is and why we DO remove it.   Nine times out of ten, a client will tell me “WOW I didn’t know that!  I’m glad to know! You really know your stuff! You’re very different from those other places. They are so unprofessional”.  AHHH HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA there it is.  You see? Their perception of your professionalism is often based on how you choose to communicate.

When we become parents, everyone offers advice. One bit of advice almost all parents receive is “don’t baby-talk to your kids. speak to them properly and they’ll speak properly”.   I know this to be true with my children who are now 10 & 12yrs old.  Even as infants and toddlers, we never resorted to using baby-words with them.  The end result? Two children who read and write very well, and who are very articulate.   Many parents follow this same bit of advice.

So why is it so difficult to understand the necessity of using the correct terms in our industry?

For more on my rant, see an older post on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/notes/ongles-chez-victoria/your-eponychium-is-showing/236253373205568


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