Q&A: Industry Educator Shares Advice for Nailing It
Becoming known as an expert in any topic all starts with a very obvious step: Sharing your first-hand knowledge with others. At STX Software, we strive to be a leader in the salon software industry by staying in tune with the latest business and marketing trends. Every year we present our expertise at a number of events, including Nick Arrojo’s upcoming Arrojo Expo, Strategies Team-Based Pay Conference and beauty shows nationwide.
One of our regular educators Shannon Wojtkowski, STX Software account manager, has been a beauty business educator for five years, teaching a variety of topics like social media, event planning, front desk management, email marketing and many others. Her primary goal is to use social media and email marketing to educate guests in-between their appointments to build client retention, emphasizing the domino effect of the guest relationship as it relates to revenue.
Shannon shares her advice for managing nerves, handling awkward situations, the educators she looks up to and more.
What advice would you give someone nervous about educating?
Try not to over-prepare; if you have bullet points, the presentation will flow more naturally. Attendees want you to be confident in the material you're teaching and if you rehearse too much, sometimes it comes off as robotic and impersonal. Also, use anecdotes so they know you’ve been in their shoes and have real world experience with the topic you're presenting as an expert.
What’s the sign of a great class?
When people don’t leave when the class is over. It's always flattering when they don’t run out the second I wrap-up. They typically hang around, ask follow-up questions, request a business card — it's a great feeling.
Which is your favorite class to teach?
Social media. I’ve taught it for five years, multiple times a year and I’ve never re-used the same presentation. Social media has grown so fast that I can’t give the same presentation within the same 30 days. The logos update, the facts and statistics update — I taught a class the day after Facebook started using hashtags and I had to quickly rewrite an entire slide on hashtags! Teaching that class definitely keeps me on my toes.
Was there ever a time a class didn’t go smoothly?
At the IBS New York show a few years ago, a woman kept taking phone calls during class and charging her phone in front of my projector. The rest of the class was getting annoyed, but I tried my best to stay on target and keep the class engaged. Eventually she left, slamming the door very loudly. I handled the situation by making a joke and the class loved it and we had a good laugh, but I was still mortified.
Who is your industry role model?
Vivienne Mackinder! In 2010, I was a NAHA Beacon finalist and they had a panel with her and a few others during beauty week; I’ve followed her work ever since. I love that she is super fun, exudes grace and is also professional. Her work inspires people, it doesn’t intimidate them. That’s the sign of a great educator.
Who do you follow on social media for inspiration?
Nick Arrojo, Pulp Riot, Morphe, Ramirez Tran, all the recent NAHA winners, IBS NYC and Las Vegas, Vivienne Mackinder, Eric Fisher, Kelly Cardenas, Strategies, Socialnomics, Tabatha Coffey, Red 7 Salon, Aveda, and many more.
Shannon Wojtkowski began her salon career almost 20 years ago by sweeping hair at 14 years old. She worked her way up the salon ladder by working the front desk, assisting and eventually behind her own chair. Shannon spent many years living a double life, attending cosmetology school while also working at a salon nights and weekends and maintaining a full-time career in project management in the marketing and technology field. She’s the trifecta of awesome, combining her knowledge of salon life, marketing and technology.