Please be nice to the staff

They say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. And when they say “others”, they mean front office representatives, too. Most of the time, let’s face it, they’re standing in between where we are and where we’d like to be.

Imagine having a calling to help people and a desire of wanting to do great work that made you feel satisfied and uplifted. But you had to focus on its organizational aspects, such as answering the phone or scheduling. You wouldn’t be able to do the actual work. And you’d end up frustrated instead of uplifted. Or even worse, what if you completely disliked going to work?

As a private practice hypnotherapist, hypnosis educator, life coach, and public speaker, my time is scarce. I have locations throughout the state of Georgia (Atlanta, Augusta, Blairsville, and Savannah) not to mention my time in virtual sessions. While many hypnotherapists can spend the time to pick up their own phone, that means, in all likelihood that they are not busy and are likely desperate for clients.

After driving back from Atlanta one day is when I knew I needed help. My business line rang through to my cell phone. I answered the phone and pulled over only to have someone end up being a jokester and didn’t schedule.

So I hired a personal assistant to answer my phones and schedule clients because although my online booking software has always been on my site, people seem to not want to use it. I purposefully added a booking site so people did not have to call me to book. The personal assistant I hired, I have been very close with for 20 years. We know each other very very well and I respect her. If she tells me a client needs to be seen within 24 hours as an emergency, I am going to listen to her. When you are speaking to her, you are effectively speaking to me.

Imagine my surprise when I was told some prospective clients were making demands on her or that were refusing to speak to her after they call the practice.

Most of them hangup. A lot more make demands of her to patch them through and when she can’t, refuse to leave a message.

Excuse me?

When you are talking to her, you are talking to me… to my representative so I wanted to take this time to discuss the situation.

1) She does not take orders from clients… she takes orders from me. Do you demand to speak to a doctor when you call a practice? Do you expect them to pick up? She was hired because I become unavailable and it is more professional to have someone pick up than go to voice mail.

2) I am probably in with a client. If I am in with a client, I cannot take your phone call. Sometimes hypnosis is like doing mental surgery. I wouldn’t want my surgeon to take a phone call when I am on the table. Would you? My subscribing clients will get a return call or text as soon as I am finished with the current client and can do it. They pay for that immediate service. New clients who are non-subscribers are called back if and when I have time

3) What makes you think she cannot answer your questions? I understand people want to talk to the hypnotist, Kathleen’s father was a lay hypnotist so she can answer many questions you might have. She can also answer any questions about me or my practice. She can tell you that I do not take insurance which seems to be the most popular question.

4) Why not leave a message? I cannot call you back if I do not know who you are. That is how this thing works.

Further, people tend to do even more than they’re asked when they feel appreciated. So, when you’re nice to front office representatives, for instance, it inspires and motivates them to do the same to you.

Moreover, remember they’re the only ones staying between where we are and where we want to be? Well, a milk-and-honey kind of approach enables not only their responsiveness but productivity, as well. And, then, a strong NO becomes a hopeful “Let me see what I can do about it”. Openness. We strive for leaving doors open.

On the more practical side of the coin, open doors foster connections. In a fully networked world, as our today strives to be, everything is about relationships. And exchanges are at the heart of any interaction. Whether it’s simply an appointment you’re trying to make, you’re exchanging a phone call for a slot of my time. Now, behavior impacts any interaction. If I’m nice to the front office representative, I might get a positive response. If not, well… you get the idea.

But, my favorite reason for being kind, in general, is Karma. If you treat my assistant badly, you will have a very upset hypnotherapist on your butt. When you talk to her, you talk to me.

Whether we’re willing to face it or not, we’re quite aware of our behavior. Our mind labels it, puts it in the proper drawer and adds a behavioral procedure to it. So, next time we’re in a similar context, we don’t really choose how to act but do it based on habit, past experience, and a mini-program our mind had designed.

If necessary, that will be one of the first things I work on with you, to erase a bad attitude simply so my assistant is not abused. If you don’t want to be nice to her, I really do not need you as a client.

Of course, now she doesn’t work for me anymore so I would like to thank the clients who caused her to have a near breakdown you guys are really something special.


Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia who was very protective of his personal assistant. He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype and Zoom. He can be reached at or afterhourshypnotherapy @ or go online to make an appointment.