The more you give, the more you get back
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did but they will not forget how you made them feel.” American Civil Rights Leader Maya Angelou...
I heard this wonderful quote while attending a yoga workshop recently and it really got me thinking how we can apply this philosophy not only in our everyday lives but in our professional lives too.
Read it again – it’s so true!
Our passion is fitness and our desire is to share this passion with others so their lives can be improved significantly, not so much from an aesthetic point of view but with a view to making life changing habits, which will ultimately improve quality of life and indeed bring longevity with it!
The question is how do we keep our clients coming back so they can attain this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? The answer is given in the quote!
When teaching fitness, whether it’s Pilates, Body Combat, Yoga or Aqua, one of the primary reasons clients will return is because of how you made them feel. It has been acknowledged fairly recently that much of what we say in class goes unheard. To a point I can understand this because the majority of clients we teach have been at work all day and they’re out of work mode when they’re attending our classes.
However, it’s our job as fitness teachers to make them feel that, no matter how tired, stressed, financially challenged, un-coordinated or overweight they’re feeling (I’m sure you’ve heard all these excuses before), your class is worth coming back to and your class and quality instruction is worth its weight in gold (remember that rainbow)! If they keep coming back, they will start to improve and grow as your students.
My pot of gold tips
- Add the personal touch - get to know your class participants by their first name (obvious, but you’d be surprised how many teachers don’t find this out). It’s always a great start to your class when your participants walk into the studio and are greeted with a friendly face and a happy, personal hello.
- Be interested - find out a little bit about their life; where they work, do they have children, grandchildren, what age they are, holidays planned. You can then refer to this at the start or the end of your class.
- PAR Qs -remain safely out of sight from other participants and are not discussed with anyone else other than health professionals if agreed.
- Go the extra mile - if you find information that might be helpful to your participant, refer them to it.
- Use social media - to engage your participants and make them feel part of your community. This is a great way to keep in touch with your participants and let them know what’s going on in your classes.
- Organise social events - this could be once or twice a year or more often.
- Praise and positivity - positive feedback in your class helps support your participants through those difficult exercises and encourages them to improve.
I admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist and in the past I’ve expected my class participants to have the same attitude as me. How wrong and arrogant could I be? I have learnt over the years that people come to classes for a whole host of different reasons, many of which didn’t even occur to me. I was busy trying to get someone to do what I was asking them to do without becoming frustrated with them and feeling as though they were blanking me and my seamless instruction!
I’m pleased to say that age and experience have given me valuable wisdom and I have never felt more comfortable and at ease with my teaching than I do now. You see, there are some advantages to growing older! My tips are:
- Give your clients time – one person may learn something in 5 minutes and the next person may take 5 weeks - we’re all different. Remember, we as fitness people are almost from another planet in comparison with your typical client who is dysmorphic and has poor spatial awareness
- Many people attending group exercise may be completely new to this experience and will need encouragement and plenty of nurturing to ensure they return
- Make them feel valued and be open to questions, criticism and general feedback. Give them permission to air their views
- Make them feel that they can approach you, that they can have a giggle with you and it’s okay if they don’t resemble the latest Olympic Gold medalist for Britain or indeed Darcy Bussell!
By making your clients feel good about themselves, you and what you can offer, your efforts will be reciprocated a thousand fold.
The more you give, the more you get back.
Written by Tina Short