Have you ever met someone and liked them instantly? You can't explain why but you immediately felt an emotional bond. I'm not talking about sexual attraction, but rather a genuine and wholesome feeling of fondness and respect towards this person.
In a job interview, you are more likely to be hired if the interviewer connects with you as a person. In a business situation, you are more likely to get your foot in the door and seal the deal if the client connects with you as a person. As a cycling instructor, you are more likely to have students follow you to the ends of the earth and never dream of skipping a class if they connect with you on this personal level!
Although your technical skills may be outstanding, if class size has dwindled it may be time to develop some love-ability skills! The qualities of a lovable instructor can actually be cultivated with these simple tips.
Awareness is the most important Spinning® Indoor Cycling Instructor skill you'll ever master, but one you won't find taught by any certification program! When surveyed, most students who quit any exercise class quit for reasons that have nothing do to with their physical limitations or the instructor's competence. Students leave over the little stuff: The room too is hot or too cold, the music is too loud or not loud enough, the music is offensive, the instructor has an ego, etc.....the list goes on and on! Awareness will teach you how to anticipate stumbling blocks and make your class an experience all students will enjoy. How? Use awareness to make them believe your class is focused on their needs.
Personal awareness and insight comes by first getting to know the little quirks of your studio as well as the quirks of your students. Match the two whenever possible. Most every facility has “hot” spots where air flow is minimal, “loud” spots near the speakers, and “dark spots” where a new student may feel more secure. When students arrive, make quick mental notes (not judgments!) and follow through with sincere, genuine suggestions to make their ride exceptional. For example: If you notice an older woman has selected a bike in an area of the room where air gets stale, kindly suggest a bike near the fan. Is there a student in your class going through a divorce? Call on your awareness skills and don't play songs that bring up painful memories ("Lips of an Angel" by Hinder is the all-time worst!) Increasing your awareness skills can decrease the reasons students disappear. A happy student is a returning student.
Keep it Clean and Keep it Working
Are you guilty of leaving the empty water bottles, paper, gum wrappers, and broken pedal straps for “someone else” to throw away? Nothing says you Don't Care like a cluttered studio. Your cycling room should be a special place to disappear from the world and not a place for storing used gym equipment or empty coffee cups! What about those nagging repairs that never seem to get fixed - a mic that continues to short out or a speaker that rattles? Gym owners are notorious about putting off repairs, so offer to lend a hand and you'll gain the reputation as the instructor who “gets things done.” Your class will notice the difference and love you for it!
Personally, I'm always impressed when someone I've just met remembers my name and uses it in a sentence. It certainly gets your attention and makes you feel respected, filling a natural desire for attention and love. If remembering names is not your strength, try my nifty little trick that really works! Make a 'seating chart' and jot down the name of each student along with a brief physical description in the area where they usually ride. Review the list before each class and greet students using as many first names as possible.
Making gratitude your business is a winning way to let students know how much you appreciate them. In the words of Rousseau, "What wisdom can you give that is greater than being kind or thankful?" Often we're forgetful, self-consumed, or just too busy to put THANK YOU into words or actions. Don't miss the chance to express gratitude to your students; it will lead you to a deeper sense of happiness and yes, students will adore you.
What did I miss?
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Originally posted 2010-04-18 12:12:48.
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