By Barbara Hoots, Star 3 Instructor and Spinning® Studio Designer
Have you ever met someone and liked them instantly? You can’t explain why, but you immediately felt an emotional bond, 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 Spinning® instructor, you are more likely to have riders follow you and never dream of skipping a class if they connect with you on a personal level.
Even though your technical skills may be outstanding, it may be time to develop some love-ability skills! The qualities of a lovable instructor can actually be cultivated with these five simple tips:
Awareness is the most important skill a Spinning instructor can master. When surveyed, most riders who quit any exercise class quit for reasons that have nothing do to with their physical limitations or the instructor’s competence. Riders leave over the little stuff, like the room is too hot or too cold, the music is too loud or not loud enough, the music is offensive, the instructor has an ego, etc. Awareness will teach you how to anticipate stumbling blocks and make your class an experience all riders will enjoy.
Personal awareness and insight comes by first getting to know the little quirks of your studio, as well as the quirks of your riders. Match the two whenever possible. Also every facility has “hot” spots where air flow is minimal, “loud” spots near the speakers and “dark spots” where a new rider may feel more secure. When riders arrive, make quick mental notes 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. If you know there is a rider in your class going through a tough emotional period, don’t play songs that bring up painful memories. Increasing your awareness skills can decrease the reasons riders disappear. A happy rider is a returning rider.
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, like 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 rider along with a brief physical description in the area where they usually ride. Review the list before each class and greet riders using their first name as often as possible.
Make gratitude your business. It’s a winning way to let riders 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 riders; it will lead you to a deeper sense of happiness and yes, riders will adore you.
Spice it up
Face it, even the most loyal riders occasionally get bored with your class. Create a monthly “surprise ride,” which can be anything from a Prince vs. Michael Jackson duel, to a journey back to Woodstock. Build anticipation and hype up the rides with snazzy posters. Distribute free guest passes and encourage riders to bring their friends.
Positive thoughts and actions create positive energy. When you think higher thoughts such as kindness, generosity and compassion, your energy is stronger and riders will flock to your classes. Alternatively, negative thoughts weaken energy and class attendance drops. The Law of Attraction states, “Like attracts like.”
Who are you attracting? Reignite your passion with positive energy and your riders will fall in love with you…again…..and again…and again!