Be a good sandwich
Is your class sandwiched between other classes? Give those other classes some love too. There is something incongruous about being so welcoming to your own class while ignoring the participants in classes before and after.
Before participants have a chance to escape from the class before yours – simply invite them to stick around for your class; give them permission to participate in just a couple of tracks. You might just give someone the nudge they need to try a program they have never participated in before.
To add a classy touch, during the cool-down of your own class, promote the benefits of staying for the next class and how it complements the program your participants just completed.
And as an aside – no matter how late the class before started: You. Must. Finish. YOUR. Class. On. Time. It’s not time for the blame game here – who made who late – so perhaps a friendly chat to the Instructor prior about finishing on time if it’s a consistent issue.
Say what you mean and mean what you say
Nothing says “I actually don’t want your feedback” than asking for it and then promptly avoiding all eye contact, turning your back to put the mic away, filling out a timesheet, sticking your head in your bag and making a dash for the door. If you have asked for feedback or are genuinely happy to answer questions, at least appear approachable.
Appearing approachable 101: linger for at least 10 seconds after the last track is finished before you move from your spot; it’s not so long that you look awkward standing there, but long enough to show you’re not rushing to be somewhere else. This will make your members feel like they’re not imposing on you by asking a question. If you are in a hurry don’t invite feedback. Hashtag authenticity.
Inviting feedback questions 101: maybe it’s because I appear petrifying, but I don’t get much feedback or questions at the end of class. But what I have found has helped is being more specific when I ask for feedback. For example, rather than the classic throwaway line at the end of class – “if you have any questions or feedback come have a chat” – I try to be more (program) specific and say something like, “if you need help with the clean and press I’m happy to help one to one”. I’ll usually have also alluded to the movement during the class, saying I can help out at the end of class with [said move]. Am heaps classy like that.
When not to linger for feedback: WHEN YOUR CLASS IS SANDWICHED BETWIXT OTHERS. If you are a sandwich class, request that members pack away quickly and you will take questions and feedback at a location-that-is-not-in-the-group-fitness-studio-so-the-next-class-can-start-on-time – i.e. meet just outside the studio doors. Do be specific and don’t leave your allocated meeting point until the last participant has left the room.
Fade like a DJ
Nothing kills the mood of the next class more than yanking out your music and leaving the next class in dead silence. Make an effort to keep your music on until the next Instructor is ready then do the classy thing and fade out your music. For a double-bonus-extra-star rating, choose a track that suits the next class (don’t leave a track 9 BODYATTACK™ blaring if the next class is BODYBALANCE™).
Hold the door open as participants enter the room
Classy. TBH I’ve enticed as many people to come try a class as I have frightened them off. The reasons I thoroughly enjoy holding the group fitness studio door open before class (time pending of course) is threefold:
One: it’s an easy way to connect with your class as they walk through the door.
Two: You know when you get to your class just that liiiiittle bit too early (there are only so many times you can tie your shoes and play with the music volume) – holding the door gives you something functional to do without appearing like a creeper.
Three: if you’re terrible at small talk, the doorway doesn’t allow people to linger long enough for awkward silences to ensue. You’re welcome.
Help pack up
At the end of class, if you have finished packing up your equipment and you can see your members still packing up, prior to running out the door: Blow. Their. Mind. Help them pack up too. The look of amazement as you help with this simple task will absolutely unequivocally take your rating from a respectable 4 stars to the untouchable 5.
Marie Anagnostis is based in Australia. She first trained on BODYATTACK™ 52 and has since trained in 5 other programs. She now actively teaches BODYPUMP™, CXWORX™ and BODYBALANCE™.