in this episode:
This episode is for any instructor struggling with confidence in themselves and wants to learn how to have the greatest impact on their class participants. Our conversation can be easily applied to any class you may teach. We discuss how to keep people engage, get into the right mindset before class, interact with your clients, and what to do when participants seem to be disinterested.
“Do you do anything to warm up your voice, mind or body before class?” (8:10)
Yes, I have a pre-class ritual. This starts with picking out my outfit for class. I think of this as my uniform. This is when I step into my role as a teacher. The ritual continues up until my class starts – how I plug in my laptop and my phone, what music I play before my class to set the tone, prepare my microphone, put on my shoes, set up my bike…this all helps me set my mental head space. Establish a routine for yourself to find your own way to get into the best mental head space for yourself.
“Do you do anything…to warm up your class?” (13:10)
Use caution here. If I am a client, I probably don’t feel like talking to anyone. I just entered a sanctuary – your classroom – where I get to focus on myself. It may feel natural to try to engage, but there is more than one way to communicate (rather than just verbally). I stand and hold space while people come in, make eye contact, acknowledge them, scan the room, observe, etc. If they ask for assistance, I will approach them.
“What do you think is an approachable way to introduce mindfulness into cycling?” (18:45)
Riders do not have to focus on their movement as much in comparison to other classes, so they have the opportunity to think deeper. To set up this moment, I set an intention or ask people to set an intention for themselves towards the beginning of the class. Asking people to become aware of their internal dialogue is an easy way to get them to be mindful during class as well. I then invite them to choose their response to what they became aware of.
“Do you ever feel like you delivered your message but you still leave riders disinterested?” (28:45)
Often, what your riders look like they’re feeling, they’re feeling the opposite. Don’t prejudge your class by what they’re doing, what they look like, etc. Also what they are feeling could have nothing to do with you and much more to do with the rest of their life outside your class. Own what you are delivering and trust it.
“What do you like to emphasize when they are recovering or during longer periods of work where it feels that awkward silence may appear?” (38:40)
We often feel that if we aren’t saying something, then they aren’t engaged. The reality is the less you say, the more powerful your words will be. I encourage instructors to say the most that you can in the fewest amount of words. Give your riders time to listen to the music, apply what you said, and take it all in. There are many ways to speak without using your words – choose this at times as well.
“Are you doing anything to conserve your energy during your class or do you try to keep up with your students?” (46:55)
Its a delicate balance to find. It can be powerful for them to see you working hard and find that inspiring, but it isn’t your workout. You are also most likely teaching more classes than they are taking. You have the responsibility to take care of your body. You also need to be able to talk and breathe at the same time! I often get off the bike and coach in the crowd to give myself a chance to recover if needed.