The Simplest Communication Tip

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Do you often find yourself qualifying your advice to clients? Saying things like, “In my opinion…” or “Maybe we should…”?

While this mind sound polite to you, to your client it can come across as timid, unsure, or even inexperienced. In truth, nothing more quickly separates an amateur from a pro (in any field) than the ability to community concisely, confidently and eloquently.

Reading through my emails last Friday, I came across one from Robert Glazer, an entrepreneur, best-selling author and keynote speaker. He’s also behind the fantastic Friday Forward email newsletter.

In the email, he highlighted how it’s all too common these days for people to use verbal crutches in our everyday language. These crutches don’t strengthen our messaging, they actually erode our ability to communicate effectively.

This got me thinking.

Picture someone you look up to in a professional context, whether it’s a colleague, mentor or thought leader—there’s no doubt that part of the reason you look up to them in the first place is because they communicate their ideas in a persuasive and succinct manner that resonates with you.

As a personal trainer, part of your role is to serve as a change-agent for your clients, and you’re in a position where you’re looked up to as a leader in their quest for better health and fitness.

Does your language reflect your level of expertise?

Take a few seconds to think about how many of these words or phrases have made their way into your everyday vocabulary:

“Ah”

“Umm”

“I think”

“I believe”

“To be honest”

Communication is highly nuanced and there will always be times when certain filler words and phrases have a place in speech, but often they slip into our phrasing due to bad habits (or worse) rather than through deliberate thought.

Filler words and phrases project hesitation and a lack of confidence

Glazer goes on to explain that people want to follow and believe in someone who is confident. There’s research to suggest that confidence can be more important than competence. Moreover, often the smartest and most qualified individuals are those who feel like they don’t belong or aren’t qualified to give their opinion—a condition called imposter syndrome.

They weaken your message

Prefacing a statement or a question with qualifiers such as “I believe…”  “I’m sorry but…”  “If I’m being honest…” or “This is a stupid question, but…” only weakens the message that follows.

Let’s have a look at the following statements:

Example #1
  1. “To be honest, I think it’s best that you focus on building strength rather than focusing solely on aerobic exercise.”

  2. “You should focus on building strength rather than focusing solely on aerobic exercise.”
Example #2
  1. “I feel that it’s best that you see me twice a week for training.”

  2. “I recommend that you see me twice a week for training.”

Which of the above statements sound stronger and more persuasive to you?

They have the opposite effect

Additionally, when trying to confidently convey a perspective to somebody—whether it be a friend or a client—filler words and phrases like those above often have the opposite effect.

Instead of instilling confidence in the listener, they leave them with the sense that you’re hesitant and perhaps not sure of what you’re talking about, or that you’re not qualified to be giving your opinion.

We’ve all been guilty of this—I can remember at least one occasion when I lost a prospect’s trust because I didn’t communicate in a manner than conveyed confidence in my ability to achieve their goals.

Think about the last time you just couldn’t quite convince a prospect to sign up as a client. Is there a chance that the way you communicated with them didn’t quite send the right signals?

It’s an easy mistake to make, but it’s also easy to fix.

Final Thoughts

The ability to communicate confidently and eloquently is at the top of the list of what’s needed to be a successful personal trainer. Your clients and prospects look up to you as an expert, so it’s vital that you communicate in a manner that conveys trust and certainty.

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James McDonald

James is the founder of PT Blogger. He helps personal trainers grow their client-bases, earn more money and thrive in the industry.
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