Trainer Tips- Using The Language Of Your Client
While listening to 'Thank You For Arguing' by Jay Heinrichs, a book about the art of persuasion, argument, and rhetoric, he mentions an effective persuasion technique involving using an audience's language back at them in order to persuade.
It's a wonderful book which I highly recommend.
As a Personal Trainer, we want to persuade people to engage in a lifelong training habit to increase the quality of their life.
Using the language of the person in front of you is an amazing technique to use in coaching to persuade someone you are the person for the job, that they are safe in the environment, and increases the chances of the person trusting your opinion.
If you want to educate about fitness, you can throw in unfamiliar terms at them but it's best to implement them gradually (1-3 per session for example) and revisit the concept until it becomes part of their language.
This is how you facilitate growth, trust, and enjoyment of learning. In fact, done correctly, the person will gradually learn the lingo without realising it because you are such a communication pro.
Go you, give yourself a socially distanced high-five.
If your client says "thighs" instead of "quadriceps", you'll get through to them more if you do the same.
If your client describes one of their goals as "building muscle" then you'll have more of an impact if you use the same terms rather than insisting on calling it "hypertrophy."
You can come at this from the other side too.
If a client is saying negative things like "I'm broken," "I feel weak," "I'm not fit enough" or the gym is scary!" you can use those words as a call to action like this:
"Going forward, we are going to focus on getting you to a place where you don't feel broken."
"This plan is focussed on building as much muscle as possible."
"We're going to knock those feelings of weakness out of the water and have you feeling stronger over the next few months!"
"This exercise will strengthen your thighs. You don't need to remember this, but if people ever talk about 'quadriceps, this is the area they mean."
"Together, we are going to take the fear out of the gym by showing you how it all works. When you are familiar and a gym is a safe place for you, the feelings of being scared will melt away!
The gym is an intimidating environment. The last thing a client wants is a coach lauding over them with their superior fitness vocabulary. This isn't conducive to having a client who is on board with your coaching.
It's conducive to everything you say going over the head of a client with little experience of the lingo used in a gym setting.
On the flip-side of this, if you talk to a doctor with a huge anatomical vocabulary, it's important to mirror their clinical language where you can. If you don't understand some of what they say, ask them about it! Allowing someone to demonstrate expertise usually makes someone feel great.
Next time you train someone or you have a consultation with a prospective client, try using their language. See how it affects your rapport with people. I would be willing to bet you'll have more success with people, you'll be more comfortable in consultation settings and because of this your business will be in a stronger position and your interactions will be more fulfilling.
By Chris K
The Heavy Metal Strength Coach