When conducting outdoor fitness sessions it is important, as fitness professionals, that we understand and employ the principles of effective communication.
There are various ways of communicating with our clients, colleagues and one another in general.
The information outlined below will aid the development of your communication skills and put you in good stead as you progress through your career as a fitness professional, either as a physical training instructor (PTI) or fitness instructor.
Methods of Communication
One Way Communication
- Verbal communication is only going ‘One Way’.
- Formal way of delivering important/necessary instructions.
- Related to a PTI conducting a physical training lesson at an Army Training Regiment (ATR).
Two Way Communication
- Verbal communication goes both ways.
- Instructor giving information to an individual and/or group.
- Individual and/or group giving information back to instructor.
- Also known as feedback.
- Related to coaching sessions.
- Probably the most important but least developed.
- A fitness professional should have the ability to listen and interpret information regarding individuals and/or the group.
- Information provided can be used to develop the session and the fitness professional’s teaching style.
- Effective listening can aid the fitness professional to discern the difference between exercise noise and genuine complaints. For example, this is a difficult exercise and we don’t want to do it (exercise noise) and this is a difficult exercise and you didn’t show us how to do it properly (genuine complaint).
- Sending messages that have content and form.
- Be aware of the amount of information given:
- Too much information may lead to confusion, frustration and even boredom.
- Too little information may lead to confusion and ambiguity.
- Also be aware of the manner in which the information is given, i.e. speed, loudness and/or pitch.
- 90% of information is conveyed this way.
- This can be through: facial expression; gestures; bodily posture; clothes; and appearance.
- Eye contact confirms the individual’s/group’s interest by the fitness professional.
- Appearance can create ‘first impressions’, regardless of the whether the impression is a true reflection.
- First impressions can be ‘created’ by, and impact upon, both parties.
Words of Command
These are some of the words used when conducting a physical training lesson:
- Direction change.
- Class steady – halt.
- One place change.
- In position ready.
- Exercise begin.
- On the beam up.
- Standby – go.
- On your feet up.
There are a variety of methods of communication which the fitness professional must be aware and these are:
- One Way
- Two Way
- Effective Listening
- Words of Command
Armed with this knowledge it will aid you to become an effective fitness professional.