Communication skills are also known as “people skills”, because, at its best, communicating involves connecting with people and positive and productive ways. As you enhance your skills in this area, you can expect to increase productivity, reduce stress and improve teamwork. You will also build stronger client relationships and minimize the potential for misunderstandings among colleagues, coworkers and clients. However, the greatest benefit manifests itself in clients who feel at ease and experience high levels of satisfaction with you being their trainer.
Good communication is a two-way process that involves an exchange of ideas, emotions and attitudes. The ultimate goal of communication is to elicit some type of action. The communication skills necessary and effective therapeutic relationships are the ability to establish rapport, listen to answers, effectively utilize communication technology, be patient, make intelligent observations, elicit information, ask open-ended questions, gain cooperation, conduct excellent client interviews, ask for input, assert boundaries, use active listening techniques and show genuine concern. Most of what has just been listed might sound familiar, depending on the descriptions you’ve used before to describe “what makes a trainer good”.
Professionalism – First impressions
First impressions are powerful — and often irreversible. Your first interaction with a person sets the tone for future communication. It has been stated that it takes between four and 20 seconds to make a first impression. The elements of a first impression include characteristics such as your appearance, facial expressions, body language, what you say, what’s not said, your ability to build rapport, your energy level and the actual messages you convey. A vast amount of information is exchanged, and many judgments are formed at lightning speed in just a few moments.
Sometimes trainers unknowingly alienate new potential clients because they don’t present themselves positively and professionally. To avoid this potential pitfall, take some time to think about how you present yourself and your work in the vital first meeting. When you’re thoroughly prepared and not worrying about how to introduce yourself and what to say, it’s easier to focus on being with your clients and listening to them completely.
Avoid pre-judging yourself or your clients. This prejudice can substantially alter your first impression. Focus on building rapport and keeping an open mind. Your confidence in yourself and your abilities increases the comfort of your client’s experience.
Rapport is the bond that develops between you and clients; it’s based on mutual trust as the core. After you’ve made a good first impression, rapport can be the single most important factor in whether or not this prospect becomes a long-term client. Rapport develops by being open and demonstrating genuine concern. Some techniques for developing rapport are to correctly pronounce clients names, use clients names frequently, smile, shake hands, making eye contact, allow ample time for clients to talk, speak with enthusiasm and conviction, be punctual, listen, and ask light personal questions about your prospective client’s family, hobby or job.