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How to Win your Learners with a SMILE

Posted by Linda Carole Pierce on 8/3/15 4:00 AM
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I was recently at the gym and overheard some complaints about one of the fitness instructors who is perceived as knowledgeable but cold. I felt the same way about her until I got to know her a little better. I discovered she is passionate about her job and sincerely cares about her clients. What she lacks is a smile. When she does smile she radiates warmth and kindness.

As trainers, we must begin our courses with impact. We do not have the luxury of waiting to connect with our learners. The best way to begin is with a warm, welcoming SMILE.

Sincerity – People can usually spot a phony, so make sure your smile is sincere.

Magic – A smile promotes a positive climate during training and can put participants at ease. It can also magically diffuse potential conflicts from escalating.

Inspiration – A smile can inspire and stimulate learner motivation and participation.

Levity – We often take ourselves too seriously, particularly if the subject matter is dry. Using humor creates an atmosphere of fun which can make a long day move quickly.

Energy – We are responsible for the energy we bring into the room. Attending a training program can be intimidating for some learners, which makes it essential for us to create a climate of safety and comfort the moment they walk in the door.

My fitness instructor is probably not aware of how she is perceived and how it might be impacting her business. On the flipside there is another instructor who is known for her winning smile and her classes are always packed. A smile is much more inviting than a poker face frown. Perception is powerful. So let’s express sincerity, create magic, inspire our learners, add levity, and fill the environment with positive energy. Doing this will allow us to win our learners with a SMILE!


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Linda has been a course leader with Langevin since 2005. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She’s also had the privilege of teaching at NYU’s Gallatin Division in the area of Theatre and Education. Linda began her career facilitating conflict resolution and coexistence workshops for diverse groups, and running workshops in the Middle East and South Africa, as well as facilitating social issues workshops for young people in the NYC school system. Linda believes learning works best when it is student-centered, experiential, interactive, and fun. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find Linda at the theatre, either as an audience member or actor, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Topics: instructor-led training, tips-for-trainers

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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