Leadership Training-Becoming an Instructor--Part 2
Communication Skills Are An Instructor’s Number One Tool!
As instructors, we are asked to communicate with a variety of students all having different needs and goals. It is our job to identify and use the most effective means of communication for each student. Each student learns (or interprets) the information given them in a different way, and therefore, our communication to them must be tailored to match their communication style.
What is it that attracts a student to his favorite instructor? The answer is rapport! The student and instructor have established a rapport together, and because of this rapport, communication is easily attained between them. The goal of effective communication is to establish this rapport with the student.
Simply stated, rapport is nothing but a feeling of commonality. People are attracted to people who are like them. We tend to communicate better with people we are attracted to simply because our “shields” are down, and we are open to suggestions. When people feel as if they have something in common, they begin to feel a bond. This bond is what creates a feeling of rapport and an unconscious desire to respond.
Rapport is the foundation for good communication. It is so easy to talk to someone you like. The real challenge begins when a person is forced to communicate with someone they do not feel comfortable with, especially when they do not know why.
It is the instructor’s responsibility to make the student feel at ease, and to establish a rapport with the student. By understanding how to establish rapport, the instructor and student will experience many “teachable moments” together. This type of relationship will result in a motivated and excited student who eagerly wants to learn from the instructor.
There are many methods an instructor can use to establish rapport with a student. The most important thing to remember is that we are trying to achieve a “teachable moment,” where the student is very receptive to the information the instructor is trying to teach. Rapport will make sure the student and the instructor are on the same wavelength, and an understanding occurs! The following are a few suggestions to help establish rapport with a student.
1. Use relentless positivity.
2. Use Praise/Correct/Praise.
3. Use the student’s name.
4. Smile and be friendly.
5. Choose your words, voice qualities, and body language to match the situation.
6. Use the three touches with student: eye contact, name, & appropriate physical touch.
7. Give the student a “Warm Fuzzy.”
8. Have empathy for the student. Try to understand what they are feeling.
9. Listen carefully to the student.
10. Watch the student’s body language to see what it is saying.
11. Send the student a postcard after a tough session.
12. Be aware of the student’s comfort zone. Don’t push them too hard!
13. Use the most effective communication style for the student: visual, aural, kinesthetic.
14. Break the ice with some friendly conversation.
15. Involve the student in the learning process by leading them to the answer with questions.
These are just a few ideas that will help the instructor to establish rapport with a student. It may take a combination of the ideas or something different to do the trick. The instructor’s job is to determine the most effective method that works, and use it to help the student to learn as quickly as possible. Establishing rapport is a useful tool to help us with our ultimate goal of producing top quality Black Belts.
Body language contributes a whopping 55% to the communication process and the level of rapport you have with others. The use of body language in establishing rapport is a form of biofeedback. An instructor’s body language relays information to the student such as confidence, excitement, openness, happiness, friendliness, and much more!
Your posture is a barometer of how you are thinking and feeling. When talking to students, assume a posture which invokes authority and responsibility. Make sure your posture is professional, and that the student translates this to mean you are there to lend a helping hand. The following are some positive and negative gestures and positions.
Positive Gestures and Positions
Open Posture, Arms Outspread, Body Leaning Forward, Hands At Side, Open Palms, Relaxed Appearance, Stand Tall with Shoulders Back, Happy Facial Expressions,. . . .
Negative Gestures and Positions
Arms Crossed, Hands in Pickets, Hands clasped or Clenched, Chin in Hand, Hands Hidden, Legs Tightly Crossed, Tense Appearance, Slumped Over, Angry Facial Expressions