Seven Pointers for Giving Classes
Focus. It’s tempting to think that a massage class for anybody and everybody is the way to go. But you may actually get more interest if you focus on a particular group. Targeting any kind of marketing is a well-known strategy of reaching people who really want what you have to offer. Slant your class toward a particular group’s interests. For instance, focus on seniors, couples, or women only.
Choose the right venue. Cost, size, and availability of the room are important, but the location also depends on your focus. The perfect location is a place that makes it easy to reach the people you want to attract. The senior center, for example, would be perfect for a class on massage for seniors. If your community doesn’t have a senior center or it isn’t available, maybe one of your older clients has a home or studio that would provide a good space for a class. Or, if you want to teach expecting couples, perhaps there’s a yoga studio offering prenatal yoga that would welcome a massage class.
Preregister participants. As people contact you, ask them to register. Registration creates commitment, so request a deposit. Explain that you limit the number of people to fit the space, and that a deposit will secure a participant’s place.
Invite questions. During your class, encourage questions, and make sure there is plenty of time for discussion. This kind of exchange can improve learning. It can also begin a dialog that carries through to an eventual client/therapist relationship. When someone asks a question, repeat it so that everyone can hear. If you don’t know the answer, say so, and offer to get back to that person in the next class session if there is one, or by phone or email later.
Avoid jargon. Avoid any words your listeners may not understand. You don’t want to lose your participants’ interest or confuse them. Unless you’re speaking to a medical audience don’t refer to muscles by their scientific names. “Thigh” and “lower arm” are fine terms to use. Even referring to techniques like myofascial release or neuromuscular therapy will not mean much to most people. Instead, speak about the benefits of particular techniques. For instance, in response to a question like, “I get headaches and massage has never helped,” rather than naming a modality, you might say, “I do a special technique that has helped quite a few of my clients with headaches. I would be happy to tell you about it at the end of the class, and give you more information to take home.”
Provide contact information. This will make it easy for people to act on the rapport you have built with them. Prepare a table with a sign-up sheet and materials to take home. Make sure your contact information is clearly printed on any flyers, brochures, or discount coupons. On your sign-up sheet, participants can check to receive your free newsletter, discount coupons, or more information about a particular condition or modality. Remember to bring your schedule book. It’s not uncommon for participants to make an appointment then and there.
Practice, practice, practice. This is a big one. Practice in front of a mirror. Record yourself, play it back and listen. Give the class to loved ones or friends who will be kindly honest about what worked and what didn’t. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be, and the less you will have to worry about stumbling over something. Remember, your class may be the first time you make a connection with potential new clients. Make sure you are very familiar with the material, and you will be able to deliver it with enthusiasm and warmth.
If you haven’t yet tried teaching massage, take your time, plan well, and practice. Teaching can become a great way to increase your recognition in the community, gain more clients, and increase your income. If you would like help with preparation, scripts, and visual aids, check out Present Yourself Powerfully, by Cherie Sohnen-Moe.
[Originally published in Natural Touch Marketing blog.]