Now more than ever (I write this in the depth of the Covid 19  Pandemic) winning at business is going to come down to you doing the things that set you apart. Let’s look at how Omotenashi, which is the Japanese art of outstanding hospitality, can make that happen for you!

Pity the poor taxi driver in Japan. Not only must they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the city’s streets, but they must wear white gloves, call people only Sir or Madam and not wear sunglasses in front of a customer because this would be seen as them putting themselves a head of those above them. And whilst we westerner’s would struggle with some of, if not much of the extremes the Japanese take this to, the spirit of it is can make a real difference even in our culture. Veteran Tokyo cabbie Hidetoshi Uchida puts it this way, “Wear a suit, no loose ties, otherwise some people will think, ‘how will this untidy person drive?’ And yes I know you’re not driving a cab in Tokyo, but let’s think for a moment what happens when you appear on screen via Zoom or Skype or whatever platform you are using for your online training.

What happens is that they see you, and the room you are in. Just think about that for a moment – instead of working from a gym, many/most of us are broadcasting from home.

Are they seeing mess, behind you, around you, on you? Because if you have coffee cups, used clothes or any other clutter around that is going to affect the clients view of your competency.

Is there competing noise? Slamming doors, people walking by, bursting in? Remember you can see your clients too and they may become very self-conscious if they know others could see them. And what about the wall behind you, is it well-chosen, telling in some way perhaps of your competency? Ideally it might exhibit your qualifications, or if you are lucky you will be broadcasting from a studio. But an overflowing kitchen bench would not be a good backdrop!

And what about you? Is this the opportunity to stop with the uniform and wear whatever you want? Well, yes, but make sure your clothes and you are neat and tidy, and really why not think about your uniform…I know from personal experience how trusting people are of an official fitness uniform, especially if you work with an established fitness chain.

Servant behaviour.

Ok, it’s time to be honest – it can be very nice to “have the answers”. You might have a client that is a titan of industry, world class athlete, well-known model, or simply an ordinary person looking to get fit, but you have something they desperately want, the knowledge to help them achieve their goals. But how do you handle this “ability”. Do you lord it over them as though you are superior in some way? Enjoy even secretly the sense that you are better, special, important? Or do you take a leaf from the Japanese way, and whilst not becoming servile (not many of us would be happy calling everyone Sir or Madam) do look at your role as serving your client. That is, your job is not to expound from on-high like Moses, but to help your client reach their goals. 

Put simply – a good session isn’t one that makes you feel you have given the poor wretches some good things to think about, it is one when your (maybe ashamed/dispirited/discouraged) client goes home having discovered their strength, their ability and begins believing in themselves that they are going to actually do what they set out to do.

Supportive, attentive, non-attention seeking training will set you apart both now in the time of Covid, and when life returns again to normal!



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