How to Build Better Communication Skills: 3 Texting Tips for Yoga Teachers
Texting. Let’s talk about it. Texting is one of the most common ways that yoga teachers communicate with their studios (owners and managers), as well as with their private clients. Texting is convenient for last-minute schedule changes and sub requests. It’s a fast and easy way to reach anybody, anytime. It’s a vehicle for starting a conversation without the vulnerability of being face-to-face.
Are you starting to see where I’m going with this?
For all of the convenience texting offers, it can also create a lot of problems if it’s not done thoughtfully. If you use texting for business conversations, you want to be sure that you’re managing them like a pro. Below are my top 3 tips for using text message to be an excellent communicator.
TIP #1: Keep it Classy
You may spend most of your day in stretchy pants, but as a yoga teacher, you are still a professional in your craft, not to mention a business owner. And you want all of your communications to reflect a high level of professionalism so that your clients and your studios trust and respect you. Acting like a pro, when combined with great teaching skills, will inevitably lead to better teaching opportunities and a growing roster of clients eager to work with you.
Therefore, you want to think of your text messages like very short, concise emails. I like to use a quick greeting when sending a text, as well as quick closing. “Hi” and “Thanks” will do nicely. Although I might lol my friends via text message, I’m going to be a lot more mindful about whether I choose to do that with a studio owner. You want to use text as a means of conveying information to your clients or your studios in a quick, timely manner, so overusing emojis or sending a string of gifs is unnecessary.
I’d also be mindful of swearing in your text messages. For one, if the conversation is so emotionally heightened that you feel the need to drop an f-bomb, it probably doesn’t belong in a text thread. For two, this is a professional communication, so strive to articulate your thoughts and feelings. Choose another word.
When in doubt, choose the more businesslike route. A studio or client is unlikely to think “Wow, that person is just waaaaay too professional and put together for me,” but they may think “Yikes, this person is a great teacher but their text messages make me sort of uncomfortable.”
TIP #2: Text Only During “Yoga Business Hours”
If you’re texting a studio owner or manager, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re contacting them on their personal phone. Because texting has more immediacy than email, try to keep those texts during yoga business hours. I define those hours as roughly 9am-8pm. These are the times when a manager/owner is likely to be in the studio or focused on work-related concerns. The same guidelines apply to private clients, unless you have an early morning session and are texting about logistics or needing to reschedule.
Note that many studios are open earlier and later than these hours. If you’re teaching the early morning class and there’s a leak in the studio roof, you can throw these rules out the window and text or call someone ASAP. On the other hand, if someone’s MindBody account has a little snafu and you notice when you’re closing up at 9:45pm, that’s probably not worth sending a late-night text. Send an email instead.
What’s also important is that this tip isn’t just about sending text messages, it’s about responding to them as well! If you make a habit of answering texts after 10pm, then you are conveying to your studios and your clients that you are always available, all of the time. You teach other people how to treat you when it comes to communication, and following up too quickly can set you up for extra stress. Our technology usage is habit-forming, and if you get accustomed to responding immediately, you’ll feel the itch to do so, even when you’re spending time with friends or family. If you frequently receive text messages after yoga business hours, practice waiting until 9am the next day to respond. It will be good for you AND for your studio or client.
TIP #3: Know When It’s Time to Change the Conversation
Texting is quick and convenient, but it’s not the right forum for every communication. There are many times when an email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting is a much better choice. Keep in mind that a text conversation lacks a lot of context. You can’t hear the person’s voice, see their body language, or make eye contact with them. Your words (or theirs) may get lost in translation or come out the wrong way during an in-depth conversation, not to mention that talking about certain topics over text just isn’t that professional. Texting about money, for example, is often a way of hiding our discomfort with the conversation. Here are some examples of topics where you ought to consider shifting the conversation to a different space:
*Rate increases for private clients (email or in-person)
*Asking for a raise from a studio (email can start this conversation, but finish it with a phone call or in-person meeting)
*Expressing interest in picking up more classes at a studio (email or in-person)
*Changing your group class or private session schedule (email or in-person)
*Offering a workshop (email or phone)
*Managing HR issues or providing feedback to a studio or client (email, phone, or in-person)
I’d love to hear from you! What do you like or dislike about texting as a way of communication for yoga teachers? Leave your comments here or in our FB Group Yoga Teachers Who Mean Business.