Marietta Mehanni

Can you remember a name?

The most challenging group fitness skill ever: can you remember a name?

Did you often find yourself using the excuse, ‘I can never remember people’s names’? It’s a common struggle, especially when dealing with a group of 10 to 50 individuals. However, relying on this excuse became unacceptable when your participants had been loyal attendees for over a year or even several years.

The Power of a Name: A Shift in Perspective

Let me share a perspective that shifted my mindset, and I hope it does the same for you. The highlights that the first time you learn someone’s name, it’s a test. By remembering and using their name, you acknowledge them as an individual, someone distinct from a random stranger. This simple act tells them they are important enough to be remembered, setting the foundation for a potentially meaningful relationship in the future, whether it’s in business, friendship, or beyond.

A New Year’s Resolution That Stuck: Tackling the Name Game

About six years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to tackle this challenging group fitness skill, and I stuck to it throughout my face-to-face classes. While there was one weekly class where I struggled a bit, I realised it was more about my effort than the difficulty of remembering names.

The Art of Introduction: Building Personal Connections

For the other classes I taught, I consciously tried to remember everyone’s name. When someone new joined, I approached them, shook their hand, introduced myself, and asked for their name. Throughout the class, I mentioned their name at least three times to reinforce it in my memory.

Acknowledgment and Encouragement: The Name Reinforcement Technique

During the workout, I found opportunities to individually acknowledge each participant, praising them for their efforts and achievements. This approach transformed my teaching style from generalised corrections to personalised and honest feedback.

From Correction to Connection: The Evolution of Teaching Style

Gone were the days of hoping the right person caught the correction intended for them. Instead, I could say, ‘Jo, lift the Gymstick a little higher—great job!’ This direct and sincere feedback was given with the sole intention of helping, without the need for elaborate techniques.

Embracing Challenges: Tackling the Hardest Things First

We all talk about improving ourselves, but how many of us take on the challenge of tackling the hardest things first? Remembering names might seem daunting, but the efforts we put into it can significantly enhance our connection with participants and elevate the overall class experience.

So, let’s commit to mastering the art of remembering names—it’s a small effort that can lead to meaningful relationships and a more engaging fitness community.

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