by: Dana Auriemma
Whenever potential clients evaluate new studios or teachers, instructor bios are valuable tools they use to make decisions. In choosing their first class or private session, many potential clients consider which instructor(s) they want to work with based on their bios.
As an instructor, you want your bio to be a compelling representation of your professional capabilities, strengths and style so by the end of reading it, potential clients are excited to work with you!
So what should you write about? When new clients look at instructor bios, they want to know two main things:
- You know your stuff. (What kind of education do you have?)
- They will LOVE their experience with you. (What kind of teacher are you?)
Every instructor bio covers the first point (although how it’s covered can often be enhanced), but many fail to sufficiently write about the second point and that’s a big missed opportunity! As most clients have limited understanding when it comes to teacher training, the first point is not as relevant to them as we’d like to think. That’s not to say you shouldn’t include it and do your best to educate clients about your training background. It’s just that it shouldn’t be the primary focus of your bio. The second point is where you can bring to life what kind of unique teacher you are, which is what every potential client really wants to know!
Let’s break each of these things down.
1.) Do you know your stuff?
The objective here is to communicate your experience and expertise in an interesting, insightful and approachable manner.
Primary Certification: Share some details about your primary training program to help clients learn a little about your education. Reference not just the training hours but also the length of time involved, since most clients have no clue that some programs require as much time as they do! Also mention things like the program’s philosophy, history or specialty. Focus on whatever makes it most unique and interesting, but avoid putting too much emphasis on your program being “the best.” This is a very generic statement that anyone can claim (and a lot of people do) so it really doesn’t hold much weight when we say it. Instead, talk about your program’s best qualities! This will be much more helpful and interesting for your clients.
Continuing Education: Add a few notes about what else you’ve studied since your original training program. If you’ve had a lot of continuing education, avoid writing a laundry list of names and workshops. These details often don’t mean anything to clients. Focus on what they really want to know, which is that you have an advanced level of education and you’re an instructor who is dedicated to always learning more - which means they will learn more too! Mention areas of focus or specialties. And if you want to highlight any favorite workshops or teachers, just be sure to explain the significance to your potential clients.
Overall when it comes to your training, keep it concise. Ultimately clients just want to know you are well educated. Beyond that, they don’t fully understand the details. So highlight it and then move on because you have many more great qualities that they’ll want to know about!
And a note for the less experienced instructors: There is no need to feel pressure to inflate your experience and present yourself as an expert when you’re not there yet. Being a new instructor is not a negative thing and you have many other strengths that make you a good teacher, so be confident with everything you have to offer! And share your future educational goals so clients can see where you’re headed and what they will learn from you in the year to come.
2.) What kind of experience will a client have with you?
This is what most bios should focus on more! Writing about your education is the basics. It’s important to include but doesn’t reveal a lot about you and how you teach. When a potential client is reading your bio, they are trying to figure out what it will be like to work with you. Will you be tough, sweet, chatty, serious or philosophical? Do you use a lot of imagery or talk about anatomy? Do you pause often for explanations, demonstrations and corrections or prefer to keep clients moving?
Potential clients want to get to know you and find out things like:
- Why did you start practicing and decide to teach?
- What’s your personality?
- What’s your teaching style and approach?
- Do you have a specialty or focus?
- What is your underlying philosophy? (your belief(s) about exercise, movement and learning)
If you have a story similar to theirs, they’ll feel like you better understand their needs.
They want to know if they’ll enjoy your company and like being around you.
They want to know if you’ll explain, motivate and respond to them in a way that they’ll like.
If they have a special need or interest they want you to address it.
We all have one. It comes from our upbringing, experiences and mentors, and it infiltrates every aspect of our teaching. So if potential clients connect with your philosophy or beliefs, they’ll more likely enjoy and thrive from working with you.
An important note: the more specific you are, the better. Not every client will be the right match for you and that’s okay! So be clear about your distinctive traits and style and it will help each client find the best instructor for them.
Now the hard part is writing a paragraph that captures these things and keeping it concise! This takes time and requires you to really sit and think about who you are as an instructor. Brainstorm and jot down notes for each one of these bullets. Reach out to a client or fellow instructor for feedback on your strengths, style and personality. Next write out a full draft, but go back and edit it a few times with the intention of getting more concise with your language on each revision. You’ll want to sneak in words that capture the bullets points above rather than have several sentences dedicated to each.
A few final watch-outs:
- Keep the tone of your writing conversational and personal, but still professional and polished. If writing isn’t one of your strengths, ask a friend or family member to review and help you edit for grammar and flow.
- Avoid sharing too long of a back-story, personal details or information that does not immediately relate to your teaching or professional development.
- Choose words that show a feeling of humility and gratitude. It’s easy for bios to get pretentious without meaning to and that’s a turn-off. But if you can keep a gracious tone, your bio will show that you are modest, approachable and likable.
- And remember, your primary bio isn’t for your peers. It’s for your clients. The things that are most impressive to your peers are not necessarily the things that are most important to potential clients. So stay focused on writing for the clients. As a check, have non-industry friends and family read your bio and make sure it speaks directly to them.
A bio is a powerful tool and resource but it’s deceptively difficult to write a truly good one. However, if you take the time to create the right one for you, it will help show the world what a wonderful teacher you are!
Dana started her professional career in marketing and sales working for Fortune 500 companies, but later moved out of the corporate world to pursue her passion in fitness. She opened, grew and sold a thriving Pilates studio and is now dedicated to helping other studio owners and teachers master the marketing and business skills needed to reach their full potential! Dana publishes free training articles plus online and live business courses are coming this fall. Visit her online or on facebook.
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