I think basic human kindness, respect, and courtesy apply here. For starters, people love the sound of their own name, right?! That is probably the most important; with clients that’s easy since we see them more often. In a class setting it can be more of a challenge, but one to definitely master. Also, a warm, genuine verbal greeting and smile goes a long way:)
Treat everybody with respect. Don’t assume you know better. We really don’t know who we are working with until some time has passed. Again, PT clients will quickly become more familiar, but even they may not offer full disclosure regarding certain issues for some time (if ever). With class participants, I think you just have to keep chatting with them, pay attention, and do your best to earn their respect and trust.
PT clients deserve our full attention during every session (and before and after in terms of preparing for and making notes/reminders). I think more trainers would benefit by adopting a similar mindset as other service providers; think travel, tourism, hospitality, etc…what experiences do they create (or don’t) that linger in our minds?
Finally, with our PT clients, it’s important to consistently offer comments on their progress (whether strictly factual or unabashed praise). Most of us connect with our clients on so many different levels that it can be downright tricky to keep the balance that is required for professionalism and personal attention to co-exist (and let’s face it: there are many times when the scales will be tilted more one way than the other. That’s life. As long as the big picture is attended to, everyone will benefit).
Ultimately if you relate to someone honestly, with good energy and intentions, they will sense it and respond in kind.