Service, Part II

The idea of being in service to others is a foundational principle of my Feldenkrais practice. Being in service extends beyond volunteerism. To build your practice, have the attitude of being in service to everyone you meet — especially in business or networking settings.

Being in service means finding out what someone wants, and helping them to get it. The first step to being in service is that you listen more than you talk. Listen to the people you meet, be curious about them. Care about them as human beings, whether or not they ever come into one of your classes or lie down on your table. As you get to know them, you’ll find out what they are interested in, or working on, or care about. Most of the conversations you have with people will NEVER be about the Feldenkrais Method. How in the world will that build your practice? Who has time to waste on frivolous small talk?

Think about this: isn’t it the “frivolous,” silly, tiny, gentle movements of an ATM or FI which have a profound effect on someone’s nervous system? Many people think you have to strain, stretch, and subject yourself to a rigorous “no pain/no gain” regime, or to the medical system, to reach their goals for physical improvement. And we know better, right? Some of those tiny movements are the equivalent of small talk with business prospects and colleagues. Small talk builds trust. When someone trusts you with small things, they will gradually trust you with bigger things — like referring their friend to you, or giving you money to work with them.

In the course of small talk, the secret is: LISTEN. Someone will mention that they are looking for a housekeeper, or a veterinarian, hairdresser, date movie, web designer. You know one. You make a recommendation, send a link, a phone number, or any additional information. You’ve just been in service to another person. You found out what she wanted, and helped her to get it. She will remember you. She will return the favor.

As people get to know you as a generally helpful, cheerful, nice person (and of course they will, since you are one of the few who actually listens to them), they’ll get curious about you. As they ask, you can then and only then begin to tell them a little bit about what you do. And, because now you know something about them, you can relate what you do to what THEY are interested in. It’s impossible to do this if you don’t know what makes them tick.

If you like the person and are ready to know them better, invite them over for a demo lesson or class. Send them a link to your website, or the Guild website, and call them a few days later to see if they have questions. Take it easy, don’t panic, don’t push. Keep it friendly, conversational, useful, and about them. This is “building it.” They will come.

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