“How important is listening in your field of work?” This was one of the first questions I had asked when I began my interview with Mike, a personal trainer. He immediately answered, “all I do is listen.” I did not find his answer surprising for many reasons. One of the reasons is because listening is a human necessity and is used in everyday life. It is applied to all professions out there. Another reason I did not find his answer surprising is because personal trainers have to pay attention and listen to what their clients are saying. Especially when they talk about the possible prior injuries they may have had that may prevent them from performing certain exercises.
However, what I did find surprising was when Mike said he uses a lot of therapeutic listening in his work. I did not quite understand what he meant by that. He went on to explain that he has to listen to what is going on in the lives of his clients. Mike said this was a way to get closer with a client. He mentioned this was kind of a business tactic and went on to say that keeping clients is much more difficult than finding clients. In order to keep his clients coming back he has to become friends with them and learn more about their personal lives. He said this was also largely due to the fact that majority of his clients are between the age of 50 and 75. His clients don’t have many people to vent out to in their lives so they vent to him. He is totally fine with it because it is part of his job and part life.
There were a few challenges/barriers when conducting the interview. One of them was the commotion going on in the background. The interview took place at the gym he works at, so there were still some people working out in the background. Another challenge was to keep the interview going longer. He was not prepared for the questions I had for him and that is the reason he was giving in depth answers to only a few of my questions. We discussed many topics other topics as well such as the supplement industry and nutrition. He went on about the common misconception about supplements and how a lot of people rely only on supplements. He said people need to listen and understand the word “supplement” because they should be used to supplement you when you are not able to put together an actual meal. Mike was surprised and also intrigued about our class when I told him about it. In his opinion, listening is the most important tool in communication. Overall I enjoyed and learned a lot from this interview.
Upon the conclusion of my interview, I noticed that many people realize that listening plays a vital part in anything you do in life. When I interviewed Mike Scott, a personal trainer, I didn’t not expect him to value listening as much as he did. When I asked Mike “how big of a role listening plays in his profession?” his first response was “all I do is listen.” Mike says that listening is his best skill. Similar to what we discussed in class, Mike clearly explained understands and explains the difference between “hearing” and “listening.” Listening is extremely important in the fitness industry for many reasons. Trainers have to listen to what their clients want to accomplish and the clients have to listen to the instructions given by their trainers in order to accomplish their goals. Another thing that we discussed in class that Mike also mentioned is that you have to care, in order to listen, or else you are not really listening. He said “everyone in this world wants to be heard” and his clients that come in want to be heard as well. What he means by that is, most of his clients come in do not just come to work out. They start opening up, expressing themselves and telling him what is going on in their lives because not all them might have anyone else to express themselves to and listen to them. Getting open and having a good relationship with his clients is what keeps them coming back. They are kind of incentivized. They come to workout to get in shape and also have someone to listen to them at the same time. Mike has been in this industry for over twelve years now and always gives his 100% to make his clients happy and achieve their goals. Also, many people have physical ailments or injuries. Therefore, trainers have to listen to their clients whenever they feel pain while performing a certain exercise in order to avoid strain or prevent further injury and maybe find a different exercise to work the same muscle group without feeling pain. When asked which is the most important communication skill, Mike replied saying “they are all important because they are interconnected, you cannot have one without the other. But if I had to pick one I would say listening is the most important.”
Interview Audio: https://storycorps.me/interviews/true-stories-interview-akrish-and-mike/?start=0
The professional I am going to be interviewing is Mike Scott (pseudonym), a personal trainer. I met Mike for the first time last year and have been training with him since. He is very dedicated to what he does and never stops motivating his clients. Mike has been playing sports since a very young age. To improve his performance in the sports he played, he decided to start training at the age of 13. This indeed had helped him tremendously, not only physically, but mentally as well. Ever since then he fell in love with fitness. Down the road he eventually joined the fitness industry in 2003. Mike is a great educator, he knows how every muscle, and joint in the body works. So, while he helps his clients get stronger and more flexible, he also puts great emphasis on injury prevention. I don’t know how he does it but Mike is always energetic and never slacks off. I’ve seen some trainers who just give an exercise for their client and ask them to do it for minutes while they go off and talk to others or go on their phone. However, Mike gives 100% of his attention to each and every client he has so that he can make sure they are performing the exercise properly so they won’t hurt themselves. His motto is “my goal is your goal.”
- How did you get into your field of work?
After introductory questions, I feel this is a good question to begin with because It is always interesting to hear the stories about what inspired people to get into their field of work.
- Was it passion that drove you or pressure from parents?
I feel this is an important question because there are a lot of people who are pressured by their parents and/or other family members to going to field that they are not interested to go into. I have a few friends who were passionate to go into business. However, their parents forced them to either become an engineer or a doctor.
- How long have you been doing your profession?
The reason I am asking this question is because a lot of people keep changing jobs very frequently. Others stay with one job for life whether they like it or not.
- Could you possibly describe one of your typical workdays?
It is always nice to know how a regular work day for the interviewee is so that we can all kind of get an idea and decide if we would like to enter this field of work or not.
- What do you find most enjoyable in what you do?
This is an important question because everyone has to have some enjoyment in their job. It will help them be more productive and content. There is no point doing a job you do not find enjoyable. Unfortunately, there are many people out there that are stuck with jobs they don’t like and have no choice because they need some source of income; the job they are passionate about might not provide that.