On my piano lesson days, my client schedule runs late into the afternoon/early evening. When my last lesson is over on one of my days, I have a brief ten minutes to get ready and hop in the car to drive to my tennis lesson on time.
It is super fast and I feel a bit crazy as I make my final notes regarding that day's lessons, check dinner in the slow cooker, chat it up with my family, and change into my tennis clothes. So, it is natural that, on that particular day, I'm tempted to cut that routine short.
And by short, I mean, shorts. That's right -- I am tempted to wear my tennis clothes (which are really just workout clothes that I call "tennis clothes") for my last couple of lessons. That would save me time, and, after all, what's the difference?
Well, there is a big difference. Think about it -- what would happen if you went to visit your doctor and she was dressed in sweats and a t-shirt? How about if you went out to eat and your waiter had on an apron stained with chicken juice and blood?
Yeah, that would be awkward. Why? Because clothes send a message.
You want your doctor to be dressed professionally and you want your waiter to be clean. Professional dress tells you your doctor knows what she's doing and clean dress tells you your waiter is hygienic.
In my case, tennis clothes would tell my student that I am thinking about, preparing for, and preferring what is coming later -- tennis lessons. Tennis clothes scream tennis. Loud and clear.
So, it may be a bit of a rush afterward, it may be more inconvenient, but you know what? When I'm giving my piano lessons, I'm in my piano lesson clothes. For me that means nice pants and a cute shirt. Clean clothes that are ironed. Shoes. (I know that seems weird to add shoes, but I'm barefoot the rest of the time, so yeah, shoes are a deliberate act on my part.)
How about you? Think about your usual "uniform" for lessons. What are you communicating to your students? Are you communicating that you are a professional, who knows what you are doing? Are you communicating that you are a business owner who is worth what you charge for tuition?
This week, pick out something professional. Not overly dressed, but professional. If you already are, way to go -- keep it up. If you aren't, step it up a notch. You'll be glad you did!