Positive Motivation Works Better Than Yelling

Research suggests positive language gets more physical response than yelling. Bill examines a recently released study and applies the findings to successful indoor cycling instructors and their impact on motivating their students. We all know instructors who yell to motivate, often with drill sergeant–like language and tone. Instinctively this has always felt wrong to me. In fact, my students often tell me that they burn more calories (and produce more watts) in my classes—which usually feature more gentle encouragement—than they do in some others with instructors who have a more barking or demanding style. The communication style we use and the words we choose are important to motivating our students. For me, it’s more about connecting than yelling. In fact, yelling is the opposite of connecting.

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