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shawnstarr

giving your T customer the best possible experience???

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i just got my TI rating. and would like to hear from anyone with advice on making your student feel satisfied with their skydive experience. they spend a lot of money and i want them to feel really good about it. i know its important to be friendly and sincere. anyone have tips for having more fun?? making them feel more relaxed?? cheesy gearing up and plane ride jokes?? plane ride conversations??
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'I refuse to tiptoe quitely through life
only to arrive safely at death' Anon

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IMO

I think one of the best ways to make someone feel relaxed is to be professional. We have one TM at the DZ who makes the corny jokes, says inappropriate things (told a preacher to say "holy shit, holy shit" on exit:S) , and pretty much everyone doesn't like doing jumps with the guy. No bragging but most people I have taken said they felt very comfortable jumping with me. Try to show them things on the ride up, talk to them about why they wanted to jump, explain how most people are nervous on their first jump (it's natural), tell them what to expect. Listen to what the passenger says, especially under canopy, don't keep spiraling down when the passenger says stop, if they like it and you have the altitude, do it.

Whatever you do Please don't tell them or people who have come with them that you can "cutaway" a bad passenger. A TM told the mom of the passenger that he could cutaway the student if he was causing problems. Naturally they had a cutaway, and landed off the DZ. It took a lot of convincing that her baby wasn't dead. It was definitely a black eye on skydiving.
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- Does this small canopy make my balls look big? - J. Hayes -

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I have had my rating for about 4 months now and I agree that being professional seems to be the way to go. I always find time to talk to my passenger before suiting them up.You get a feeling which passengers you can joke around with and which ones you need to not joke around with. Which system did you get rated on? Blue skies and congrats B|
Growing old is mandatory, Growing up is optional

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You're doing good so far, calling yourself a Tandem Instructor!

They may be your DZ's customers, but first and foremost, they are your students.

Give them everything that any instructor would give any student in any training method. Training. Teach them to be a skydiver.

Teach them to do something that they think they cannot do (it being only their first skydive.) Show them that skydiving is something they most certainly _can_ do.

The more they know, the more comfortable they are, the more fun they will have, (and the safer your skydive will be.)

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i know its important to be friendly and sincere. anyone have tips for having more fun??



One of the most important questions I ask is: "What made you want to make a skydive today?" Drawing out the real reason while they are there often provides me with an opportunity to "customize" the skydive a bit to fit their reason for being there. My favorites are those who are truly afraid of heights or flying, and have come there to conquer their fears. I made one this weekend, and the emotional reaction I received when we arrived safely on the ground I would not trade for anything.

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making them feel more relaxed??

Deep breaths. Often . . . beginning on the ground after we walk through an exit at the mockup. Reassurance that they are doing great helps as well. Also, include them in any cameraderie activities on board the aircraft like the "secret handshakes." They often enjoy being included.

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cheesy gearing up and plane ride jokes??



Some of these work well with everyone, but as already mentioned you have to consider your audience. Be wary of other skydivers making those types of jokes - they have not spent any time with the student to get a feel for their personality.

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plane ride conversations??


I ask them small talk stuff to find out more about them, point out the airport below (out the window), and such. Don't overdo it . . . give them time to themselves as well.
Arrive Safely

John

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Be wary of other skydivers making those types of jokes - they have not spent any time with the student to get a feel for their personality.



I have a rule about that, as does the other TI's at my DZ. No one initiates a joke of those sorts with a tandem student unless the TI started it. No one. Not the video guy, no one. The TI is the person who has been talking to the student and knows (or atleast has a decent idea) of what kind of person they're dealing with.

A stray joke can mean the difference between a valued customer who will tell all their friends to go learn about skydiving or someone who will badmouth your DZ every chance they get.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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First: I'm no TI, but I am doing a lot of videos, a few hundrets up to now, and working with differnt TI on our DZ.
What makes the good TI good?
- NO jokes. Its fun for alle the other skydivers, but not for the pax!
- Do not overload the students with information!! Most TI want to to them good, but in my experience, most passengers do not want to know about cutaways, cyres, side spin or accidents. IF they want to know something, they WILL ask you! Tell them _after_ the jump, if they seem interested in starting skydiving.
- In the Plane do your routine before hooking up. Tell them about the jump again (hands in, arch...). But do not talk to them the whole time, its their first skydive, they want to prepare for it. A focuses and concentrated TI gives them a safe feeling. If they ask, show them the cities, rivers whatever you can see out the window.
- IMO skydiving is not about fun! Its great fun without making jokes... Its a great, very intensive experience, do not make to much fuss about the rest of it. Keep focused.
- And: As a female videoflyer it sometimes realy pisses me off, what some TI are doing / talking to girls. THATS not professional. Thats not part of your job!
Enjoy your tandems, be safe!

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And: As a female videoflyer it sometimes realy pisses me off, what some TI are doing / talking to girls. THATS not professional. Thats not part of your job!



Here I think the trick lies in getting close to someone while keeping your distance....

Easier said than done since you were not taking chastity vows when you signed on as 'professional meathauler (tm)' and at some point they have to 'sit on your lap' so to speak. A 'first name basis relationship' comes natural, you'll be 'saving their life' and chances are they get very emotional during/ right after the experience.

My simple rule: "I don't mind hugs and kisses but I WILL NEVER TAKE THE INITIATIVE!!!"

Modest and sober yet friendly ought to do the trick...

(Which doesn't mean I'm not enjoying some tandemjumps more than others... :)

"Whoever in discussion adduces authority uses not intellect but memory." - Leonardo da Vinci
A thousand words...

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If anyone has any interest in this from a student's view....

(Here is my perspective: I have had only one tandem jump and it was great, I cannot wait for some real training.)

Most of what is said I fully agree with, here is what I learned from my one experience.

-keep the joking to a minimum, especially in the plane. The student/baggage wants the mood to be light but not too jocular.
-this may seem crazy but facial expressions mean a lot to me. I liked that mine was positive, smiling and alert at all times. (The cameraman that slept on the way up seemed a bit casual!)
-if you can read the expressions of your customer, I bet you will find a few times to say, "It's going to be just fine, you will love it.", in a soothing tone!
-I am also kind of assured by touch. I realize this may be difficult these days but it really means a lot to me... a firm handshake, a reassuring grip on the shoulder all helps alleviate worry!
-minimal turns. Sorry if this makes it boring for ti's but straight and level makes it much better for us.
-kind of go by the feedback you get (or even ask!) as to how much talking is good. I liked intermittent review of what to expect, what procedures/techniques will help.
Not continuous jabbering, but not silence.

Huge thanks to TIs everywhere for what you bring to the rest of us!

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