Community: The importance of using peoples names

Donnie Macfadyen
October 14, 2022

“Great to have you on board Dougie…”

Overview: Community is important for creating an environment where people can grow and flourish. This is an idea frequently marketed, but not as frequently developed and catered to. One way to help create a community is to remember peoples names and greet them.

Time to read: 3-4 minutes

It’s a common theme in health and fitness at the moment. Community. 

Somebody recognised its cache and started selling it… 

I feel it started to creep back into our collective consciousness with the surge in popularity in Cross Fit gyms over the last twenty years. People wanted something that just wasn’t available in the current Globo gym set up.

A community of like minded individuals with shared values, striving towards goals, enduring hardship together, celebrating victories together, loving each other, supporting each other.

What was it about those corporate gyms that didn’t sit right with so many people? It was the anonymity of it. Faceless, you scanned your bar code and in you went. Did your thing and left, no human interaction. Maybe you would see the same folk from time to time but you didn’t feel part of something bigger than you. You didn’t feel acknowledged, you felt like a number. Cram them in, and then get them out fast so we can get more people in. The dollar signs racking up. 

Now some people want that, or are happy with that. They get that very human need for connection sated in other areas of their life. Family, friends, work, sports teams, book groups… 

But not all of us. Some of us want more, expect more from our gym. We identify very strongly with our athleticism, our physicality. It matters to us on a very deep level.  And we recognise how we directly benefit from being part of a community, surrounded and supported by other people who maybe in any other walk of life we wouldn’t bond with but on this topic we align.  

So what makes you feel like part of a community? 

Wearing the same clothes? Liking the same things? Doing the same things? Doing those things together? Yes all of those things can make you feel part of something. 

But lets look a little deeper… 

It’s the relationship. The human to human interaction and connection. We hold this close to our hearts at G2G. Our experience shows us that every single successful coaching journey starts with the building of a collaborative relationship between the member and their coach. The member and the coaching team. The member and the other members.  

A quote that I love. And it’s one I share with the other coaches. 

“Don’t ask what disease this person has, ask what person has this disease” – Wiliam Osler

Now what does that mean to me as a coach? It means I strive to speak to the human first and foremost. Forget the injury for now, we will get to that. I want to build a person to person relationship with you first. You aren’t just a number to me. 

What does this have to do with names? 

As simple as it sounds, taking the time to learn and then use someone’s name. It matters. By doing this you are communicating to them directly that they matter and that you acknowledge, value and respect them as a human being. 

This simple step is the first one in that process of building that all important collaborative relationship. 

So who was Dougie? From the title of this blog. 

A few years ago I decided to join a gym. Perusing their website they made a big deal of the importance of their community and made the promise that they knew all of their members names. This all sounded good to me and I needed somewhere to train so walked in to sign up. As we completed the sign up process and I turned to walk into the gym for my first session the manager said to me…

“Great to have you on board Dougie…” 

Wait, what? 

But you said you knew everyones names? 

Now I know it was just a simple mistake, my daughter likes to tell me that I tend to mumble, I prefer softly spoken. And it was very easily rectified. But I walked away from that encounter and it got me thinking more deeply about the importance of names. 

Simple mistake to the side. Did I feel welcome? Did I feel acknowledged? Did I feel part of something? Or did I feel like an outsider, intruding. And importantly what affect would those feelings of disconnection have on my experience of that gym and as a direct correlation the results I might achieve whilst training there?   

At G2G our commitment to all of our members is that when we talk about the importance of community it isn’t a marketing ploy. Its is a core tenant on how we operate. 

And when we say we get to know all of our members, starting with their names. We mean it and follow through on it. 

Thanks for reading



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