The first step in a great professional relationship is building understanding and trust! And the best way to do that is through communication. In order to help you maximize your efficiency and efficacy in communicating with new potential students, we have created the “Student First Contact” settings.
Check out our tips below on how to set up your messaging today!
The Message is seen by students when they first start to message you. Students are already asked by italki for their language, speaking level, main goal, and preferred time. This is your chance to get a bit more information that might be useful to you when first contacting a student. Remember though you only have 100 characters so keep it short and to the point.
You might ask things like:
- What topics are you interested in?
- Do you have any preferred materials?
- How many times a week do you want to have a lesson?
- For Business lessons, what field are you currently working in?
- Do you have any adaptability needs I should be aware of?
Or you might provide special instructions like:
- For kids' lessons please let me know the age of your child.
This can also be another place to reinforce your image as a caring teacher, by leaving supportive and motivating messages for potential students.
Here is your chance to really shine! This is your first communication with students and it can be important that it sets the right tone and feeling for your future communications. For the Auto-reply, you get up to 500 characters to get your message across. Here are some key tips! Note that this auto-reply only works with the new messaging feature and not the older version of the Teacher Contact Form.
It can be tempting to sound very professional or official when writing an auto-reply, but we would encourage you to be a bit more casual. Being formal in the auto-reply can seem really ‘robotic’ and uncaring, which is likely the exact opposite of who you are.
“Hi, and thanks for the message! Sorry, I am not able to reply right now, but I am looking forward to chatting soon.”
“I am happy you decided to reach out, but unfortunately I am not able to reply right now.”
Set a time you will respond
The key to an auto-reply is to follow up later with your potential new students of course. By setting a time you will get back to them, like “I’ll reply in the next 24 hours.” You set an expectation and when you do get back to them within 24 hours you show you are responsible and keep your promises.
“Sorry I missed your message. I will reply back within 12 hours.”
“I am currently on vacation, but will be back on italki after the 24th.”
Let them know what to expect
Beyond when you will reply back, you can also let them know what to expect when you do and what sort of questions you may ask. This helps form a connection and also lets them know you are attentive and professional.
“After I read your message, I’ll send you some materials to help us set your short-term and long-term learning goals.”
“I get many messages, but I should reply back within 24 hours, if you haven’t heard from me by then, please contact me again!”
Avoid technical or difficult words
Remember these students are here to learn your language, and they may be far from mastering it. Keeping the language simple and friendly will help them feel connected and comfortable with you.
“If you are interested in my various lessons and thoughts on pedagogy, please pursue my “Me as a Teacher” information” (not so good)
“If you want to know more about how I teach, look at my “Me as a Teacher” section.”
Give them something to do next
An Auto-reply message is your chance to stay connected with a potential student. What better way to continue the connection than help them find out more about you as a teacher or find some of your content on italki?
“While you wait, you can take a look at my podcast channel for some of my level listening exercises.”
“Don’t forget to check out my “about me” section to learn more about my journey to becoming an italki teacher.”
Do you have any Auto-reply tips? Share them in the comments below!