It’s Official

I’m a Weight Watchers Leader!! 🙂

weight-watchers

I’ve now led my third meeting as a legit leader (and not a trainee) and feel like I am getting more comfortable and confident each time. The meeting I’m working is actually one that I led my second time ever leading a meeting as a trainee, which you can read all about here. It’s super early in the morning (7:45am – yikes!) but I get pretty excited about it so haven’t had a hard time waking up yet, which is a small miracle.

I’m still a little awkward in front of the group, and sometimes my mind goes completely blank while I’m up there even though I have a good idea how I want the meeting to go from the start. I think that will get easier with time, but one thing I’ve started doing that is helping is not over thinking it. The topics are generally pretty self explanatory for someone like me who knows the program inside and out, and while there are loose guidelines of how the meeting can go, it’s largely pulled along by what the members have to say.

One thing that a lot of people might not know is that as a Leader, you are only supposed to talk about 1/4 of the time and are much more a facilitator than a lecturer. Most of the meeting should be filled with members sharing ideas with each other and the Leader asking thought provoking questions and pushing the conversation along as needed. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of people assume that the Leader has “figured it out” (which clearly I have not) so it’s more beneficial for many of them to get ideas from other members who are in the same boat.

So though I definitely feel like I am getting better, more comfortable, and less awkward as the meetings go on, there are certainly several areas for improvement.

publicspeaking

Source.

To name a few:

Figure out what to do with my hands! One of the things I’ve gotten better about is moving around the room a little bit so that I’m not standing glued to one spot on the floor. That said, I always awkwardly hold my hands in front of my body and though I’m completely conscious of it, I don’t know what to do with them to make me look more natural. I think I need to practice in front of a mirror!

Get more comfortable with silence. Since the goal is to have the members talk for most of the time, it’s important that I leave enough time for members to process and think about the questions I ask. While 8 seconds sounds like it would go by in the blink of an eye, when you’re in front of a room of people with all eyes on you, it can sometimes feel like an eternity.

Get more comfortable/confident in general. I think this one will only come with time and I’ve already seen a big improvement in myself since my first meeting, but I definitely need to keep working on it. I am very confident in social situations/in real life, so it still baffles me a little bit that I get so self conscious in front of the group, but I am confident this will improve with each meeting I lead.

Do you have any questions about being a leader that you’re curious about? If you are/were a WW-er at any point in time, what were some of the characteristics of your favorite leader(s)?

36 Comments on It’s Official

  1. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    February 1, 2012 at 8:58 am (8 years ago)

    Congrats, Beth!! That is very admirable! I’m sure that you will inspire a lot of people. And you will get a lot more comfortable as time goes on. I certainly haven’t been a WW leader, but as a teacher I talk in front of groups on a daily basis. I was really nervous when I started- the key is just to sound confident, but also to be able to laugh at yourself. I say stupid stuff all the time, whether I’m teaching my high school students or teaching a spinning or boydpump class all the time, but I laugh and go with it. People will connect with you as long as your yourself.
    And as for your hands, it’s okay to be a little animated- practicing in front of a mirror might be a good idea! 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm (8 years ago)

      Yeah I think maybe I need to be more animated. I’m also going to start observing some other leaders again to see what they do with their hands to make it look natural. I know it’ll come with time!

      Reply
  2. Chrissy
    February 1, 2012 at 9:00 am (8 years ago)

    Beth – congrats on officially becoming a WW Leader. I loved it when my leaders were ‘real’ and told stories ex. ate an entire pie so had to make another one before her husband came home. Humour helps too. In my opinion, no one wants the ‘ perfect person’. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t be at WW! I liked honesty and hated when the lady at the scale asked if it was that time of the month. No, I just ate like pig last week, but I’m here now! I wouldn’t say I’m at goal weight today but it was 15 years ago and I’m healthier and more fit than I ever was. WW is a great program!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm (8 years ago)

      I can’t believe she asked you if it was that time of the month!!! That is seriously ridiculous (and no one at WW would approve of that)! And yes, I completely agree with the idea that leaders who are “real” and show their struggles are much more relateable than those who try to come across as perfect.

      Reply
  3. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    February 1, 2012 at 9:04 am (8 years ago)

    Congrats, girl!

    And I still completely believe this will get so easy for you in a month or two. And it’s great practice for future careers to come!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm (8 years ago)

      I know! I definitely feel lucky to be getting this experience right now because it will only help with my career.

      Reply
  4. Jennifer
    February 1, 2012 at 9:13 am (8 years ago)

    YAY!! This is so great! I would guess you’re the only one really noticing your hands,b ut I agree with the above poster that if you can use them to be more animated (without looking like a squaking bird) that might be good. And I bet all of this will work itself out as you get more comfortable.

    How long does it take you to prepare for a meeting? I’m assuming they give you a topic of the week, and then is it up to you to figure out what you want to discuss?

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm (8 years ago)

      Before, I would take like an hour+ to prepare and really overthink things. Recently, I’ve just been spending about 20 minutes, where I read over the materials for the meeting and think about some ideas for questions in my head, and then I get to it. It’s working much better this way! And yes, they give you the topic and lots of ideas for ways to conduct the meeting.

      Reply
  5. Michel
    February 1, 2012 at 9:46 am (8 years ago)

    interesting! Do the leaders go to a leaders weekly meeting to know what to talk about? Curious.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm (8 years ago)

      Hi Michel! There are weekly topics that are discussed in every meeting room across the US. Leaders get a brochure each month that goes over the topics with some meeting ideas, but there isn’t a formal meeting or anything. Hope that answers your question!

      Reply
  6. Liz
    February 1, 2012 at 10:32 am (8 years ago)

    Wahoo! Go you!

    I always try to have something in my hands when doing public speaking or whatever. A pen, notecards, whatever. It gives me something to fidget with. 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm (8 years ago)

      We aren’t really allowed to have anything with us but that would definitely help me!

      Reply
  7. Debbie
    February 1, 2012 at 10:46 am (8 years ago)

    I used to do WW and a big group of us actually have a Facebook group who all met online on a Neighbors message board. One thing we were actually just talking about last week was how so many of us don’t do WW anymore because we hated the meetings. Not because of the leader, but because in every meeting we ever went to, there were always one or two who dominated the meeting with their own issues. Very frustrating. To me, that would be something very important to keep from happening in a group. Congrats to you!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm (8 years ago)

      That is great advice! There are always a few members that are more talkative than others, but I try to spread the love and move my attention around the room to draw everyone in. Great thing to keep in mind!

      Reply
  8. Heather
    February 1, 2012 at 11:18 am (8 years ago)

    Congratulations!

    I haven’t been to a WW meeting in a long time, but one thing that sticks out is how the leader sent out personal hand written letters to new members to welcome them and encourage them to stick to the program. I thought that was a nice touch!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm (8 years ago)

      i LOVE that idea! I think I’ll start doing that!!

      Reply
  9. Gwen
    February 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm (8 years ago)

    Congrats girl! I really can’t wait to see you in action sometime!

    Reply
  10. Dev
    February 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations! If I lived on the East Coast, I’d definitely come to one of your meetings 🙂

    Reply
  11. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    February 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations Beth! I work as a receptionist at Weight Watchers and we used to have an AWESOME leader. She would ask everyone at the beginning of each meeting to go around, introduce themselves and say one good thing about thier week and one struggle they had. The meetings often ran over time because everyone would be chiming in with tips, tricks and encouragement. The leader we have now pretty much reads directly from the weekly notes the members get each week. It’s so frustrating!

    Reply
  12. Biz
    February 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm (8 years ago)

    Woot – congrats! That is so exciting Beth! I know my leader provokes talking – many people say nothing week after week – they must get sick of me talking all the time, but no one else does – and there are like 50 people at my meeting!

    I know if there is a lull in the converation, she’ll throw out ideas like “tell me what high protein breakfast you make.”

    You’ll get better and more comfortable with time!

    Reply
  13. Cristina
    February 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations, Beth! How exciting!! I am sure you are an awesome leader. Sadly I have never had a WW leader who I found truly inspiring or who i thought was great at what they did. I mostly kept going back b/c i loved the ideas that the group provided. I wish i still lived in D.C. I would totally wake up to go to your meeting. If you are as energetic in person as you are on your blog, i have no doubts that you rock.
    I’m a teacher so I’m always in front of a crown (a very judgemental crowd of high schoolers) so my advice to you re: your hands would be to not worry about them. i talk with my hands so they are constantly moving as I roam the room, but when i see people with their hands in front of them, i don’t think it’s awkward at all. I think it’s more awkward when people just let them hang to the side. As far as the silence I know that 8 seconds seems like a while but i usually wait 14 seconds after I ask a question and before I speak. If they don’t speak within the 14 seconds I don’t give them the answer I start guiding them towards the right answer instead. i hope this helps a little bit.

    Reply
  14. Tracy
    February 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations, Beth! Sharing your successes and challenges (and recipes!) is wonderful on your blog, and I’m sure that translates well into being a WW leader. I’ve been doing WW since October and the leaders make the difference. I too will get moving in the morning to make a 7:30 WI & meeting because the leader if fabulous. She’s just very genuine, fun & spunky. She’s real. She gets us talking about challenges (and shares hers genuinely as well) – and really celebrates successes.

    My question would be what are the requirements to be a WW leader?

    btw – I’ve made both your Chickpea & Date Tagine (x2) and your Italian Tofuballs recently, and really enjoyed them both. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  15. Kim
    February 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations!! I know you’ll be a great leader. I just recently started going to a new meeting and I really like my leader. As you know, it makes the difference. Good luck to you! 🙂

    Reply
  16. Autumn@Good Eats Girl
    February 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm (8 years ago)

    Congrats! How exciting! I will tell you that over time you will be more confident…I’m a teacher and remember going through the same things at the beginning of my career! Over time, the nervousness will go away and your confidence will shine through!

    Reply
  17. Sarah
    February 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll be an awesome WW leader!

    Reply
  18. Doran
    February 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm (8 years ago)

    Thank you so much for your detailed and informative WW posts! I am inspired by your positive attitude and ambition! It makes me realize that being a leader is doable! I have never thought that I could stand up in front of others and lead a meeting but when it’s about something I am passionate about (healthy living) I think is something that I can achieve!

    Congrats on becoming a leader! I would love to attend one of your meetings but, I live in Nebraska! It’s crazy to think how far we have come! Go us!

    Reply
  19. Doran
    February 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm (8 years ago)

    By the way, my WW leader was the best! She is funny, she would intentionally embarrass herself to make us feel comfortable (like dressing up as a turkey for Thanksgiving), when she makes mistakes or stumbles over her words, she just laughs and moves on, she always tries to address everyone so that no one feels left out, she is personable, sweet, happy, upbeat, honest, and just amazing! I can’t tell you how many times I cried in front of her and she always made me feel like my feelings were important. Love her!

    Reply
  20. Laura
    February 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm (8 years ago)

    Congrats!

    I always struggle with what to do with my hands! 🙂

    Reply
  21. Ellen
    February 2, 2012 at 7:04 am (8 years ago)

    Congratulations!!! 😀 I’m so happy for your success; you are such an inspiration! 🙂

    I was noticing how the leader at my meeting was deftly facilitating this week; guiding us to sound off on ideas, thoughts, and experiences – I hadn’t noticed it before. It helps that we’re a bunch of chatters. The conversation begins before the meeting begins, and escalates from there. I love it.

    Reply
  22. Elsa Barbi
    February 2, 2012 at 11:23 am (8 years ago)

    Woo hoo awesome for you!!
    So, I too want to be a WW leader….down 46 lbs and have 21 to go! Did you ask to be a Leader or do they approach you? Muah!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 2, 2012 at 11:26 am (8 years ago)

      Hi Elsa! Congrats on all your success so far! It depends territory to territory, but my TM asked me if I wanted to be a receptionist which is always the first step before becoming a leader in DC. I think it can go either way – you can ask or they can ask you – just as long as it’s a good fit, which I’m sure it will be for you!

      Reply
  23. Life's a Bowl
    February 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm (8 years ago)

    Congratulations! That’s such an accomplishment and now it’s time to share your motivation with others…

    Reply
  24. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic
    February 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm (8 years ago)

    Congrats! I’m sure you’ll be a fabulous leader. I like leaders who really seem like they care, who facilitate discussion, and who are personal/real. One of my WW pet peeves is when people act like the plan is some sort of magic weight loss secret that WW has figured out instead of one of many ways to guide and control your eating. For example at a recent meeting, someone asked if they could sub fish oil for their healthy oils. Technically, WW doesn’t consider it one of their healthy oils, but for goodness sakes, it has the exact same nutritional profile as olive oil so it wouldn’t affect your weight loss one bit! However, some acted as if you wouldn’t lose weight as well if you had fish oil instead of the other “healthy” oils.

    Reply
  25. Theodora
    February 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm (8 years ago)

    Congrats!

    Reply
  26. Lisa E.
    February 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm (8 years ago)

    Beth,
    You have inspired me to return to WW meetings, your meetings. I love your story and your philosophy about food and nutrition. The great thing is I live in DC and my office is just across the street from WW! I look forward to meeting you and being “led” by you. I’m sure you are wonderful and will figure it all out.
    See you soon!

    Reply
  27. Jill
    September 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm (7 years ago)

    Hi Beth! Just got the return phone call from ww about becoming a leader! Soooo excited. Paperwork is being started. Any tips for me?

    Reply

Leave a Reply