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You Dancing; You Asking – a Toastmasters Speech (5)

Since the days of Hippocrates, great thinkers, like Freud and Jung have analysed the forces at work in communication and have found that there are four generic patterns. Hippocrates called these the four temperaments. 

Since then, business psychologist and creative authors have developed storyboards with unique names to describe these four temperaments and how they act and react in certain circumstances. 

Colour Works and their four coloured hats, Nigel Risner’s ZooKeeper with the elephant, lion, monkey, and dolphins.  Now, McHarrie has developed the Dance Floor Story Board to illustrate the communication nuances

Dancing is a communication activity in its own right so the application seems quite appropriate – it is also an activity that you can choose to do or not.  Plus you can improve your dancing techniques with a little bit of training and lots of practice. 

Some prefer the Jitterbug Jive, some the Buenos Aires Tango, some the Viennese Waltz and others to prefer to Irish Line dance.  Your preferred dance style will depend on:

1.       how easily you connect with others.  How social or private are you in sharing information with others about yourself.

2.       how directly you approach tasks and activities

We can learn something about direct and close questions from some of these dancers so let’s see who we have on the floor!

Composed dancers (waltz and Irish line) are more thoughtful and operate at a more measured pace.  They are supportive and relaxed.  They are likely to be best at open questions that will allow them to gather information before making a decision.

The expressive dancers (jive and tango) like taking the initiative and being active.  They tend to be quick and decisive and willing to take risks.  They express themselves freely and emphatically and get to the point quickly with direct questions. 

That notwithstanding!  The directness of the questions may need to be tempered by the open questions that the Viennese waltz and Irish line dancing promote.

The Irish Line Dance


The Irish Line Dancer has a closed personal style – you don’t see them hugging their partners.  You are more likely to see them side by side, a solid analytical style deliberate and precise, slow and cautious.  That is until they know what they are doing. 

These are likely to be good at open questions that will get them enough information to make a properly informed decision.  This makes them great at market research.

The Viennese Waltz

The waltz has a warm and people orientated approach.  This dancer is easy to work with and is great a cooperating closely with others, likes people and will put the comfort of others in front of own. 

These are likely to be good at open questions particularly good at listening to the answers.  This makes them great at prospecting and lead generation.

The Jitterbug Jive

The Jitterbug Jive is great fun and just a little bit playful. These dancers are creative, unstructured and get bored easily with routine.  This dancer’s enthusiasm engages well with others. 

These are likely to be good at asking closed questions that are people-orientated.  This makes them great at getting a commitment from prospects that someone else in the sales team can follow through with.

The Buenos Aires Tango

The Buenos Aires Tango is direct, deliberate and competitive; dancers have a reserved attitude toward relationships.  Partners are kept at arm’s length.  There is no messing about; this is a dance with an end in mind that involves two people working together but not necessarily that closely. 

 These are likely to be good at using direct questions to move towards the conclusion of the task.  This makes them great at closing the sale. 

Practice makes perfect

The chances are you will have your favourite dance.  Some will be better at all dances than others but you can learn to dance all with a bit of practice.  With all dances, you need to learn the steps, pick up the rhythm and always work together with your partners.  Even if you are the one leading the dance you still need to involve your partner to ensure you both work the floor or you may end up floored!

If you do find that you have two left feet when it comes to any one of the dances then you may just have to sit that one out and get someone else to lead that part of the sales process.  That’s ok.  Know your limitations.  Otherwise, to get good you need to practice, practice, and practice.

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