This year, I've got back into swing dancing, and my rusty chops are gettin' shiny and back in their groove. Most of the folks here are Lindy Hoppers, which is an eight-count swing I'm not all that used to--I do mostly East Coast and West Coast swing, even some Jive when I was competing.
But I digress. As I've been going out and straining to remember steps, flow, posture, etc., I recall how much dancing is a risk: you have to be willing to look like an idiot for a long time in order to dance well. No ifs, ands or buts. You will look like a dork on the dance floor, over and over again, before you become a decent dancer. Hell, you'll probably look like a dork on the dance floor repeatedly after you become a good dancer, too! (Ask me about the header I took into the floor once during a Viennese waltz!)
That being said, a few things I learned from my first dance instructor also have put me in good stead in the marketing world:
- Dance with everyone who asks you (at least once). Marketing is an art, not a science. You have to try something to see if it will work. Go out there and be willing to look like a dork; you can always choose not to pursue it if it doesn't work for you.
- Never sit out a dance. Try the new media options. Just try them. Dip your toes into blogging or podcasting, even if it's only listening to other people's podcasts and blogs. The dance is going on without you, my friends, and there's no need to sit on the sidelines.
- Ask the old guy to dance. Don't let the osteroporosis fool you--that guy can probably really cut a rug. Sometimes the option that doesn't look like what you need will actually end up being the best strategy for you. Ditch your preconceived ideas and keep an open mind and be willing to try new (and old) things out to see what works best for you.
- Thank every partner, even the crappy clueless ones. They gave you their time and their best effort; even if the effort was awkward and unproductive, be gracious and understand that one more "no, I don't think so" will get you that much closer to the strategies that will work for you.