It Don’t Come Easy (Issue 589)

In which we are reminded to persevere and practice when changing or adding something significant and new to our sales patterns.

Going to sales training any time soon?

A few weeks ago, I went to Nebraska for a family wedding ceremony and reunion with the reception and party in the Historic Morton Barns, now converted for social and education purposes.

The wedding invitation indicated that the post-ceremony party would be “barn formal,”  that line-dancing would be a central part of the evening,  and that there would be a dancing lesson three hours prior to the wedding for guests who don’t get out or dance much.

Fifty other guests and I showed up for the lesson:

The Electric Slide is four steps to the right. four steps to the left, three steps and a touch back, a forward-touch, a back-touch, a scuff kick, and quarter turn left.  18 counts. Have you got that?  I knew we were in trouble when we assembled guests asked for repeated demonstrations and practices of the first eight counts of the dance.

Bumping into each other, the barn walls,  and anything not pulled safely away, we practiced S L O W L Y  …  one-two-three-clap, four-five-six-clap, back-back-back-clap, forward-touch, back-touch, forward-scuff, one…  to the shouted counts of our four instructors (who, after about 15 minutes, knew THEY  were in trouble – we were rank beginners and the bride was expecting us to look sharp on the dance floor… at full speed…in four hours…without our instructors).

More repetitions, more again,  then up to tempo with music.

Barn chaos. We couldn’t hear our instructors’ counts, we couldn’t see them well, our brains CRAZED to remember  how many steps back, how many counts forward, when to scuff and turn, and dance 18 count line dance steps to 16 count line dance music (Why do people design dances that don’t match the music? That’s just WEIRD!!!).

During the reception, several iced teas into the evening, at 120 beats per minute, shoulder to shoulder with 100 other guests, we danced.  I double – shuffle – skip-stepped  through it, my 16 count brain and body  somehow lost in an18 step dance.  By the end of the first song, I couldn’t remember anything past the first eight steps. If it hadn’t been for party momentum and family connections, I’d have given it up after my third lurch into the enormous guy dancing next to me.

Returned home, incredulous, reflecting on my performance, I stayed late at the office my first night back, pushed back the conference table,  closed the shades,  and practiced to the instructions of an on-line video lesson. I wore out the song,  “Achy Breaky Heart.”   After a half hour, I stopped counting, let go of my insistence on 16 counts, and just put steps to music.  Voila!    The EEE-Lectric Slide.

When we get to sales training, it’s likely the first several role plays won’t go well.

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