Mick Jagger gets nothing but satisfaction.
69 years old and he can still hold 75,000 people in the palm of his hands.
Yes, he’s got the reputation, the raspy rock ’n’ roll voice and one killer song after another.
But, it’s more than that.
It’s his moves.
It’s what he does with his body.
He mesmerizes, seduces, draws us in. Truth is, we go to see Mick as much as we go to hear the Rolling Stones.
We go to be dazzled. Wowed. Blown away.
Mick knows this, and uses every inch of his body to deliver. A pole dancer does the same thing. In fact, both of them can show us a thing or two about what it means to communicate.
Let’s be honest.
If pole dancers have taught us anything, it’s that there is more than one way to communicate. You can say a lot with an arching back and a well-executed pivot, the same way Jagger can speak volumes with just a chicken dance across the stage.
Of course, this isn't just a rock ’n’ roll or a night club observation. It’s a life lesson: our bodies speak a language all of their own. A smile kills. A walk intimidates. Eyes melt. Fists talk. We don’t need to say a word to get our point across.
And yet, most of us use only words to get our thoughts across. At least we think we’re only using words.
We all know the “whatever” shoulder shrug, or the “could you be more stupid” roll of the eyes, or the all too popular “I have somewhere else to be” tap of the feet.
All of these non-verbal bits of communication aren’t just for teenagers anymore.
We all do it. It’s become a universal language. And while it might seem harmless, it carries the potential to undermine how effectively we communicate, whether it’s at work or at home with our families or friends.
It’s body language that minimizes our words. It’s saying one thing and doing another.
To become a powerful rock ’n’ roll communicator, or a true pole dancing master, we need to realize that our conversations are more than just the words we use.
They’re the way we move.
The way we lure our audience in.
The way we seduce.
Put simply, we need to be aware of the message our whole body is sending. Fortunately, there’s hope for us all.
And no, we don’t have to sign up for Toastmasters or a Dale Carnegie course. All we have to do is embrace the “Mick Jagger Pole Dancing Plan” on how to master the art of non-verbal communication.
Step 1: Act Like You Want to Be There
Nobody wants to be around a pole dancer who doesn't want to be there.
There’s no halfway in pole dancing, not if you don’t want to break a leg, or even worse, leave without a tip.
It’s no different in our own day-to-day communications. Whether we’re talking to one person or a thousand, we’re either in the room and on the pole, or we’re not. There’s no in-between.
We should commit to the pole a 100% or go back to ballroom dancing where we belong.
It’s a law of the stage that we get out exactly what we put in. Act bored and you’re going to make your audience bored. Act like you have something better to do and your audience will find something better do.
And it doesn't matter what our limitations are either. We could be an aging pole dancer or an aging rock star, and we still need to completely believe we deserve to be on that stage.
Likewise, we shouldn't allow our own insecurities to get in the way of how we communicate. It doesn't matter where we are or who we’re talking to, we have to believe that we not only deserve to be in the conversation, but we will make it a better one because we’re in it.
Anyway you look at it, how we feel reveals itself in the way we move.
Think about it.
What do we do when we don’t want to be somewhere? We slump a little, watch the clock, tap our feet, purse the lips, fidget, frown, or glance away. Every muscle in our body is coming together with the same message: We have somewhere better to be.
Take it from Mick, or your favorite pole dancer—you don’t seduce someone with one eye on the clock.
If we really don’t want to be somewhere, we shouldn't be there. We should ignore the meeting, put off the conversation, delay the speech, refuse the call.
It’s better than wasting everyone’s time. And, remember, we don’t just risk losing our audience for a few minutes, we risk losing them for life.
Fans are a fickle beast.
And, of course, if we absolutely have to be there, we should at least mock up the interest. Like the “white lie,” it’s easy enough to pretend for a short period of time.
The pole dancer might want to be at home on the couch, the same way Mick might want to be at home nursing his bursitis, but for that one performance, they both know how important it is to let go and allow it to be only about the dance or the song.
If we can teach ourselves to stay in the moment with every communication we have with another individual, we’ll continuously show how much we care for and value that person.
Our eyes will soften, our posture will straighten, our demeanor will become infectious and, in the process, our audience will become more receptive to our message.
It’s what you call seduction.
Step 2: Treat Everybody As If They Matter
Sometimes we can be snobs. I’ll admit it if you will. We hold back on our best conversations and our best self for those we think have something of value to offer us.
We’re fun and light with one person, and will barely give the time of day to someone else. And, without saying a word, our snobbery clearly shows up in our conversations.
However subtle, we all know when we’re being dismissed.
Well, here’s something both Jagger and the pole dancer knows: every customer matters. Every customer is a potential tip, a concert ticket, a CD sale.
And since performers or pole dancers don’t always know who is going to end up being the biggest spender, they are wise enough to spread the love evenly.
We need to do the same in our own communications. From this moment forward, let’s treat every person we’re talking with as if they held in their hand an enormous tip for us, maybe not money, but truth, wisdom, joy, inspiration, or the potential to change our life forever.
Just imagine if we treated everyone as if they were the most important person we’re talking to that day.
Our whole body would physiologically change before our eyes.
If you don’t believe me, go ahead, take the stage and prove it to yourself.
Step 3: Create a Bond with Your Audience
Anybody can climb a pole and swivel around, the same way anyone can grab hold of a microphone and start singing.
But the best performers are those who can reach out into their audience and make a one-on-one connection.
Yes, technique and style are important, but it is the eyes that make the connection. A good pole dancer will make you feel as if the entire dance was for your benefit.
What a great lesson for us all.
As communicators, we should also realize that while our words and message are critical, it is the eyes that make the connection.
It is the eyes that create the bond which allows our audience to feel as if our “entire dance was for them.”
And make no mistake about it, eye contact isn't just a Public Speaking 101 tip, but one of the most powerful tools we have in showing our interest, care and empathy.
Our eyes are what make someone feel special, as if they matter, or even better, as if they are the only one who matters.
Who doesn't want to feel this way?
So, next time you’re speaking, whether it’s one-on-one, in a small group or to a crowd of thousands, remember, it’s not just your words that are speaking, it’s your whole body, along with every thought that’s pushing your body to move.
Be present. Mindful. Caring.
And then don’t hold back.
Swing on that pole with all the enthusiasm and joy you have.
Let your inner Jagger out.