Why Millennials Who Want to Improve Professionally Should Take Dance Lessons

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It is predicted that millennials will make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025, and that’s good news for everyone. Well-educated, passionate, and forward-thinking, millennials bring a new kind of spirit into the workplace. However, they may find themselves at odds with their boomer and Gen. X coworkers.

Believe it or not, millennials can dramatically increase their professional success by applying principles from the dance world to their business lives, which is why I advise people to take dance lessons if they want to advance in their careers!

Aside from the obvious fitness-related benefits, ballroom dance lessons can enhance millennials’ communication dynamics. In the dance world, millennials can learn how to better relate to others and how to succeed in the workplace (and life) through profound connection and teamwork.

Still not sold on dance as a professional development opportunity? Here are four tips from the dance floor that will help millennials get into the rhythm of career success:

1. Let Go

Many millennials seek control over everything – their finances, their careers, their social lives, etc. Unfortunately, this need for control can limit a person’s ability to work in a team.

Partner dancing helps people let go of the need for constant control. When the ego is removed from the present moment, creativity, innovation, teamwork, and true freedom result.

2. Adjust to New Steps

Millennials have had access to an unprecedented number of educational opportunities. Knowledge is power, but the abundance of education can also invite the danger of complacency that comes with feeling like you know all there is to know.

Intelligence comprises many aspects, including perspective (i.e., how we evaluate information based on our past experiences) and perception (i.e., how we apply this information going forward). Learning new dance routines challenges you to recognize new patterns, and in business, growth often comes from learning to connect the dots in new, innovative ways.

3. Express Yourself Through Choreography

Growing up in social-media saturated times, millennials often rely heavily on visual techniques to communicate. Unfortunately, this new way of communicating can make cross-generational understanding difficult.

Choreography can teach people how to establish emotional connections even across seemingly large gaps in understanding. Choreography helps dancers ensure their movements are all geared toward effectively connecting with an audience – a principle that professionals, especially those in the world of marketing, could really use.

4. Ask for Scores

Millennials like to receive frequent feedback, and they’re very good at using this feedback to improve their performance. When millennials enter the workforce, they are often surprised and disappointed to learn that feedback rarely occurs outside of cursory annual performance reviews.

On the flip side, many managers falsely believe that millennials cannot take criticism. They think this generation received too much positive feedback in its youth.

In the dance world, you receive criticism from your coaches and judges. This criticism is always aimed at helping you improve your techniques and routines. Scoring, a type of feedback, is built into almost all practices and competitions. The majority of dancers are more engaged and motivated as a result of this abundance of feedback.

Millennials should speak up and request more frequent feedback from coworkers and managers. Contrary to popular belief, millennials would rather have (productively) critical feedback than no feedback at all!

Valeh Nazemoff is the best-selling author of The Four Intelligence of the Business Mind and The Dance of the Business Mind, executive vice president and co-owner of the high-level data management and business performance consulting services firm Acolyst, and a leadership coach. 

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Valeh Nazemoff is the best-selling author of "The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind" and "The Dance of the Business Mind"; a leadership coach; and the executive vice president and co-owner of Acolyst, a high-level data management and business performance consulting services firm. Through Acolyst, Nazemoff has worked with the United States Postal Service (USPS), Social Security Administration (SSA), and, currently, The White House, Executive Office of the President. Nazemoff's other clients have included Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Toyota, Yum! Brands, and many other Fortune 5000 companies. Nazemoff regularly contributes to Huffington Post and to CIO.com through her blog series, "The Mindful CIO."