“It Takes Two to Tango”… two people moving together to accomplish a common goal. If both try to lead… they tangle. If neither takes the lead… they tumble.

In any relationship, it takes two… each one taking turns, communicating clearly and listening completely. We create rapport. In our busy life, we try to do more in less time. On autopilot, we sacrifice connection with others in order to achieve a goal. We often worry about what is going to happen instead of noticing what IS happening, right NOW.

What if we were more present to each other? Maybe we would be more efficient, enjoy ourselves more, and create more meaningful relationships. Take a moment to read this insightful story of learning to embrace the dance… the art of letting go, the art of communicating clearly and listening completely.

Years ago, I attended a Milonga, a place where Argentine Tango is danced. Not to be confused with ballroom tango, which is a dramatic, straight-postured, somewhat jerky style of dance, Argentine tango is danced in a private embrace that is flowing and verrry sensual. I was totally hooked and started taking lessons, often three times a week.

In Argentine, the man, or leader, dances the woman. He leads every move, communicating with very subtle movements. The follower must be tuned in to “listen” or sense his moves to complete the step. It is a complete “lead and follow” dance, the ultimate in non-verbal communication.

Working hard to perfect my moves, I practiced regularly and was getting pretty good at boleos (leg wraps). One Friday night, at a Boston Milonga, an accomplished young dancer asked me to dance. I was really into my moves and felt I was doing great. At the break, he commented, “You must be an important businesswoman.” I was pleased and asked how he knew. He said, “You seem to have a hard time letting go!”

Sigh! He was right. I was doing my own thing, instead of paying attention and working with him as a team. I was focused on myself and wasn’t really listening. I needed to learn the art of letting go, of being present, of true listening.

In a great dance, we glide together efficiently. A good leader communicates clearly. They are respectful, protective, and caring of each other. If the lead’s communication is unclear, the follower misreads the lead and interrupts the flow. Confusion and mistakes happen.

In dance, it is clear who takes the lead. In life, each person must learn when to lead and when to enjoy being a follower. The follower’s skill is to pay close attention and feel the subtle movements of the lead. They strive to be completely present, sense what is communicated, and respond accordingly. If the follower is preoccupied, they disturb the flow. They must trust their partner is going to guide them, protect them, and entertain them. The follower learns to TRUST, LET GO, and LISTEN COMPLETELY.

Relate this to our relationships, both personal and professional. True partnership is based on trust, communication, & teamwork. When we play to each other’s strengths, we work together for a common goal. A good manager considers their staff. A good partner considers the person they care for.

Consider these Five Steps to Create Rapport:

  1. Smile, be genuine, and make eye contact – They will sense your sincerity.
  2. Be a clear communicator – Be respectful, solid, yet gentle. Build their trust in you.
  3. Seek first to understand – Mistakes usually happen from miscommunication.
  4. Develop active listening – Be here NOW, focused only on what is being said.
  5. Notice your words – “Us, we, and ours” are far more inclusive than “I, me, and mine.”

Be aware: 7% of communication is what you say and 93% is HOW you say it.

The best relationships flow together as a team. We are in RAPPORT. Rapport is that sense of trust, connection, and likability that one feels toward another. When rapport is broken or lost, good intentions no longer matter. Every person wants their basic human needs met – To Live, Love, and Belong. When we give people our attention, respect, and understanding, they feel like someone “gets” them.

As we focus on each other and work as a team, issues go away. We communicate what we feel inside. If we are preoccupied, threatened, or worried, we project what we feel. If we are tense, others feel it. If we are relaxed, open, and curious, they feel it and respond accordingly. When others are under stress, we can put them at ease by being at ease. When we focus on them, they feel heard, they feel safe.

Be present and connected. Good communicators are solid, assertive, and clear. Good listeners develop confidence and the skill of letting go. Together we enjoy learning about each other. Relationships become interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful. To achieve the best outcomes most effectively, be completely present to each other, physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Lois Hermann

“People may not remember what you said. They WILL remember how you made them feel.”