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You Decide! What’s your favorite of these Dance Floor Theory Tips?


Whether or not you know everything about Dance Floor Theory, these tips might come in handy in your life as a leader, college and beyond. We picked a couple of our favorites below and are asking YOU which you find the most helpful.

Want to see the whole album of Dance Floor Theory tips? 

Like our page and keep checking back as our awesome artist Lia Rothschild re-designs each one along the list.

In Depth with DFT Tip #10: Marketing to those who don’t care

dance floor theory

We posted this tip, awesome artwork done by Lia Rothschild, last week and it sparked a little conversation.

Our good friend and avid Swift Kick follower, Amera, commented and asked, “But how you market?” She was wondering if maybe we meant ‘quality over quantity.’ She’s right to an extent. But then Tom commented and went deeper into the meaning. Check out what he said:

The 60-84% of “meh” students on your campus don’t see your marketing regardless. So step 1 is to get them to pay attention..then you can market…but even then, the person you dragged you to the center of the dance floor was your best friend…same is true for events, get out there and build relationships and then verbally tell them to show up to the events.

The truth is, “meh students” or students who aren’t super interested in getting involved, aren’t going to look at the posters hanging in the student center. Why would they? To truly get a student from “meh to hmmmm,” you need to bring the message TO them and make it personal. Getting to know a student first and striking up a recurring conversation will cause them to trust your judgement and feel invested in what you want to get them involved in. They know you care about THEM and not just the number of heads at your event.

Wouldn’t you be more likely to go to an event your friend is hosting, rather than just a random one you saw posted on a wall?

Be Kind: Random Acts of Kindness Day Over at Student Leader Collective

The Student Leader Collective is a community of ours that we are very proud of. If you’re a student leader, you need to check it out!

On Monday, April 7, SLC will be hosting Random Acts of Kindness Day, aka #RAK14. Just like we did #FreeHugs last year, you can pledge to do random acts of kindness for that day, and then tweet at @SLcollective with the hashtag #RAK14 on the day to show us what awesome things you are doing to make other people’s day. Then, send in your number of RAKs through text or email so we can see just how loved the world was that day. :) Want to pledge? Click the image below!

random acts of kindness

What It’s Like to Be in a Dance Floor Theory – Awesome Video

Baldwin Wallace sent us this epic video they put together of Tom and his Dance Floor Theory program this year, set to the tune of “Take a Walk,” a fun song that captures the carefree spirit of the programs.  Check it out:

Here in the office, we got goosebumps watching the interactions between students, the pure joy and love in the Free Hugs, and the genuine laughter. We know that these amazing student leaders are going to go on and make their campus even more fun and fulfilling for all members of the college community.

dance floor theory

Where’s Waldo? More like where’s Tom?

We want to shout out and say thanks to the amazing people at Baldwin Wallace. Thanks for an awesome program!

Student Leader Spotlight: Jeany Melendez Santiago, JCC ’14

jeany mlendez santiago

School and Year: Jamestown Community College, ’14

Major: Liberal Arts: Social Sciences with a concentration in Political Science

Leadership position: Student Senator (Public Relations Chair), Student Ambassador, Peer2Peer Mentor, and Student Blogger

How do you define leadership? 

I define leadership as taking the initiative to lead, inspire, and motivate peers, family, and other members of the community to reach and exceed their own goals.

What first inspired you to be a student leader?

What inspired me to become a student leader was the passion I have for helping, inspiring, and motivating others to accomplish greater and bigger things in life. For example, as a student senator, I serve as a representative of the student body at JCC. As a Senator, I have the opportunity to assist them in whatever is that they might need to be successful at JCC, address any concerns the student body may have and find a solution to it, as well as helping our community through fundraisers, food and blood drives, and many others. On the other hand, my Peer-2-Peer mentor and Student Ambassador positions are a more individualized approach of helping students. The main goal for both of these positions is to encourage and motivate students to obtain a college education, to be a helping hand when they need one, to provide them with key information that will help them be successful in both college and personal life, and others. Last but not least, as a student blogger, I share my story as a student leader with the sole purpose to explain to students the advantages that being a leader has, the great impact you can make in, not only your school but, your community, and motivate them into becoming our future student leaders.

What is one experience (any kind) you think everyone should have?

I believe everyone should take the opportunity to experience being involved at their campus. Being involved means developing new friendships and partnerships, developing new skills (both professional and leadership skills), finding what you are most passionate about and, perhaps, this can lead you to the career path of your interest, and many others. Being involved and being student leaders is an experience that is rewarding to all in every aspect.

What was your number one take-away from DFT?

The one main thing I took away from DFT is the fact that it only takes one person to impact and make a difference in someone else’s life. If we (student leaders and college/university) want students to be more involved, we must create awareness of the opportunities they can take advantage of. That is where the “Dance Floor Theory” comes into place.
As Tom explained, there are five types of people in the dance floor ranging from the shy person in the back against the wall to the outgoing person in the center of the dance floor. The person in the center represents anyone who is involved on campus; however, the person against the wall represents those students who do not know what to do or that do not know how to get involved.
Ultimately, the entire point of this theory is that we must come up with creative ways (such as event fillers) in order to attract students to events and clubs on campus. And, even if we do not get that one person to get involved, we must keep in mind that we made them think and consider the possibility of being involved. The intention of going out to there and interact with the student body, and tell them about the opportunities they can get by being involved through activities such as event fillers prior to a specific event on campus, can make a difference in a student’s decision.

What is your go-to happy song?

My go-to happy song varies from day to day due to the simple fact that I cannot like just one song. Because of the fact I love music, I have many go-to happy songs. However, one of my current go-to happy song is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Even though is a bit too cheesy for my taste, I still think is a song that can cheer anyone up with its beat. :)


Student Leader Spotlight: Gerardo Barraza, UTEP ’16


School and Year: University of Texas at El Paso, ’16

Major: Computer Science

Leadership position: Treasurer of National Society of Leadership and Success

How do you define leadership? 

Leadership is being able to motivate and inspire others to give the best version of themselves and present it to the world. Leadership is having the ability to guide others and keep up that drive that makes things happen with the help of other people. It is not so much about one person leading others around, but about many people motivating each other to better themselves and each person taking on the leadership mentality to really make a difference.

When things in your leadership position get particularly stressful, what helps you through it?

I’ve learned many things being in the National Society of Leadership and Success, and one of the things I learned that has helped me become better at my leadership position is how to approach and handle particularly stressful situations. I learned I can do one of three things to get through it. I can pick my battles and become accepting of results I wasn’t really hoping for; I can try to compromise and chose another alternative; or I can take action and approach the problem head on to really make a difference and make a change. Whatever path I take, I keep in mind that ultimately, handling that stressful situation is what is best for my organization as a whole.

What is one experience (any kind) you think everyone should have?

I think everybody should get themselves out there, whether it be on campus or outside of campus, and join organizations and meet new people to enrich their college and life experience. But I also believe that everybody needs time to relax and think. I love going hiking, and for me, nothing is better than climbing to the top of a tall mountain and take a few minutes to think and reflect about anything I want to. Plus, it is extremely beautiful. I think everybody should experience that.

What was your number one take-away from DFT?

Number one?? More like NUMBER 5 !! I loved the way Tom explained his dance floor theory and what I got out of it was that it is key to get more involved in anything that I do in my life. From now on, I think I will always strive to get my 5 on anywhere I go!

What is your go-to happy song?

Oh gosh haha. Well I love music, and I’m constantly changing on what my favorite song is, or in this case, what my go-to happy song is. And currently I would have to say that Pharrell’s “Happy” is a pretty good choice for a go-to happy song. Pharrell is a music genius and his music speaks for itself.


Student Leader Spotlight: James Snider, Jamestown Community College ’14


School and Year: JCC ’14

Major: History

Leadership position: Campus Activities Board, Student Senator, Hall Council President

How do you define leadership? 

Leadership in my opinion is the ability to make others believe in themselves and encourages them to become leaders in their own right.

What first inspired you to become a student leader/get your current position?

My first semester I was a hermit that did nothing else except go to class and return to my dorm. In my second semester I was sick of that so I saw there was a position open in Student Senate so I went for it. After an interview I was appointed a senator and I haven’t regretted it one bit.The reason I chose Student Senate was that I wanted to do something to help my fellow students and it gave me some power to affect change on the campus I love.

What is one experience (any kind) you think everyone should have?

I think one experience everyone should do is travel. I been to Greece, Italy, France, and just recently Belgium. It is a great way to discover more about the world and yourself.

What was your number one take-away from DFT?

Getting students involved more on campus.

What is your go-to happy song?

Wake Me Up – Avicii

I chose it because there is always a light at the end just push through and you will find it.

Student Leader Spotlight: Ginaelisa Cortez, University of Texas at El Paso ’14


School and Year: UTEP ’14

Major: Psychology

Leadership position: Student Assistant in the Office of Student Life, American Cancer Society Relay For Life Chairperson

How do you define leadership? 

This is such a hard question to answer! Of course I can easily rattle off that leadership is about team work, and creativity, etc. but in my mind, leadership is entirely situation dependent. When you’re in school, at any level, leadership is understanding how to balance your duty of being a learner with everything else in life and that includes working well with your peers. In the nonprofit world, I’ve learned that leadership is about getting the job done and not being terrified to ask for help, funding, and more time. So I guess in a broader sense, my perspective on leadership has a lot to do with adaptability and learning from experience.

What things in your leadership position get particularly stressful, what helps you through it?

When things get hectic the first thing I do is sit down and make a new list. I have a multiple notebooks (for my personal affairs, for work, for school, and for the work I do with the American Cancer Society), more post-it notes than I will ever need, and a task list on my smartphone that keep me sane. Even if I don’t look at a list again, the physical act of writing things down creates another connection in my brain that helps me remember all I’ve got on my plate. When my OCD list making doesn’t do the trick, I just try to remember why I signed on the first place. Keeping my mission in mind helps me see the forest through the trees.

What is one experience (any kind) you think everyone should have?

I know it’s cliche but everyone should travel as much as possible! I have been incredibly lucky to have explored much of the East Coast and Texas during my undergraduate career and it is totally worth the exhaustion from the red eye flights home before class. I think it’s especially important to travel alone. Managing your luggage while figuring out whether your delayed flight is going to make you miss your connecting flight is a stressful situation that requires you to make quick decisions, be proactive, and learn to let go of things that are outside your control.

What was your number one take-away from DFT?

That it is all, unfortunately, not about me. I am the type of person who tries to do everything and that is making me the gate keeper of engagement. It is time for me to start connecting my networks so that everyone can get in on the dance and have a good time!

What is your go-to happy song?

I am a little obsessed with the soundtrack from the TV show SMASH at the moment. I love all the music from both seasons but “Broadway Here I Come” is stuck on repeat. It’s about taking leap of faith and possibilities to come. I love trying new things and thrive on change, so those themes really resonates with me. I sing it in my car at the top of my lungs like it’s my own personal anthem!

Counterintuitive Dance Floor Theory Tip?

Hi Swift Kickers! You might read this DFT tip and think: “But I am a FIVE! I am in the middle of the dance floor, a real student leader, starting my own parade! Someone’s gotta!”

Sabina here, Community Manager at Swift Kick, and I have to admit, I thought something similar at first. Here’s how I figured this one out:

Another one of our DFT tips is that events are not about you: make the connection between two people and get out of the way. 

See, it isn’t about you doing crazy awesome big things all the time, though you definitely should do that. Sometimes, being a student leader is about supporting other budding student leaders. Think of it this way, one of your duties as a well known leader is to help other students make their own waves.

So next time you want to do something big, but don’t have an idea, go help make someone else’s parade the best one in town!

Want to see all our Dance Floor Theory Tips? 

The Ideal Ice Breakers for New Members

No, not that kind! [Image from Hersheys.com]
Last night I was facilitating a meeting for a group of business owners who recently joined an entrepreneur’s organization here in NYC. Since they were all new members, we did several activities to connect them together and find common bonds because, as we say in Dance Floor Theory, the more relationships there are on a dance floor, the more engaging the dance. Here’s an outline of the two activities we did:
If You Knew This About Me
Set a timer to 10 minutes and keep going around the table having each person share something about themselves that helps the group better understand who they are. Label each round as being Surface Level, Medium Level and Deep Level to push people to share at a deeper level each round.
The Three Influencers
Have each person write down three people who have had the biggest influence on their life and why. Then go around the table and have each person share for a few minutes.

While there are thousands of ice breaking activities one could do, I particularly like these two activities because they push people to share a lot of values and facts about themselves for others to pick up on and relate to. The more connections I can make between the members, the stronger the bonds are going to be and ultimately the chance of each person coming back for the second meeting will be higher.

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