Demise of the Slow Dance - Speaker | Mentor | Pádraic O'Maille | The Disciplines of Successs | Ireland

Reilly was unequivocal that the single greatest loss of the twentieth century was the demise of the slow dance. It was as significant as the loss of the corn crake, the Nokia mobile phone and Harp lager. And he for one, was grateful he’d lived at a time when all three had flourished. 

He blamed it all on GDPR. When you were slow dancing there was no such thing as data protection. Your personality and communication style were as obvious as the nose on your face. 

Reilly learned all he knew about psychology through many years of research on dance floors and discos throughout the country and beyond. Here is an executive summary of his key findings.

  1. Communications skills are the number one critical success factor in determining and predicting successful outcomes on a dance floor. They are superior to good looks, tight jeans, social status or even financial largesse. And the good news is that consummate communication skills can be learned and acquired.
  1. He discovered early in his research that not everyone has the same personality type. After years of analysis he concluded there are four, and only four, personality types on a dance floor at any given time, in any given location in the world. He classified these into Redheads; Blondes; Blueheads; and Greenheads. 
  1. A breakthrough in his research occurred in Conamara one night when a feisty girl at a ceilí intimated to him that ‘aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile.’ Literally translated it means that one beetle recognises another beetle. Psychologically speaking however, it means that similar personality types attract and like similar personality types. Reilly instantly saw the diamond in the dust and postulated that if you could find a method of identifying the personality of the person you were slow dancing with and then matched that with similar personality traits you’d be in business. 
  1. Over the years he developed detailed profile types for each of the colours: – dominant characteristics; likes; dislikes; fears; motivations; and crucially how to connect with them deeply in the duration of a slow dance. An outline summary of the principle traits of each of the colours are.
  1. Redheads are single-minded; fast paced; like to win; born achievers; goal-oriented. Their dominant need is to be in control. As such they can be perceived by others as being impatient; dictatorial; pushy; and uncaring. In a slow dance get to the point fast; avoid small talk or certainly anything of an emotional nature; and spell out, preferably in bullet point fashion, the bottom line results of a successful slow dance.
  1. Blondes are enthusiastic; energetic; extrovert; persuasive; rely on their personal charm to win; and are eternal optimists. Their dominant need is to be recognised. As such they can be perceived as disorganised; losing interest rapidly; lacking follow through; exhibitionists; and dramatic. On a dance floor praise them; compliment them; flatter them; ask them about their visions and dreams; and ask for their help.
  1. Blueheads are caring; nurturing; supportive; great team players; persistent; loyal; great on follow through. Their dominant need is stability. Others may perceive them as indecisive; submissive; risk averse; overly emotional; slow paced; and resistant to change. On a dance floor show genuine interest; make them feel important; listen and interact; provide detailed explanations; express emotions; give them time.
  1. Greenheads are meticulous; cautious; deliberate; sceptical; analytical; thrive on loads of information and data. They make for excellent problem solvers, researchers and analysts. Their dominant need is accuracy. Others may perceive them as perfectionists; nit-pickers; indecisive; slow to respond; withdrawn. On a dance floor go into great detail with them; talk quietly and gently; avoid any and all displays of emotion; focus on facts. Greenheads love guarantees. 


  • It’s estimated we spend seven out of every ten waking minutes communicating. You’d think we’d be great at it but the evidence points otherwise. Somewhere in the world today a surgeon will make a fatal error; a once loving relationship will split up irretrievably; and someone who deserves to get a job will not because they interview poorly. Poor communications is at the heart of each of these issues.
  • Challenges arise in business and organisations when people
  • Think differently.
  • Make decisions differently.
  • Communicate differently.
  • Handle emotions differently.
  • And yet there are people we get on swimmingly with. People who:-
  • Value you and like you.
  • Make allowances for you.
  • Focus on your strengths.
  • Willingly assist you.
  • Make themselves available for you.
  • Identifying your colour type, and modifying and adapting your style to match that of the person or people you are communicating with should be the first induction exercise for everyone in their chosen career and profession. It should be taught to every school child in the world who has to communicate with teachers and other students.
  • The dance floor and slow dance are metaphors for our life and how we live it. Interestingly, the events of the Pandemic over the past few weeks have had a seismic impact on the way we live our lives. Understanding your colour type and it’s implications has never been as important. To do this in more detail go to and take a free diagnostic to evaluate your colour.


‘Bad communication is at the root of every badly managed crisis, every unmet challenge, every corporate failure, every accident, every failed relationship.’

Terry Prone. ‘Talk the Talk.’


  1. What is your dominant communication style?
  2. What are those of your team?
  3. What are those of your customers?
  4. What are those of your family?

(My thanks to a lovely American gentleman, James Knight, who first shared this wonderful technology of communication with me many years ago. It has singularly been one of the most useful management interventions I’ve had the pleasure of using.)