Congratulations to Laura Sessions Stepp for her thought-provoking Genderations column in today’s Washington Post entitled Two Types of Dirty Dancing.

She discusses how difficult it is to “police” freak dancing and that parents and educators are often in an uproar about this issue of teen-agers grinding – which as Laura describes is “a lot more than shaking booty.”

When researching POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd, I discovered a perfect slogan that helped parents and teens come to an agreement about this controversial issue.

In the book’s section on the importance of “Cliff Noting” your idea or issue into an easy-to-say-and-remember phrase so people “get” it, I used the examples of “Click it or Ticket,” “Spot the Tot,” and the example a prom chaperone told me about that helped them decide to go ahead with their prom rather than cancel it.

Her daughter’s school had considered banning the senior prom because the adults were scandalized by “rampant grinding and freak dancing” and didn’t want it happening at this school-sponsored event. An enterprising counselor came up with a “rap” that outlined the boundaries of what type of dancing would be allowed. What was the little ditty that brought peace to this controversial issue?

Face to face, leave some space.”

That was it. Six words and the chaperones had something “hip” to say that clearly enforced the policy with no “wiggle room” (so to speak). The fact that the rule was placed in a rap helped make it acceptable to the teens. The prom was held and a good (appropriate) time was had by all.

Comedian Steven Wright said, “My grandfather invented Cliff Notes. It was in 1952 and he . . . well, to make a long story short.”

If you want people to “get” your idea or issue, you need to make your long story short. Condense a controversial or complex issue into a concise sound bite that rhymes or that’s alliterative, and people will be able to instantly grasp it. That’s the power of POP!

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