Tell Me A Story

This TunesDay, I’m not really going to focus on any one song but on a number of them that make a great business point. If I were to ask you about “The River” (Bruce), “Cats In The Cradle” (Harry Chapin), “The Edmund Fitzgerald” (Gordon Lightfoot) or “Tangled Up In Blue” (Dylan), assuming you were familiar with them, you’d answer with two points. First, don’t I know any music from this century (I do!) and second, each of those songs tells a great story.  The list could go on and on and I’m sure you can add 5 or 6 of your favorite musical stories to the list.

The best of this genre actually give the listener a double benefit.  First, great music.  It may be an unexpected chord twist or an unusual arrangement but they’re out of the ordinary and immediately recognizable.  Second, the story.  Imagine if the obsessed fan in Eminem‘s “Stan” was the fan in the movie “Misery”.  The latter took an hour and a half to say what Slim does in 6 minutes yet the story is just as compelling.

That’s what we need to do as business people.  We need to tell stories that compel people to listen and do so in such a way that they leave us singing them again in their heads.  Listen to Dylan:

I’ve taken the most stripped-down version of this I could find and yet the love song sung by a troubled man is clear.  That’s how our messages need to stand out.  Connecting with people on an emotional level is far more effective than a bunch of statistics.  Take a good look at some Powerpoint you’re currently using.  Does it tell a memorable, coherent story or does it lay out a bunch of statistics?  Does it sing about solving problems or is it just more blah-blah-blah?

Figure out the story you want to tell then write a memorable tune to carry it forth.  Got it?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Music

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