The leader's lyrics
Have you ever been driving down the road and found yourself singing along with the tune on the radio? I often do. Fortunately for those I travel with, I usually reserve that routine for the times when I am alone in the car.
It is on these occasions that I wonder, how many times I may have heard the song before I memorized the words and could sing them with enthusiasm and passion, mimicking (albeit poorly) the artist?
I suppose the first few times I heard the song, I didn’t even hear it on a conscious level. Sometime later, perhaps when my mind was clear, void of distractions and generally at peace, I allowed the song to reach my conscious mind. Then, I made a decision about how I felt about the song. Probably lukewarm at first (knowing that new things often hit me off balance). After hearing the song a few more times, I begin to like it. The rhythm begins to move me. The chorus is becoming familiar. And before I know it, I can sing along. However, without the music on the radio to accompany me, I probably can’t remember many of the words, except perhaps the general theme of the song, how I feel about it, and the artist’s name.
Therein lies some great insight for leaders.
We carefully craft our messages, giving a great deal of thought to how our audience will receive our important message, only to have most of them remember very little if any of our words, much like the first time we hear a new song.
So how do we make sure others leave our presentations singing our song? Especially when the lyrics are completely new?
For starters, we should think about the mood they are in when they listen to our message. Is there anything we can do to create a mental state in our listeners that primes them for our message? As we prepare our talk, we can learn from the great songwriters, to develop a catchy chorus, and use it frequently throughout the presentation.
How many times did I need to hear the song before I could recite the lyrics? My best estimate is three times and I knew the chorus (of course, I had heard the chorus three to four times in each listening).
I wonder how many times I heard the song before I was even conscious that I had heard the song? An interesting question and food for thought for leaders.