June 16, 2011

How is a speaker like a songwriter?

This week I watched the new show "Platinum Hit," a competition for songwriters.

As these songwriters labored to create winning hooks and songs, based on themes given by the judges (this week: road songs), I saw some of the same issues that speakers experience in creating a "hit" presentation.

Songwriters and speakers want to make an emotional connection with the audience.

Songwriters and speakers want to use language in a compelling and catchy way.

Songwriters and speakers want to use structure, rhythm and flow to keep the audience's attention.

Songwriters and speakers want to share a message.

Songwriters and speakers want to tell stories.

Songwriters and speakers want to demonstrate imagination and creativity.

Songwriters and speakers want to be memorable.

Songwriters and speakers want to communicate their truth and their authentic voice.

And speaking of truth, one of the judges, songwriter Kara DioGuardi, had this message for one of the contestants:

"Say your truth, yes, but make it interesting. Make it something that no one else has ever said."

Of all the struggles a writer, performer, singer, artist or speaker faces during the creative process, finding a new way to say what's already been said is possibly the hardest, but most critical, endeavor.

But by searching your own perspective, your own story, your own experience and -- yes -- your own truth, you will find way to express your ideas that's rich, meaningful and solely your own. Your own unique spin on a universal message is what makes for a hit presentation.

What's the hardest part of the creative process for you? Please share in the comments!

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