We all have our favourites: those unforgettable songs that move us and lodge themselves deep in our hearts and minds.
Great songs are born from the partnership between melody and lyrics.
But there is a good reason why songwriters dedicate so much time to crafting the words that connect with their fans. While a catchy tune will take you far, solid lyrics are essential if you are aiming for greatness.
So, what can we learn from the art of songwriting about crafting messages that connect and inspire, that invite our teams to sing the chorus at the top of their voices?
Here are four elements to keep in mind as you prepare your next communication message, whether it be for a town hall, a team meeting or a video.
Great songs are based on a clear idea
They know what they want to say to you.
Songs with vague ideas and rambling thoughts hardly ever change the world. But those that convey a clear idea people can relate to, have a better chance at repeat plays.
Knowing what you want to say and why you want to say it is the first step in crafting a powerful message. If you want to have an impact, you need to be clear on your big idea before you can convince others of its merit.
But, the truly gifted songwriter not only has a clarity of idea, they also have a deep understanding of their audience and how their idea connects to what their audience feels and needs.
Great songs have structure
There are many ways to structure a song, but in its most basic form songs have an intro, verses, a bridge and a chorus. Each basic element plays a part.
The intro sets the scene and attracts the audience’s interest. The verses are where we get down to telling the song’s story sequentially, while the bridge indicates a turning point. These elements all build to the chorus, the climax of the song and a summary of its main idea.
A well-structured message makes it easier for people to follow you and brings emphasis to the points you really want others to pay attention to.
Great songs tap into the power of ‘the hook’
The hook is one of the most powerful elements of a great song. It is that attention-grabbing, repeatable and memorable line in the chorus that brings it all together. The hook calls you to action or captures the absolute essence of the song’s idea.
As you plan your message, take time to work on your hook; that killer line that will resonate with your team and stick with them long after your message was delivered.
Simple and relatable language
Great songs have lyrics that are easy to remember, with simple and relatable language. Great songs don’t ramble on in jargon and mostly you don’t need to consult a dictionary to understand why the lyrics speak to you.
Don’t over-complicate your message. Make it easy for your audience to understand what you are saying and to connect with your idea. If you plan on using a metaphor to illustrate a point; keep it simple and resist the temptation of making that metaphor the hero of your song.
Great songs deserve our best efforts
Achieving simplicity and clarity takes effort, but it’s well worth it if you’re aiming for impact.
Taking time to prepare and plan your communication properly will significantly improve your chances of success.
But great songs also deserve and demand great delivery.
If there is anything that can break the potential of a song, it is an insincere and mechanical delivery that disrespects its audience. Being authentic in both your message and its delivery will make your big idea more believable, help people connect to you personally and encourage them to join you in singing your song.