Friday, March 22, 2013

Communicating Opera Style

Here is a blog post I wrote for the blog at my workplace.  Enjoy!

Whether you enjoy going to the opera or not, this medium can teach us about communication. Message, message, message, drama!

I am a big fan of the Metropolitan Opera HD Live series. I recently attended Berlioz's five and a half hour Les Troyens with my seven- year old daughter and my 72-year old mother. Three generations brought together by music.

I can hardly believe that I get to see these spectacular shows, right here in Ottawa, at my local movie theatre. For $25 I get front row seats, hear backstage interviews with the singers, directors and stage designers, and I eat popcorn. The same seat if I were in person at the Met in New York would cost me $340. No popcorn either (though I suppose I could smuggle in a hot, soft pretzel).

So what have I learned from the opera about great communications?

1.Keep your message simple

Operas know to stick to timeless themes: love, betrayal, revenge, fate. Even when the plot is terribly complicated, the message is simple.

2.Repeat your message

Yes, they repeat themselves in opera. Don't we all? Isn't that the way we get a message to stick?

3. Backup your message

In opera they use a chorus. It can be on-stage or off-stage, large or small. A good chorus doesn't stand on its own, it supports the lead voice.

You probably don't have access to your own personal chorus, but you might get your backup from a supportive stakeholder or some strong statistics.

4.A little drama never hurts

Sets, costumes, make-up, lighting, entrances and exits: everything counts. Under the right circumstances, over-the-top is the way to go. Or maybe you want to shake things up with a modern take on an old favourite. Sometimes, small and simple has the biggest impact of all.

Join me at the opera soon. You won't regret it.


1 comment:

  1. You have me hooked. Where and when do I meet you next. Or better yet do you moon light? I think my business needs your communication savvy.