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Transform complex ideas into masterpieces—on stage and off

Have you ever faced a task so complex you had no idea where to start, let alone how you were going to finish it? When I first started down the path of becoming an opera singer, I was deeply concerned about how the heck I was going to memorize four hours of text in another language, set to complicated music that I would need to deliver with artful precision and flawless technique, on a stage in front of thousands, oh, and in perfect step with a 50-piece orchestra.

Eventually, I realized that opera wasn’t the only path forward for me, and I fell in love with business, the strategies of development and marketing specifically. I have found so many similarities between the world of opera and business it’s quite entertaining. But the most valuable comparison for me is how I can take very complex projects and turn them into masterpieces.

Remarkably, if broken down into two steps, it is simple. These steps translate to almost any complex problem you may face—from learning an opera role to translating pages of technical jargon into digestible, beautiful marketing materials. You just need to break down the immensely complicated and foreign, sometimes literally, task into bite-size chunks that make it all tangible.

Step 1: Understand the problem

To know where you are going, you need to understand where you’ve been. This applies to solving problems as well! In the opera world these steps look like this:

  • Briefly research historical context of the opera and composer to understand the perspective of this story

  • Read through the text (translation) with no objective other than to simply understand the story

  • Read through again, this time with your character in mind, to find where the nuance of the historical context fits into your character’s role and how it impacts the story

How do those steps relate to B2B marketing? I found that if I do not have a good understanding of where the project is coming from, it is impossible to deliver a high-quality final result. So I started asking myself these questions before every project—whether it’s creating a marketing pitch deck, learning to code a website, or developing a business plan:

  • Why, why, why? Why is this asset needed, why now, why by this person, why in this format, etc. The greater “why” context should inform every nuance of your objective. If you don’t understand the “why,” how can you expect anyone else to?

  • Read through source materials without any objective. When we read through anything with a filter, we will inevitably miss details that could be vital. This is an important step to take and is the most often skipped. However, if you skip this step, you will almost certainly miss something.

  • Read through the source material again with your “why” in mind. Once you have the first two questions answered, this last step will almost always show you a clear path to the finish line.

Step 2: Dive into the details

The devil is in the details, right? Let’s break these details down and make them work for us! In the opera world, it looks like this:

  • Learn the text, then the notes—you need to know how to tell the story before you can artfully emphasize each point

  • Bring the story alive through the tools of music—dynamics, style, diction, technique

This step is quite simple, but extremely effective! Create a wireframe of your idea, concept, or final product using the information you learned in Step 1. What are the essential elements of your story? Plot them out on a piece of paper or PowerPoint. Then, once you feel confident your story arc lines up with what you want to accomplish, bring it to life through language. Writing can be done in so many styles, tones, and formats. Choose the path that delivers your story the truest. Now go execute!

At Audienz, we know that storytelling is crucial in every aspect of business. Here, I’m learning how to craft stronger storylines that clients and their customers care about, while using my opera background! So, if you’re ever in a jam, overwhelmed by the complexity of a project, or feel that your new task was written in a foreign language…just do what an opera singer would do! Dig in and study that role.

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