Let your audience see your sound

June 15, 2011

By Dan Schlacter

Me and my water jug at Bonnaroo.

Me and my water jug at Bonnaroo.

My wife and I were two of the 80,000 people who went to Bonnaroo this past weekend to breathe dirt, carry heavy jugs of water, and get sunburned while listening to music we could have just downloaded from iTunes while relaxing in our air-conditioned home.

Since we got back, friends and colleagues have been asking, “So, who’d you see?” That probably sounds familiar to anyone who has been to a concert, but today I am stuck on the thought that an audio experience so often prompts a question about visuals. Bands play music. You don’t see music. But … you do.

The performances I enjoyed and connected with most were those where I was close enough to see (The Black Keys, Man Man and Galactic, in particular). Seeing the musicians perform their craft while listening to the result of their work makes for a powerful experience of what that particular band is all about.

And that is why you can’t be passive about telling your story. You’ve got to tell it, and you’ve got to tell it in a way that lets your audience see and hear what you are doing. Photos, videos and graphics: They are all just as important as the words in your mission statement and the numbers in your accounting.

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