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Writing to the Beat

By September 2, 2014 October 28th, 2016 News & Viewpoints
Headphones on Keyboard

As communications professionals, we write. Sometimes I think the profession should be renamed “writing professionals” because whatever the final medium of delivery, it first had to be written! We write it all (bylines, press releases, communications plans, website content, digital content), in varying styles (technical, feature, creative), for various mediums (publications, websites, newsletters, social media) and all along we’re performing at our best, waving what seems like our magic wand, time and time again. Voilà!

I’ll let you in on a little secret: we don’t have wands, and we don’t all speak French. Everyone has rituals – things they do that give them the spark needed to bring a story to life. It’s different for everyone, but early on in my career I realized something the day I tried talking to a colleague sitting across from me and got no answer …

… cue the music.

Go figure, she had her headphones on. I sat back and looked around to find nearly everyone had headphones on. And I thought it was just me.

Interestingly, according to a 2012 study published in The University of Chicago Press, exposure to a moderate level of ambient noise can lead to higher creativity. In 2013, Spotify (my personal choice for music-streaming) commissioned Dr. Emma Gray, who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at The British CBT & Counselling Service in London, to investigate the effect music has on studying. Dr. Gray affirmed that, “Music has a positive effect on the mind, and listening to the right type of music can actually improve studying and learning. Music can put you in a better frame of mind to learn – and indeed, students who listen to music can actually do better than those who don’t. For logical subjects, like math, music should calm the mind and help concentration, whereas for creative subjects, the music should reflect the emotion that the student is trying to express.”

The same parallels can be drawn in the corporate world. We use the same elements – focus, concentration, retention and creativity. Pretty compelling stuff.

All of this got me thinking. When I put my thoughts into words – with the help of some 90s rock – it all made simple sense:

Music gives focus. Music gives us one thing to ignore while we apply focus to the task at hand. It relaxes our mind, enabling focused concentration.

Music gives inspiration. Do you ever wonder why real life doesn’t have a soundtrack like the movies? There you have it – sounds have emotion that translate through us, inspiring words. Congratulations, you just dumped <insert emotion> into a word document.

Music gives us the feel-goods. When you feel good, you do good. Music makes us happy, ergo, good, positive output.

Music is an art. Writing is an art. It just makes sense that they go hand-in-hand. If you haven’t tried it, be prepared to have your life change a little. It’s not for everyone. Some people need the silence. But for many people, listening to music is the only way to work, and sometimes we want the same song on repeat all day long. To help inspire your own writing, check out some artists that get our Detroit staff in the mood to tell great stories:

  • Gavin DeGraw, Kristin Tyll | Senior Vice President & Partner
  • 80s, Steve Diehlman | Account Director
  • Sam Smith, Karah Davenport | Vice President
  • Pete Yorn, Jasmin Nadalizadeh | Senior Account Executive
  • Bonobo, Nicole Burdiss | Account Executive
  • Hozier, Brooke Ziomek| Senior Account Executive
  • XX, Kevin Raftery | Account Executive 

Rock (or country or rap or electronic) on and happy writing!

Jasmin Nadalizadeh is a senior account executive in Stratacomm’s Detroit office.

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