Imagine you’re a newspaper reporter…and you’re on assignment to write the article of the century—front page, above the fold, breaking news. It’s going to take at least a year to research and write the story.
But the newspaper world is a bit, shall we say, shaky…and your editor honestly can’t tell you where your final piece will land: in black and white print? online? video? podcast? But he tells you that you absolutely must stay with and capture it.
You could refuse and say that there’s no way to do this. That it’s not possible. That you have to know what form your ‘article’ will take, or you can’t even begin to work on it!
Or… you could be medium agnostic.
Which requires you to give up your attachment, or at least affiliation with the medium that is the newspaper. And go back to your roots.
You have to remember why you got into the business in the first place. For the research/detective work. For the guts of the story. For the duty of sharing news with the world.
And suddenly, it doesn’t matter how the news ends up reaching the people. You realize that if the story is good, then the medium is arbitrary.
In the meeting world, instead of podcast, TV, internet, our ‘mediums’ are tactics: live, webcast, video, speaker panel, etc. And it’s just as easy to get caught up in ‘which one’ during the meeting planning process as it is in the reporter scenario—meeting stakeholders want to know what tactics will be used to deliver the message.
I get it—the gut response is to come up with tactics initially, you want to know what it will look like…but you have to do strategy first, to figure out what you need to communicate. And then, once the message is clear, single-minded and solid, you figure out which tactics/medium will communicate your message best.
The focus is on the message. The medium is simply its stunning expression.