Tailoring your message to fit the interests of the audience took on new meaning when singing sensation Taylor Swift performed in Tampa recently.
School superintendent Addison Davis “Taylor-ed” his message to his students : no skipping school because they were up too late attending a Taylor Swift concert on a school night.
The empathetic leader realized his preaching would have fallen on deaf ears. So he adapted. He couched his message in Taylor Swift song titles his audience not only knew but appreciated.
In an e-mail to all students, Mr. Davis first sought to gain the favor of his audience to at least hear him out:
“There’s a DELICATE situation we must discuss. Are you READY FOR IT?
“THIS IS ME TRYING to be the best Superintendent I can be without creating any BAD BLOOD between myself and our amazing students.”
Then Mr. Davis launches his teaching point. He is careful to compliment Taylor Swift as a performer and acknowledge the significance of her concert while still delivering his key message: don’t skip school.
Don’t Skip School
“Students YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN. Under no circumstances will Friday be an excused absence because you were having an ENCHANTED evening under the STARLIGHT.“
Then Mr. Davis demonstrates his emotional intelligence and self-awareness to step away from his bully pulpit with a softening tone to keep his audience from shutting him out. He acknowledges what those students might be thinking of this authority figure raining on their parade to a Taylor Swift concert.
“I understand I am the ANTI-HERO here, and CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT but YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN KID if you think being a Swiftie is a good excuse for missing important instruction. You know ALL TOO WELL you SHOULD’VE SAID NO to attending a Thursday night concert. Especially one from an artist who is known for putting on a 3-hour amazing show.”
Then Mr. Davis climbs up on his bully pulpit and gives his audience a reality check:
It could be a CRUEL SUMMER if you prioritize being a Swiftie over being in class. YOU BELONG WITH ME, ME! in school. Please don’t make me see RED with your absence.”
“You may think you’re OUT OF THE WOODS since it is the fourth quarter, but make no mistake, if you miss an important lesson, you will not be able to SHAKE IT OFF. Your report card could be TREACHEROUS because you refused to STAY, STAY, STAY in class. I know, I know YOU’RE NOT SORRY for attending such a GORGEOUS concert but I promise you, this is not a HOAX.
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