What is it about a song that can transport you back in time to a special moment in your life, the instant you hear it? Maybe the day you got your first car, or had your first date, went to your first dance, had your first kiss, or enjoyed your first marriage. Okay, just kidding about your marriage! But it’s true; music can deliver a magical experience.
Music is virtually everywhere we turn in our day-to-day lives… driving in our car, shopping at the mall, attending a sporting event and certainly when we turn on the television. Even in these economically challenged times, music is everywhere! Or is it?
One of the few places I find music missing, but I think could be greatly enhanced by, is in the meetings industry. As a professional speaker, entertainer, and producer, I find myself at more and more meetings every year and I consistently notice the lack of music. The meetings industry is one area that sorely needs a boost to energize and invigorate a sometimes-stagnant event.
Now I realize not every conference is absent of music, but overall we miss a huge opportunity to make our events memorable by not utilizing the special powers of music as a central part of the program. I’m not suggesting that we stage a concert at each event (although, not a bad idea!), but to use music as a way to energize, motivate, and captivate an audience, giving them the opportunity to associate a positive message with their meeting experience.
The “pre-show” of most live events is centered on fun, upbeat and positive music to set the tone and prepare the audience for what is to come. I hold wonderful memories from one meeting in particular where the use of music was incredibly influential!
I was rushing through the hotel lobby anxious for the program to begin when I heard the music playing from the main hall. People were ecstatic and a sense of exhilaration was immediately apparent. My first thought walking into the 2008 National Speakers Association Convention held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City last July was, “Wow this is different. This is cool!” The convention theme was “NSA Rocks”, and boy did it ever. From the first hello to the last goodbye, music was everywhere and it invoked enthusiasm in all attendees. The convention turned out to be the highest attended and most talked about convention in the 25-year history of NSA. So what’s the connection? Could it be the powerful use of melodies that poured through the speakers along with the rock ‘n roll theme? My answer is yes, but to be honest, I have to say I’m biased because I had the good fortune of being one of the main stage presenters at the convention. But don’t let that sway you from the truth that this convention rocked! And music was a central component of the success.
During my presentation, I had the pleasure of hosting a couple of real rock stars as my guests. Simon Kirke from Bad Company, David Fishof of the Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, and Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon accompanied me on a rock ‘n’ roll journey talking about what a speaker could learn from a rock star. But understand something. As cool as it was to have these celebrities on stage, it was more about the music and the attitude the music provided that set such a positive tone. When Kevin Cronin was introduced and he walked out on stage playing his acoustic guitar and singing “Take It On The Run,” the place went crazy! People were singing, clapping, and screaming, giving him a standing ovation when he’d been on stage for only 3 minutes. From my entrance playing electric guitar, jamming to a medley of classic rock hits, to the casual music references throughout the program, the theme hit the mark. This should be a clear sign that says, “music is positively mood-swaying and people of all ages and walks of life are influenced by it in a big way!”
So why is it that we don’t use music more in our meetings to set the tone, enhance the energy and build momentum for our events? Even if we don’t believe all of the research that says music is a great tool to enhance learning, we know from our everyday lives that music is the centerpiece for almost everything we do outside of work. So why don’t we open up our business life to what we enjoy the rest of our day? If we can make our meetings more relevant, exciting and memorable by including music, why don’t we do it?
Here are 4 ways to use the power of music in your meetings…
- Choose a single song as a recurring element for your whole event, a sort of theme that parallels your topic. The more a song is played and focused on, the more it is associated with your event. Remember, repetition makes memories.
- Stage your conference as an “event.” Hold the “doors” for every entrance to your meeting room. Crank up the music inside so people waiting outside can hear it and will be excited to go to what could otherwise be thought of as a snore session. Stage your volunteers inside the room, so that when the doors open, they are welcoming everyone, clapping, singing, dancing and encouraging people to join in. There is power in numbers. Once the entering attendees see the excitement presented by the volunteers, the enthusiasm is contagious and the energy levels jump sky high!
- Encourage every speaker to use the event song in their presentation, either as theme music before they begin or as an entrance and exit song. Also, stage the entrance of each breakout like the main stage audience entrance listed above. Keep the momentum going throughout the conference
- Use music in every part of your program … mixers, food service, cocktail parties and evening events. And don’t forget about live music. Even simple duos, trios or small ensembles add class, energy and pizzazz.
Take it from someone whose whole life has been centered on music. If you use it with purpose, you have the power to positively influence lives in ways you never knew were possible. Rock On!
Robin Creasman is a motivational speaker/entertainer, an award-winning television producer, marketing and entertainment industry expert who speaks to business leaders, salespeople, entrepreneurs, small business owners and professional speakers on how to Stand Out Like A Rock Star whether they are on-stage, in the boardroom or on a sales call so they can get more business, make more money and be more successful. You can reach him at Robin@robincreasman.com
Learn more at http://www.RobinCreasman.com