Andrew Klein, professional MC and presentation skills speaker and director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.
“MUSIC is a world within itself - with a language we all understand.
With an equal opportunity for all to sing, dance and clap their hands.”
OK, stay with me - I haven’t gone all new age and flaky on you. Those lyrics form the opening to Stevie Wonder’s song Sir Duke, a tribute to the late Duke Ellington and to the uplifting, soul-stirring power of music.
I was reminded of that song and the power of music to transform and uplift as I walked into a conference room in Noosa last month for the start of a recruitment conference.
The conference theme was the “Art of Work” so the staging, content and feel of the conference was “artistic” while remaining corporate. Delegates walked into the conference room, with art deco themed furnishings and artwork across the stage, to the sounds of a four man live band, playing a funk-rock fusion. The band belonged to the opening speaker, the wonderfully artistic and thought-provoking Mykel Dixon (if you haven’t sought him out for your conference – do so).
Around 99% of conferences simply play the latest ‘song du jour’ (think Uptown Funk etc) as the walk-in music. But as these delegates discovered, the “vibe” created by live music has the power to transform a dull hotel ballroom into something unique.
Delegates did not simply walk into the conference room, they jived, grooved and shimmied to their seats. They all smiled, they were all taken by surprise. And they all commented on the impact that the live music had.
This conference started with a bang even before it started.
The band was involved at other times of the conference too, but as a kick-ass, uplifting and different way to start a conference, music (and live music especially) can’t be bettered.
You may not have the budget for a professional band, but as Mykel Dixon would argue, think outside the (music)-box. What about a local school band?
How about using some of your musical delegates (so many companies these days have their company band). Even a lone guitarist or trumpeter would do the trick.
As Steve Wonder says in Sir Duke – “there’s no way the band can lose…you can feel it all over”.