How much thought do you give to what your audience is listening to, before they listen to you?
“What do you mean?” as Justin Bieber recently said.
I’m taking about music, of course.
Before I worked at R&B Group, I was a Stage Manager in theatre and every show was always preceded with a selection of pre-show music – you know, you’ve most likely been there yourself, tapping your foot while waiting for the show to start.
I remember very well however, how much thought the Director and creative team would put in to selecting that music. “The theatrical experience begins as soon as they walk into the theatre”, one director said to me. “The music playing should set the tone for the first act”, he went on. “Is there a subtle message or mood we can get over to the audience before the show?”. “Is it too up or down beat?”
Too often, music played at corporate events tends to be a bit of an afterthought too or not even a thought at all. Whoever is operating the sound simply hits shuffle on an iPod. Bublé, Bee Gees, Bassey and Boney M – you must be playing ‘Now! That’s what I call conference. Vol 1’.
I know you’re busy and it’s the last thing on your mind as an events organiser, but it really is a missed opportunity to set the tone for the message of the event, seminar or keynote speech. If you can get your audience in the right mood before you speak, then getting your message across successfully much easier! People love music and that theatrical principle really does work!
Having said this, there are some songs that need to be avoided in my humble opinion. Tina Turner – ‘Simply the Best’. M People – ‘Search for a Hero’. U2 – ‘Beautiful Day’, they’ve all been done to death by ‘motivational speakers’. Those songs now bring groans, they’re considered cheesy. They are. So it’s equally important to know what not to play. As an aside, any song by U2 is not allowed at an event I’m working on and nor am I a Bieber fan, despite the opening reference.
Avoid cheesy ‘themes’ too. If your event is about retail, there really aren’t that many banging tunes on that particular subject, your audience will just think you’ve lost the plot and you’ll go mad trying to find the right music.
Have a think about what will inspire, focus and set the tone for your next project. The right selection of music could ensure your event won’t B♭ – see what I did there?