So much planning goes into large-scale brand experiences. Event planners and experience designers focus their time and energy for months, or sometimes the full year, on how the show flows, from the schedule to the floor layout, the activations and break outs, and bringing in the right speakers to share the right messages. But one of the most important elements often gets overlooked: music.
Music is what sets the tone for your entire event and it’s one of the most powerful tools for impacting emotion. Music provides a crucial undercurrent of emotion that can benefit any meeting, event, or experience, so picking the right music for the type of meeting you are having is incredibly important. When it comes to curating the perfect playlist, here are a few things to consider.
The key to getting your music right is to start planning early on. Your music selection should be decided right when you are choosing things like graphics and discussion topics. Music considerations should really be part of your message map.
Some music turns people off while other music will make people feel excited and engaged. The right kind of music will lower stress levels and be more conducive to learning. Studies have shown that music that is about the speed of a human heart rate (60 beats per minute) is the best choice for small group discussions and other activities that require focus.
Music creates strong associations and people can call back memories of an experience when they hear a certain song. This is helpful to know when choosing music selections for your meeting. Make sure you play a soothing or impactful song during any particular section of your meeting that you want to leave a strong impression.
Music is the perfect tool for changing negative moods or emotions and getting people into a positive state, one better for learning. However, you have to be careful — music can also have the opposite effect on people. You don’t want to choose music that will distract or aggravate people, and be sure to keep the music at a peaceful volume that won't interrupt the experience or conversations you're hoping to catalyze during the event.
Music can also create a bit of suspense and anticipation in a meeting. You can use music to cue what is about to happen next. For instance, you might have soft, melodic music playing during one section of the presentation and then flow into something more bombastic when you’re getting ready to introduce a new speaker or the main presentation.
Keep It Consistent
Although you can have fun choosing different music selections, you do want to keep it consistent with the purpose of the meeting and the audience that is attending. Switching from jazz to pop to reggae will confuse and distract your audience. Stick to one genre and try to keep the messaging and branding consistent so it doesn’t feel disruptive.
Making use of music as a messaging extension to influence the mood and impact your audience during your event is a sure fire way to get your audience inspired and engaged. Be sure to spend some time thinking through which music is the perfect fit for your next meeting, and then pay attention to the way your audience reacts. Learn what they love and take it from there!