Make your ideal playlist – selecting the best music to use during meetings, events and conferences
Ever listen to energetic music to help fuel your workout routine? Or relax on a Sunday afternoon while listening to your favourite chillout tunes? The music we choose is based on our mood, activity level and goals at the time – and often that choice is subconscious. It seems obvious that we listen to upbeat music when we’re happy, and low-key music when we’re feeling flat.
But did you know that music can also be used to change your state of mind? In fact, the right choice of music can completely change the mood, atmosphere and outcome of entire events. So it’s no surprise that event organisers are increasingly exploring ways to build the ideal conference playlist, and spend so much time seeking out the best music for events. Could the right music help your next presentation or event too?
Finding the best music for large events
First rule: unless you’re holding a music festival, sound should not drown out the venue. Whatever music you choose, it must not distract your audience or make it difficult for people to hear one another as they mingle. Rather, the best music for events will create an atmosphere which encourages your audience to behave in a way you’d like them to (whether that be to listen, engage and ask questions, remember information or get social).
At large-scale events and conferences, there’s a lot of background noise which cannot be controlled. For this reason, additional music won’t be appropriate at all times as it will cause the space to seem more crowded and claustrophobic. However, even large events will have moments where the addition of background music can help to enhance the audience experience, or direct the movement of the crowd.
For example, relaxing background music played while people are still arriving can help to set the tone of the event, create ambience and make people feel less self conscious if they arrive early. In particular, music with soft vocals can create the impression of people chatting nearby – which in turn can encourage the audience to mingle, network and ask questions after listening to the presentation.
Music for your meeting or small conference
When organising a more intimate event such as a business meeting or small-scale conference, your choice of music might not be the first thing to come to mind. But adding a soundtrack to your presentation can be the difference between a meeting which simply delivers information to your audience, and one which captures their interest and stimulates ideas.
Choose music which matches the style and theme of your presentation and the audience who is listening. For instance, a company presenting a new speaker system to a room full of heavy metal musicians probably wouldn’t choose a classical soundtrack to best represent their products!
No matter what songs you choose, be sure to lower the volume while your presenter is speaking, to avoid confusing or distracting your audience. Alternatively, if you decide not to play any sound at all during this time, consider breaking up the presentation with a slideshow matched with embedded music. This not only helps to maintain your audience’s interest, it makes the slides more engaging for those viewing your presentation online.
Changing the mood with music
Music is about more than the enjoyment of sound. That’s why psychologists have spent decades studying its effect on our brains, and applying their findings to everything from alleviating mood disorders, advertising and even crowd control; relaxing people when they’re in crowded public spaces and stressful environments.
Here’s some ways you too can use the psychology of music to create a winning conference playlist or select the right music for your meeting.
- To perk up your audience and create more energy in the room, choose fun and upbeat music; the type that makes you want to jump out of bed, dance or sing along to. Songs like Happy by Pharrell Williams, Thrift Shop by Macklemore or – if you’re feeling a little nostalgic – a retro classic like Beat It by Michael Jackson or Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits.
- Tension and suspense is key to creating a sense of anticipation at events such as awards ceremonies or conferences featuring a celebrity speaker. In these situations you can use more dramatic music to muster excitement in the audience. Classical music is a popular choice (browse Spotify for instrumental playlists such as Epic Classical), but tracks from famous films are also a great option (check out the soundtracks to Pulp Fiction or The Hunger Games for inspiration).
- If your event is drawing to a close and you’d like people to start moving on, music can act as a cue to indicate the event has finished. Look for faster music, which tends to get people walking at a quicker pace (this is also why supermarkets play slower, more relaxed music in store; encouraging shoppers to linger and buy more).
Before you start creating that ultimate playlist, be sure to check the music copyright and licensing requirements that apply to your event. It’s also recommended that event organisers steer clear of any tracks which contain language or themes some audience members may find offensive (even if you think they’re hilarious). If in doubt, give it a miss!
Engaging your audience is effortless when you have the right tools. If you want to build events, meetings or conferences that get people talking, sign up to Zeetings – and start using our free, interactive presentation platform today.