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You’re busy, I’m busy.  So I aim to keep these blogs to six pithy paragraphs, all inspired by ideas I’ve nicked from the newsroom I still work in.  Thanks for taking an interest.  

Here’s an idea if you want to make your meetings a bit more effective.  Put the music on.  Jazz, Pop, Classical, Salsa, Thrash (well, perhaps not Thrash) — most of them should work.

We’ve all known since the nursery how music can transform mood.  And we all know how sterile the mood can be as people shuffle into a meeting room or a training event.  So here’s my trick.  I play a few minutes of music that I’ve downloaded into the first slide of my presentation — music that will suit the age of the audience as they arrive and cluster around the coffee.  I find jazz often works.  If nothing else, it breaks the ice.

It’s a device we use quite regularly in TV reporting — if a news story requires reflection, I find a little music laced between interviews and voiceover can add a third dimension (though it has to be carefully measured, and if misjudged can cause more irritation than pleasure.)

As a way to set the tone for a training workshop, nervous arrivals have told me it’s reassured them — “hmm, I didn’t see this coming, this might be a bit different, this might even be fun …” 

If the idea works for you, you might want to think about using it at the end of your meeting, too.  I give all my guests a one page feedback form to fill in.  I’m currently playing an upbeat Amy MacDonald track as they do so.  I don’t think it’s cheating.

If it all sounds a bit cheesy (echoes of The Office?), then maybe it is.  But I’ve had no complaints so far, and a fair bit of quiet thanks.  If a different vibe is what you’re after at an event that can be all too predictable, maybe a different vibe is the answer.

If you would like your team to work, think and laugh fast, give me a call to see if my Newsroom Bootcamp workshop might fit the bill.  Or come along to my next ticketed event in November, and try it for yourself!    

(photo courtesy of cloudpix.co)

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