Music to Our Ears

31st July, 2014 - Posted from janebeard

One of the things that elevates Big Meetings — the kind held in hotel ballrooms and convention centers, and other venues that can handle hundreds if not thousands of people — is what we call “Ballroom Music.” It’s the music that’s being played as attendees walk in the room, and it has a bigger impact on your audience than you know.

Why so many people use music ONLY for these big meetings is beyond us. We think that the monthly staff meeting, the first meeting of the new working group on XYZ issue, even the board meeting can benefit from the injection of juice and energy that ballroom music brings.

Before we talk about WHAT music to play, let’s talk more about why you should be playing it.

It’s an auditory and energetic buffer between “out there” and “in here.” Without even realizing it, attendees mentally put away the thoughts and issues from out there and get ready to Be Here Now.

It relaxes people. It doesn’t have to be spa music or soft jazz to do it, either. Even heavy metal is going to relax some people. It’s an auditory break from the normal soundscape of the work day. Relaxation helps everyone.

Science has shown time and time again that music reaches a different part of our brain, and engages us on an emotional level. When you play music people enjoy, it almost immediately engages the reward center of the brain. Since no human takes any action without the decision being filtered through the emotional centers of the brain, it’s just plain smart to prime the pump before you ask people to make decisions about your project.

The next question is what to play. Here, we’re agnostic. It depends on your meeting, your culture, your attendees. We’ve seen playlists that run the gamut from feel good music to current hits to electronic dance, to multi-cultural, to that spa and jazz music. In general, we’d opt for something upbeat and peppy — but if that’s going to draw too much attention to itself, go for something else. My default recommendation is always: something by Eric Hutchinson. He just makes me happy.

If you have an account with Spotify, Pandora, or my new fave Songza, you can abdicate from any decision and let them pick for you. One reason I love Songza is that they pick playlists by the time of day and mood you want to create.

Go out on a limb, and bring some ballroom music to your next meeting. I bet things go better than they have before.

If you want a list of my current faves for generally good mood building ballroom music, write and ask me at

Posted on: July 31, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized