It’s 7 a.m. and the business meeting is about to begin. The places are set. The coffee is out. The laptops are charged. Just when everyone thinks it will be another routine agenda, a Motown song rips through the speakers—a cascade of horn, tambourine and a thundering bass line.
And—just like that—the mood is lifted. Because music has that effect on people. And it can unite anyone in a room. Using a surprise welcome song is one way to enhance a meeting. And it’s something Kimpton recommends. After all, music programming is part of Kimpton’s very DNA.
“We believe music brings people closer together—in social settings, business settings and life in general,” says Lauren Bucherie, Kimpton’s Director of Music & Brand Activations.
In a meeting situation, the norm is to think of music purely as entertainment—something that fits into a dedicated time and space at corporate offsites. “While there’s definitely a time and place for utilizing music in this more traditional sense, we encourage clients to think outside the box,” says Bucherie. “Music can be the main act, but it can be equally impactful in a subtle, background role.”
Upon Arrival—Set the Tone
Like the Motown example, playing music at the start of a business meeting is a simple tool for igniting a dynamic vibe. Bucherie says that, at Kimpton, dedicated meeting planners take time to understand attendees’ music preferences to make sure selections hit just the right note. “We try to make it very personal and fun,” says Bucherie.
For Breakouts—Keep It Lively
During breaks or brainstorms, consider adding music to the mix. Bucherie often makes custom playlists—think anything from California surf pop to classic rock—that are played at various times to liven up the mood. “During team-building exercises, or even quick brainstorms, music can really bring the energy up,” says Bucherie.
A Few Catchy Case Studies…
Music doesn’t always have to be recorded. Live experiences have the same breath-of-fresh-air effect.
At the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, meeting planners arranged for three singers/songwriters to come in to one client’s meeting. Each had a specific group and an hour to create a song with that group. Then, the singer/songwriter would perform it. “It was like a mini version of ‘The Voice,’” says Bucherie.
At the Kimpton Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara, an automobile client gathered a core group to talk about a new car model. Part of the business meeting was a test-drive experience along the Pacific Coast Highway. The hotel created a custom “road trip” playlist to make the experience even more memorable and impactful.
Regardless of how you roll—piped-in tunes over lunch, dynamic playlist or full-on live experience—count on music to add another layer of inspiration to your business meeting. It might not be on your original agenda, but you’ll be so glad you got the speakers popping.