For MPI: Music Makes Meetings Merry & More

This morning, while browsing around MPI’s website, I came upon Blair Potter’s article asking, “What is the best tool on earth for connecting event attendees.” He asked it of Sam McNeill, general manager of SongDivision and McNeill responded by answering “music.” That quickly caught my eye because connecting the crowd through one common denominator like music is one of the most important objectives of any rally, profit or non-profit. And, using music to do it is something my generation, which I won’t identify here, surely knows a lot about. We used it to try and stop a war and promote civil rights, that’s all I’ll say. 

So, interesting topic and one that immediately caught my attention. I wanted to know more about SongDivision and so did Potter, the director of media operations at Meeting Professionals International. According to SongDivision’s website, www.songdivision.com, the company “uses the science of music and the art of engagement to build bonds between people to create more engaged, happy, and productive teams.” They do it face-to-face or online for groups as small as ten or as large as 100,000. 

You’ll understand what he means first-hand if you are planning to attend MPI’s European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) next month (March 3-5, 2024) in Luxembourg. But, if you’re not attending EMEC, according to Potter, McNeill will lead attendees through a learning journey focused on Team Harmony packed with tactics based on six fundamental elements: 

  1. Team cohesion
  2. Storytelling
  3. Belonging
  4. Feedback
  5. Creativity 
  6. Engagement. 

“At the conference,” explains Potter, “attendees will write an original song and experience first-hand how music brings people together.” More specifically, in his interview with the general manager, McNeill hit upon a number of truths about making merry with music that we can all relate to, and what doing so can achieve for groups. He firmly believes music is the best tool on Earth to create connections among peers. There’s even a science to it, he says. “When we listen to and perform music, our brain releases oxytocin, which activates the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for bonding, creative problem solving, collaboration, creating connections, promoting positivity, reducing stress, and more.”

Sounds complicated but SongDivision makes it easy and fun. It leads attendees through the whole process of writing original songs at onsite events in real-time, as attendees at EMEC will soon learn for themselves. For instance, as a case study, SongDivision successfully assisted 1,500 staff members in writing an original song about what they loved about the company they worked for. The company was Virgin. The boss was Sir Richard Branson. Quite dramatically, Branson flew in by helicopter and joyfully navigated himself through a crowd of biblical proportion as they got ready to perform their original song – tailor-made for him. While the song didn’t make the charts, it was a No. 1 hit with Branson and something no one will soon forget. 

Those who experienced it said the whole event was more than earth-shattering and so is SongDivision McNeill’s philosophic take on such scenarios. Potter quotes McNeill as asserting, “I think the days of traditional leaders and organizational dictatorships are long gone. I believe that in 2024, we are all leaders in some way or another. The quality of attendees at EMEC is always incredibly high, and I look forward to sharing this brand-new SongDivision workshop with those who are as passionate about running harmonious teams as we are.” 

Sounds like an old song I used to sing along to. Something like “get out of the new road if you can’t lend a hand, ‘cause the times they are a-changin’.” SongDivision makes it worth it.

Read Potter’s complete article at www.mpi.org and, if you attend EMEC, let me know about the conference’s playlist. 

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