Kathy Heasley, for
one, loved the ending of The Sopranos, HBO’s series that
slammed to a close in June in the middle of the final scene,
silencing the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’?” in mid-lyric.
“That was an absolute stroke of pure genius,” says Heasley, founder
of IMS Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based marketing communications
company that produces meetings.
Heasley is known for paying close
attention to music. She never plans an event without a good sound
track, and she’s as sensitive to the tone of songs as she is to
their lyrics. For a Cold Stone Creamery event, Heasley selected
“More Than Fine” by Switchfoot before a general session to
reinforce the idea of striving for excellence. For a fantasy
football draft, she chose Alice Cooper and AC/DC to set the
Music can extend the theme of the
meeting, energize the crowd or get attendees in the right frame of
mind. Prime times for tunes: as attendees gather before sessions,
while a speaker takes the stage, during breaks and in video
presentations. If Heasley attends an event and notices an awkward
gap that could have been plugged with music, “the silence is
deafening,” she says.
When selecting tracks, “throw out the
obvious,” she advises. Songs shouldn’t remind attendees of their
high school prom; they should create a new memory. More advice: Be
careful to heed music-licensing laws; don’t skimp on your audio
system; and find songs that express their essence in a few
seconds -- all you usually have time to play.