June 12, 2015
Vol.13, Issue 7
How is your spontaneity factor? I mean, really, where are you on the trust scale when it comes to leaving your meeting in the hands of your speaker to create something truly unforgettable on the spot, in the moment? Something that involves your audience’s participation, even possibly asking them to sing . . . and be recorded? Hmmmm … It may sound scary. But on the other hand, think about it — it could help them remember what you don’t want them to forget, give you the chance to send everyone home, saying, WOW, WOW, WOW!
Jana Stanfield, CSP
On-the-Spot Song Creation – the WOW Factor!
We received a call this spring asking about Jana Stanfield as a closing keynote speaker for a corporate event in Nashville (as most of you who have been following us for years know, Jana is an extremely talented singer-songwriter, keynote speaker who has been based in Nashville for a long time). This potential client had been looking at Jana’s videos online, and they were already pretty convinced that she was the right person for the job. Their goal was to close their meeting with the WOW factor.
Here’s what the meeting planner said, “Our hope is to leave on a high note and make this year’s meeting one of the most memorable years yet … ultimately, we want to close the meeting with a ‘bang’ and have folks really dive into the messages they learned throughout the week’s meetings and be eager to share them with their teams and staff when they travel back home — something unlike any other they’ve experienced before! Motivational, entertaining, thought-provoking and most of all … that ending note that will bring closure to the meeting as a whole and tie it all up in a bow as a final message to the attendees — the WOW factor.”
Okay! A tall order, but definitely something I knew that Jana could deliver, and with Nashville pizazz and flavor.
As we discussed things further, we found that the client really wanted to incorporate some key points from their meetings into the closing message, so that the attendees would carry them home. That brought to mind the power of music — like advertising jingles that you can’t get out of your mind — and, of course, very Nashville. So we immediately thought of writing a custom song for them.
And then Jana’s creativity kicked into high gear. She got really excited about producing a custom song, on the spot, on stage, with audience participation.
“Creating a piece of music is an exciting process,” she said. “Creating a piece of music together for everyone there will be an unforgettable experience.”
It took some convincing and backstage pre-development by Jana, but several conference calls later (did I mention this all happened within a 30 day time frame?), the client felt confident and willing to trust the process. We got the go-ahead.
“My goal for this closing is to provide a chance for attendees to demonstrate what they’ve learned in a way that’s inclusive of everyone there, interactive, and experiential,” Jana said to the corporate meeting team. “With the song as their vehicle, participants will get to create something new together in a way that’s fun, fresh, and memorable. They’ll create something together that helps them remember what they don’t want to forget. And, they’ll leave the conference with a piece of music they had a part in creating, which they can share with their colleagues and families.”
This is where technology comes in. Jana hired her record producer, Matt Wilder, to be onstage with his mobile recording device, “cleverly disguised as a MacBook.” Jana wrote lyrics in advance, based on the company’s new marketing slogans, and Matt created musical tracks in two styles for the group to choose from.
After opening with the first part of her Keynote Concert, Jana moved seamlessly into the audience participation: “How many of you believe that in the next 30 minutes, we could create AND record a song together with producer Matt Wilder, based on the new marketing slogans? If you believe we can do it, please stand.” Two people stood — and Jana smiled.
“Just like rolling out the new marketing campaign,” she said, “it’s one step at a time. First, we’ll listen to 15 seconds of the tracks Matt and I created, and you choose the style you like best.” They did.
Next, Jana demonstrated 2 different versions of the simple chorus she’d written from their theme, and gave them the choice of how she’d sing it.
Would the audience be willing to participate further in this unexpected opportunity for “planned spontaneity?”
As a bit of background, I should tell you that Jana was raised by an elementary music teacher mom who taught her to:
- Make participation safe and non-threatening, so no one will be embarrassed.
- Invite engagement without pressure, and have a back-up plan if the group is timid.
- Give the group easy ways to succeed, building participation from each success.
After those simple choices, the audience was asked to do two hand claps in the chorus. In order for their part to be heard, Jana invited them to come to the stage so they could be heard as she held a wireless mic out to them. All 175 people came forward, and as Jana began singing the chorus to let them practice their handclaps, she was completely surprised when they began singing, too. Have you ever had a meeting where attendees were so excited that they did even MORE than you asked?
By the end of the meeting, Matt and Jana were able to play the recording of everyone together on the song they created, which could then be used for slide shows with conference photos, or taken back home to add photos of their co-workers.
“Unforgettable,” “unexpected,” and “amazing” were some of the words that the meeting team heard from participants.
Speaking for myself, I’m the kind of person who likes to know that my i’s are dotted and my t’s are crossed, so I give a lot of credit to the client for being willing to trust Jana and their audience participants. Knowing Jana the way I do, having experienced her interaction with audiences for years, I had no doubt she could pull it off. But was I relieved and happy when I heard the results? Absolutely.
I love that phrase that Jana coined, “Help them remember what they don’t want to forget.”
If you know of a conference that could benefit from this kind of co-creation — and the WOW factor that helps them remember what they don’t want to forget — give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get started.
Summertime . . . Bring It On!
Okay, summer’s here. School’s out. Warm temperatures. Outdoor barbecues. Deck living, sleeping, eating. I’m into it. After last summer’s move after move after move, I’m just happy to stay in one place. I hope your summer brings you all the good times you and yours will enjoy without limits.
Until next time, take care of yourself, for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, nurses, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they connect with their audiences while bringing them life-changing information, smiles of recognition and ultimately a sense of well being and hope.
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me great joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.