How could I not think of this one before? How come two overwhelming parts of my brain – learning process facilitation and music – did not connect earlier properly?
While relaxing from the last of three events in a row in Nairobi this week, I ended up chatting with our graphic facilitation duo (check their wonderful work at that event here), one of these artists confessed that of all the elements that make up a perfect event (missing the references for this here – do you know?), he enjoyed our event very much, but really missed one aspect: music!
Now, I’ve been an avid music collector for the past 25 to 30 years, amassing treasured beats, melodies and quirky noise experiments from around the world, across genres, for different moods, on different beats, for different purposes, in different languages, using different instruments. Or none… Over the equivalent of several terabytes of music scattered across various artifacts (CDs, cassettes, mini-discs, MP3s, LPs and EPs etc.)… Such a treasure chest at my hand and I never used it.
Music drives energy and feelings – pretty much just like no other thing. It can dampen the atmosphere and sober everyone out, it can inspire and spark off movement, it can relax and soothe, it can open up hearts. It’s such a powerful current of energy that can be tapped into at all times – among other energy drivers…
So it’s also a naturally great knowledge management enabler:
- It can bring people together – regardless of language and background – and help create trust as it also connects people from their inner self, not just their professional profile;
- It can create an atmosphere that helps people reflect deeply;
- It can liberate the energy to drive real action, with a purpose, transcending individuals and appealing to a collective aspiration;
- It uses our creative facets, rather than relying solely on the intellect…
And these are just some of the many possible uses of music…
On the other hand, using the power of music raises issues of ‘facipulation‘, but on the other hand it’s such a pity not to use this potential. When the graphic facilitator shared his impression, all of a sudden I felt deep down how un-melodious and sadly un-musical that event, and many other events I’ve designed in the past, had been.
Now, some questions to sharpen our sensitivity to music in KM and music in events:
- What examples do you have of a good use of music to drive action, reflection or otherwise?
- Where did music actually feel over-intrusive or over-powerful?
- Where does ‘creating an atmosphere stop’ and when does ‘facipulation’ start?
- Should music be restricted to multi-participant events or would you recommend using it for normal and small meetings, discussions, work etc.?
- Should it be limited to the breaks or be the a theme tune in the actual sessions?
- Do you rely on someone organising the music selection, would you run it as part of facilitation?
- To what extent do cultural differences play a role in selecting music and to what extent should you use the music you know best, to be authentically true to yourself?
- What have been interesting tunes or genres that might have proven particularly helpful with knowledge management – if any?
One sure thing is I’ll be using music in my next event(s) and see how it flies… I hope it will work out, because when the music’s over…
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