The March monthly meeting of the San Diego Veterans Coalition was effective. Several Partners told me they left more energized than when they arrived. For collaboratives, which are often fraught with competition and anxiety over funding, politics, and limited resources of all kinds, that’s a big win for this Coalition.
How did it happen?
Did money magically fall from the sky? Did representatives from each sector of Veterans Services suddenly get invigorated to work more closely together? Did a high-ranking government representative praise the Coalition’s efforts on national media?
None of the above.
In fact, the meeting was just like all the other meetings except for one important difference: music.
How it went down
Coalition meetings normally start with a flag salute, and this meeting had an additional feature: a powerful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. The gentleman Veteran who led the singing had such a resonant voice that very few could resist joining him in song. It reminded me of watching the commissioning ceremony Marine Corps Officers, where the great hall of the National Museum of the Marine Corps resounds with The Marines Hymn.
But there was more.
After the opening formalities, a solo trumpeter played the songs for each of the five branches of United States military service: Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force. Veterans of each service were asked to stand during their branch’s song.*
Following the music, the meeting proceeded as it normally does.
It wasn’t until the meeting ended that people began observing the difference in energy that took place. It was tangible and positive. People were standing taller, looking happier and less stressed, moving into the networking section of the meeting more invigorated. The bonus? Let me spell it out for you: positive intervention with distress, depression, and anxiety. Who couldn’t use that?
All it took was the intelligent application of music. No explanation needed.
How can you do this too?
If your meetings lack the kind of energy you want your team to have, take encouragement from this. It’s just not that hard to add music where it matters most. Yes: it’s easier in a purpose-driven collaborative with national/patriotic roots, but if your team has a strong purpose too, why aren’t you taking it to the next level?
There was a time when employees of corporations like Ford and IBM regularly sang their company songs, just like university fight songs. Think about it: why did that work? Could music work for your team today?
Want to know more? Bounce ideas around? Drop me an email or give me a call. Wander through my YouTube channel for additional ideas.
You could spend a lot of time learning the science behind why this works. My contribution to the general knowledge is a course that teaches these things, but you already know what to do, if you’ll just allow yourself to think outside the meeting-room box.
In music –
* I’ve had family members serve in every branch except the Navy, and as a young boy in a military academy, before I joined the band, we were taught to stand if any member of our family served in the branch whose song was being played. I’ve done that ever since and did so this time, too. In recent years, with heightened sensitivity to stolen valor, this gesture of respect seems to need explanation, but I continue to feel humbled that members of my family as far back as the American Revolution have pledged their lives in defense of America.