Music and Sound

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Between stimulus and response, people have the freedom to choose.
— Stephen Covey

What is the most frightening horror movie you have seen? What is the most romantic love story you have ever watched? Would either of these movies have been as effective without their soundtrack? Music is potentially one of the most effective elements of a presentation. It is also the element that is overlooked most often.

Sound is one of our earliest sensations and throughout life it remains a powerful tool when persuading for results. It can create a mood, highlight key points and grab attention. Music has been shown to increase learning, and as many students will testify, music makes monotonous tasks more interesting.

For an early morning presentation, you might play some up-beat music as people enter the room, to help wake them up. Music is also an effective way of taking the awkwardness out of a coffee break, or for creating a relaxed or fun atmosphere. If your audience is made up of people in the same age group, play some songs that were popular when they were teenagers.

While people do not often think to incorporate music into their presentation, they do often use computer generated sound to punctuate their PowerPoint® presentations.

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Do not break the law

Music is powerful in presentations. However, be careful not to infringe copyright in the country where you are presenting. In Australia each year we pay for the right to play music in meetings and when we deliver keynote addresses at conferences.