Monday, April 16, 2012

#eventprofs, Get a musical recap for your conference sessions with @songadaymann

I just wrapped up several days of coaching speakers at TEDMED 2012 here in Washington, and one of the highlights for me was getting to know Jonathan Mann better. Jonathan--known as the "Song a Day Guy"--has been writing and posting online a song a day since 2009. That's led him to some interesting places, and honed a skill that you can put to use at your next conference or meeting: Getting a song a day that recaps the speakers' insights for your meeting attendees.

It's a creative approach to summing up the proceedings, an alternative to using a graphic artist to "scribe" the sessions or asking the moderator or host to do a verbal summary. A song might be the way to introduce an awards ceremony, summarizing all the great accomplishments you're about to honor...or to recap the results of a competition and disclose the winners...or sum up a group of seemingly disparate speakers.

I first watched this process in action at TEDMED 2011. Having Jonathan start the morning off with a recap of the previous day's sessions became a must-attend 8:30 in the morning. People were on time so they wouldn't miss these songs. Jonathan got TEDMED's movers and shakers moving and shaking in different ways: One of his recaps includes a 60-second dance break as suggested the previous day by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin--and you'll see that the Surgeon General joined right in, as did the rest of the audience of leaders in healthcare, medicine and science:

I'm also especially fond of Jonathan's day 2 recap from TEDMED 2011, which includes a mini-opera about Diana Nyad's talk about swimming from Cuba to Florida and getting stopped by not one but two attacks by box jellyfish. Follow the link to see what a complete wrap-up song looks like, or click on the thumbnails at the end of Mann's video, above. Nyad's talk is part of The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Women's Speeches on our blog so you can see her video for context.

You can reach Jonathan at and follow him on Twitter at @songadaymann...he'd be a smart hire for your next conference. How will you put this musical resource to good use at your next meeting?

(Photo from TEDMED 2012)

My post on "How Rush Limbaugh is helping me celebrate Women's History Month" is nominated as one of BlogHer's "Voices of the Year 2012." Follow this link to vote--and thanks for supporting this post.