Audience Engagement Blog Posts

The Impact of Music

Posted on: Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Music in Retail Stores

In past Esprit blogs and newsletters we have discussed the impact that music can have on an audience. In fact, each newsletter includes a playlist specific to the topic we are discussing in that issue.

Now the retail business is taking this to a whole new level. Music surrounds us in our day-to-day lives, most of the time without us noticing, especially in a retail setting where shopping or eating are the main focus. An article from the Wall Street Journal on December 11th, “Retailers Fine-Tune Their Playlists With Shopping-Mood Music”, illustrates the influence that music can have on consumers. Retail stores are using music to put shoppers in the mood to spend through their ability to create radio stations based on their consumers’ lifestyle. Stores also have the ability to switch songs in and out, after a song becomes overplayed or no longer desired. Also, the tunes can be programmed based on the time of day. While shopping, music can be used to help identify the brand message and change the shoppers’ mood. Why does this work? Music releases dopamine in our brains, signaling a sense of pleasure and helping us focus our attention on the task in front of us. Different genres and styles of music are used for distinctive stores and their corresponding shoppers, which can be connected directly to the meeting space.

Music at Meeting

It is important that before each meeting that the style and preferences of the attendees are identified. By knowing the audience, or the target market, developing a playlist is much easier and will therefore be more effective. Music is a strong non-verbal component in marketing or when delivering a message of any kind. It is effective in changing attitudes, enhancing imagery and facilitating learning. By building a physical environment filled with music, the audience will be further engaged in the meeting and have a better attitude about what is being presented as music directly influences their mood.

Before each show, Esprit develops a meeting playlist with a driving beat to create energy and pace in order to get the audience excited for what is to come. Music has been found to increase satisfaction, enjoyment and positive word of mouth. This, in turn, improves the overall atmosphere of the meeting. So, before your next meeting, spend some time in the audience’s shoes and think, “what songs would I want to hear?”

Ahead of the Curve

Posted on: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Samsung Curved TV

Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the big buzz was curved TV screens. The benefits are listed in the MarketWatch article below. At the Nielsen C360 Conference in June 2013, Esprit produced the general session using a curved 164’ screen, maximizing sight lines to help immerse the 1,200 audience members.

Esprit is ahead of the curve when it comes to audience engagement!

Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve


Ahead of the Curve in Creating the Ultimate Immersive Experience, Marketwatch, January 6, 2014

“Ushering in a bold new era of riveting realism and mesmerizing immersion, Samsung is blending its innovative Curved TV design with its UHD TV technology. These TVs deliver a bold theatrical experience and fundamentally change the way the world views TVs. The curved screen gives videos a presence not felt on flat screens, plus, a wider field of view creates a panoramic effect that makes the display seem even bigger than it is and draws viewers in like no TV has ever done before. The curved design creates a balanced and uniformed viewing distance for a more true-to-life viewing experience with improved viewing angles and higher contrast from different viewing positions, so everyone watching has the best seat in the house. To maximize the advantages of Curved TV, Samsung developed the optimal curvature of 4200R, which provides the best picture quality from a normal watching distance of 3-4 meters. The combination of the curve and UHD technology creates the ultimate immersive viewing experience bringing images to life and enveloping viewers in spectacular color, clarity and detail.”


Exercise In Discovery

Posted on: Monday, September 9th, 2013


In the working world, multiple generations are beginning to work together for one common goal: to complete a task or a job. Communication and problem solving between two generations can be difficult and this is due to different skills and abilities.

This week, Eloqui, a presentation skills firm sent out: Exercise in Discovery. Their assignment was to give ad

vice on how to read and speak the language of each individualized audience. After delivering a keynote in Denver to customer service representatives of a major insurance firm, Eloqui came across another challenge: communicating with professionals from a different generation, since the representatives ranged from thirty to sixty.

In order to fade the line that divides the two generations, Eloqui made the following recommendations for the youth and also for the sage to keep in mind when communicating with professionals from a different generation.

Youth: Don’t audition or tap dance because you feel fear or a lack confidence. If you fall into that trap, you will tend to say too much, stray off point, pontificate to show how much you know, and lose the attention of your client, customer or audience.

Sage: Express genuine interest in the younger professional and their expertise, especially when it comes to social media, apps, Internet sites, or their particular strength. Drop any condescending tone. Make every meeting or connection an exercise in discovery.

Youth: At the same time, don’t assume the more seasoned professional is ignorant of new technology. Show respect. Be curious. Demonstrate that you admire their wisdom and experience by asking questions. You may tap into an older person’s willingness to mentor. It is also a fast track to gaining trust and deepening a potentially important relationship.

Millennials and Money

Posted on: Monday, August 26th, 2013


In a recent Chicago Tribune article there were several interesting insights into Millennials  and their thoughts on the topic of money. While many of this generation are saddled with massive student debt, underemployed and underpaid, there are some Millennials who have a successful career path but they tend to think differently about their wealth and money.

For instance, Josh McFarland, a graduate of Stanford University, found himself in $40,000 worth of student loans. His first job out of college was for Google, where he maximized his stock options and cashed them out as product manager.

His next career step led him to the development of TellApart, which has received $17.75 million in venture capital investment. He does not plan on retiring soon, but he now has “breathing room.”

Growing up on the Internet and seeing past generations suffer in debt Millennials are beginning to take a new stance on their quickly accumulating wealth. Retirement funds are not as common as using their money to further develop a career path to freedom. Money is used to breed new ideas, not tucking it away to use in old age.

The wealthy young is not investing as extensively in massive houses or fancy sports cars, but more on experiences such as food, wine, and travel. Millennials are constantly on the move and have no limits of travel and time. Their ideas of wealth and money have definitely changed.

Schmoozing…The Art of Connecting and Networking!

Posted on: Monday, August 19th, 2013

Schmoozing blog

A common worry lately is the idea that small talk and conversation is starting to deplete and people are beginning to lose this very important skill. For younger generations, experts place the blame on videogames and texting for the lack of ability to communicate. According to The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled “How To Be A Better Conversationalist” by Elizabeth Bernstein, one can develop conversational intelligence. Bernstein expresses that conversation is not difficult if you keep in mind one thing: Focus on the other person. This will in turn make it easier for the other person to generate a meaningful and interesting conversation and alert them that you are interested in talking.
The Hidden Benefits of Chit Chat
Dr. Caducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany, Ind, provides insight on how conversation can be divided in five different stages and how to keep it flowing.

Stage one: “Getting Started” stage, you signal your desire to talk with a simple opening line based on something both of you are observing or experiencing in your shared surroundings.

Stage two: “Personal Introduction,” you should mention something about yourself, state your name if appropriate and provide hints for topics to talk about.

Stage three: “Pre-Topical Exploration,” you and your conversation partner are looking for common ground. This is a good time to ask questions, and to refer back to and build upon things said earlier.

Stage four: “Post-Topical Elaboration” stage, your job is to keep the conversation going.

Stage five: “Wrap Up.” Here, you signal that the end is near and show appreciation (“Nice chatting with you.”) Demonstrate that you were listening by summarizing highlights of the conversation (“Thanks for those movie recommendations.”) Look for a way to stay in touch, if you would like—offer a business card or ask if the person is on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Make sure to ask a lot of questions. Those who are not natural conversationalists fear awkward silences most. Remember that people love to talk about themselves and often will think you are a great conversationalist if you talk about them. Don’t let the conversation stall after the person has answered—be ready with follow-up questions or build on the topic.

Rules for College Graduates

Posted on: Monday, July 29th, 2013


Graduating from college can be an exciting, yet frightening time, in a young individual’s life. Many seek out answers and advice on where to go and what to do next. Recently, Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal gave college graduates his personal advice, publishing as his “29 Rules for College Graduates.”

Some of my favorites include:

  • Relax. Nobody expects anything from you for the first 80 to 90 years.
  • While you’re still young, stay up to watch the end of “Monday Night Football.” After the age of 35, it’s physically impossible.
  • Never enter IKEA without your game face on.
  • Don’t be impressed by people’s fancy houses or boats. Houseboats, fine. Because houseboats are amazing.
  • In social settings, never argue about politics, religion or your fantasy draft.
  • Talk to animals. Because you never know.
  • The most important thing you own right now? Your blue jeans. Twenty-five years from now, if you pull out those blue jeans, and fit into them, you are going to run around the house like you’ve won the Super Bowl in overtime.
  • Doughnuts come in and out of your life, like past loves. You never really say goodbye to doughnuts.

After adding humor and a little twist to the stereotypical advice many college graduates hear from parents, peers, and future employers, Jason Gay ended his long list on a more serious note with rule #28: To be real for a moment: Don’t listen to rules. Anyone you admire in life almost surely made a significant choice, somewhere along the way, to break the rules, to be brave and do things differently and change their world.

Rule #28 is my favorite and I believe it shows a good lesson that not only college graduates need to know, but every single person. Life is about making your own path.

North American Global Powerhouse

Posted on: Monday, July 22nd, 2013

While reading the Wall Street Journal the other day, there was an article, written by George P. Schultz, which caught my eye. As professionals, many of us hear about powerhouses and economies regularly. What many may notice is how the North America Global Powerhouse is overlooked, which includes the countries; Mexico, Canada, and the United States. When President Bill Clinton ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement, it opened the doors for the three economies to excel at a sharp pace. What caught my eye is that over the years, may of our clients, are the North American Region for their global companies.

These three countries have become each other’s largest trading partners. “A 2010 NBER study shows that 24.7% of imports from Canada were U.S. value-added, and 39.8% of U.S. imports from Mexico were U.S. value-added.” Not to mention, legal traveling and movement of people totals out at 230.8 million annually for North America. This includes legal border crossings of trucks, tourism, and trips. Between the three countries, they account for $6.63 trillion in exports and imports.


The article also discusses how North America is underway to being a net exporter of energy with the use of horizontal drilling called fracking. This will provide security of oil supply, no matter what is happening in the Middle East. This will help open the doors to ideas of how to use producing and using energy more efficiently.

What will determine productivity is the quality of education. “In the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, there is a wide disparity in average K-12 achievement scores, even though in all three countries, there are plenty of examples of outstanding schooling.” Canada is the leader in math, followed by the United States and ending with Mexico. It is said that if K-12 achievements of students in the U.S. and Mexico were to rise to those in Canada, the average paycheck in the U.S. would increase of 20% per year. Mexico’s paycheck, on the other hand, would be significantly higher.

A lot of issues in North America today have a lot to do with attitudes towards immigration. It should be brought to attention that the fertility rate in Mexico is declining and economy that is now more competitive with China in new ways. Last year, net immigration of Mexicans to the U.S. was zero. Schultz continues to point out that 70% of people who work on farms in the U.S. are immigrants, whether they are legal or not.

George Shultz ends the article with a famous quote from Ronald Reagan on January 19, 1989, in his last formal statement at the White House:

“We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people—our strength—from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation.While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams. We create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow. Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.

As we plan our meeting and events, we are now seeing more audiences that have more attendees from Canada and Mexico as the North American Region is leading the way.

The Formula For Popular TED Talks

Posted on: Friday, July 5th, 2013


Many of us are familiar with TED talks and many have also viewed one or two online or if you are lucky enough, in person. TED is a nonprofit devoting its time to share ideas that they believe are worth being heard. It started out as a conference in 1984 to bring together innovative thinkers from technology, entertainment, and design. Today, TED talks have become an honor for intelligent, creative thinkers to present their personal ideas to the world.

The most popular TED talks to this day all seem to have one thing in common: a formula. The writers of Wired: The First 20 Years shared this special formula:

1%: Sophisticated Visual Aids. Most popular TED talks favor PowerPoint slide shows, quality drawings, or just no props at all.

5%: Opening Joke. This is a good way to engage your audience, and spark their attention as you are beginning your talk.

5%: Spontaneous Moment. Make sure that you do not over prepare. This will allow you to develop a relationship with the audience.

12%: Snappy Refrain. “The TED equivalent of “I have a dream.” Example: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Repeat 7x.”

23%: Personal Failure. Be relatable and let the audience know if you are nervous or about a time where you did not fit in. This lets them know that you are not of any higher power than they are.

49%: Contrarian Thesis. TED is a place where new ideas and out-of-the-box thinkers come to challenge your predetermined opinions.

If you are invited to speak at a meeting or event, just remember this simple formula and your time in the spotlight could become the idea that solves a major world issue or enlighten the listeners to a whole new way of thinking.


All About Respect

Posted on: Monday, July 1st, 2013

Last week, the Chicago Blackhawks made an amazing come back in the final minute and seventeen seconds, defeating the Boston Bruins three to two to bring the cup back home to Chicago. Even though they are playing and competing for the same goal, each team in the NHL shares something unique amongst other professional sports. During a hockey game there may be multiple fights and dozens of checks into the boards, but hockey players still have a special respect for each other. At the end of each playoff series, each team lines up and shakes hands with every player and coach.



At the end of the day, they are competitors and are fighting for the same goal, yet they still respect each others’ countless hours of dedication and efforts. It is all about respect.

Ask me about…

Posted on: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

One of the things that I really enjoyed about my experience at TEDxMidwest was the networking idea of “Ask me about…” Through the online registration process, attendees were instructed to put three discussion topics on their name badges that would help spark conversations. I always look forward to the connections made at meetings and conferences, for they are one of the biggest benefits one can obtain. By doing so, with an educational conference like TEDxMidwest, “Ask be about…” helps make it easy to start a conversation with other attendees.



For my personal “Ask me about…” section, I listed three things: create positive change, multi-generational audiences, and reality vs. perception. Not only are these some of my favorite professional topics of conversation, it was very interesting to hear what ideas others had to contribute. I received multiple business cards and connections with people I may not have approached or been approached by otherwise, if not for my badge.

When producing an event or meeting, one must strive to have positive networking and engaging conversations in order to receive important feedback, successful results, and a knowledgeable experience. When people have topics of conversations selected prior to a conversation, it breaks down the barrier between strangers and becomes a discussion between two intriguing professionals, exchanging worthy ideas.

I presented the ideas to some of my strong clients and their communications department immediately responded. They loved the idea of developing an easy-going environment. Creating a professional social environment where attendees and clients can make important and useful connections based on three simple topics may just be next big step in making meetings go from ordinary to extraordinary. What would your “Ask me about…” be?