Most sound we experience is accidental; the sounds of traffic crisscrossing the cityscape, the roar of the crowd in a stadium, drops of rain hitting the roof.
All of these sounds conjure up different moods, feelings and remind us of experiences that we associate with those sounds. But all of these examples of sounds just happen without any plan. When you are creating a transformative event experience, the first thing you will want is a plan. And sound should be an important part of it.
Sound consultant Julian Treasure says that sound affects us four ways; physiologically, psychologically, cognitively, and behaviorally. Each of these four components should be considered carefully while planning your events.
Physiological - How Can Sound Affect Your Attendee Physically - Like A Human Scream.
A jarring sound can make us physically react with panic, anxiety, and overall unpleasant feelings of us wanted to close off or escape.
In contrast, a soothing sound can relax us, steady us, make us feel open and receptive, like ocean waves.
Think about how you want your attendee to feel physically at your event.
Psychological - How can sound affect your attendee’s emotional being?
We all recognize how music can change our mood. It can motivate us in the gym with a hard hitting beat. Or make us a little on edge, like those few notes from “Halloween”. It can even make us want to cry like that commercial with the Sarah McLachlan song and those dogs.
What emotions should your attendee have that will tie into the goals of your event experience?
Cognitive - How can sound help focus or clarify your message to the attendee?
Think back to a cocktail party where everyone is talking at once.
Our brains can only process so much auditory information at once. What are the important messages you want the attendee to walk away with that they might remember?
Behavioral - How will sound adjust the behavior of your attendee?
An annoying sound that is painful to hear for an extended period of time will make you want to leave the area, like a repetitive car alarm or anything by Nickelback.
Inappropriate sound can literally drive your attendees away. Appropriate sound or music choice can add to the experience, enhance the engagement and keep your attendee’s attention dramatically longer. What behavior do you want from your attendee?
Sound is powerful but often accidental or inappropriate. When planning your event don’t forget the four ways that sound can affect and influence the actions, attention, and engagement of your attendee. The same way a film director uses music, voices, and sound effects to create a mood, a tone, and tell a story, you should be as thoughtful with the sounds and music you will utilize to transform your event experience. Now you’ve heard how important sound can be. And when you can’t use sound, try GIFs. Cue the Law & Order dun, dun.