Lucky Skunk

 

lucky skunk

The Pre-Meeting Pump Up Jam Part I


This is part of my series from my upcoming book, "Engage!"


I am sure that I am not alone in enjoying music and its importance both economically and socially.  Many songs have shaped our lives, and certain songs evoke emotions, both good and bad.  Kurt Cobain, who would have been 45 years old in 2012, was shaped by a wide variety of songs including the Meat Puppets, The Vaselines, The Cars, David Bowie, The Beatles and Lead Belly. 


George Stroumboulopoulos put together an article where he stated the following about Cobain:


The playlist includes some of the more well-known influences on Cobain's style - Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Melvins, Butthole Surfers, Buzzcocks, Earth - as well as nods toward various artists that Kurt admitted to borrowing some ideas from (for instance, he said "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was an attempt at writing a Pixies song, and that the main guitar figure was "so close to a Boston riff").


There are also some unexpected choices, like Terry Jacks' version of "Season in Sun" - which Nirvana recorded an impromptu cover of, and which Kurt said made him cry as a child - and "Back In Black," the first song a 14-year-old Cobain learned to play on guitar. Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin make the list because Kurt and Krist Novoselic listed those bands as influences when they were advertising for a drummer. And Creedence Clearwater Revival is in there because the first band Krist and Kurt played in was a Creedence cover band.


Cobain’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” really defines my generation X days, and I still look to it as a great song to get me pumped up.  In much the same way that many of us need music to work out, we can also use music to get us into a vibe at work and, especially at meetings.


My pre-meeting playlist, which I store on my laptop, cloud server, iPod and Blackberry, is something that changes as my mood changes during the season.  It is 33 minutes long and it can be adjusted as needed for each time allotted.  Right now it is as follows:


1.       Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

2.       Mortal Kombat – Utah Saints

3.       Ah! Leah! – Donny Iris

4.       Superhero – Janes Addiction

5.       Desire (Hollywood Mix) – U2

6.       The Power (Dub Edit) – Snap!

7.       Sabre Dance – Gayaneh

8.       Crockett’s Theme – Jan Hammer (to set the final tone, it is slower)


But before we crank the tunes, there are other important factors that are needed to put you into the zone of success that is needed during any meeting or presentation.  Here are the basics:


Schedule the meeting/presentation


Everyone has a time that they feel best presentable, but this should never be a factor in choosing a time.  If you can’t choose a time to present, then make sure you do.  This is key.  Never accept a time to present yourself unless there is no other option.


I once had the terrible misfortune of being scheduled to speak on a panel at 1:30 in the afternoon.  Half the audience had gorged themselves at the conference buffet, and were barely able to keep their eyelids open.  Another time in New York, I attended an investment conference and went to the 7:30am keynote speaker.  Out of the 500 people that were supposed to be there, probably 100 showed up.  The reason?  There was a big bash put on by one of the sponsors, and most of the delegates were just not awake.


And late afternoon meetings and presentations are plagued with attendees who are tired, and who want to end the day.


The best time of day?  Late morning.  And if you can schedule one that ends in a lunch break, you are timing it perfectly.  This time of day allows people time to wake up and deal with emails, and so on that they need to get their day started. 


The incentive of an approaching lunch works two ways.   People who are hungry tend to be more attentive.  And it keeps a meeting from dragging on and on. This time is also good for customer meetings because you can invite them to lunch and continue your discussions informally.


And if you are presenting at a conference, then those eating lunch will automatically have a topic for discussion.  You and your ideas.


Get a great night’s sleep


This doesn’t just mean getting more than 6 hours sleep; the recommended minimum.  It is key to be in bed and be able to sleep uninterrupted for 7 to 8 hours.  Don’t watch TV beforehand, and instead, read a book and drink some herbal tea.


Do not drink ANY alcohol the night before


When I worked in the casino business, I found myself living in Las Vegas at least ten days per month for close to three years.  And in general, I stayed on the strip in a mainstream hotel like Mandalay Bay for the first two of those years before wising up to renting a small apartment off-strip.  During that time, I had to entertain a lot of people as my client base included A-List musicians including Madonna, Van Halen, U2, KISS, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson as well as major record companies such as Sony.  And I oversaw endorsement deals with the likes of Larry Holmes, Fuzzy Zoeller and Rodney Dangerfield.


On top of this, we had over fifty online casino and sports book licensees on my company’s roster.  And I advised major clients through the Gerson Lehrman Group including Vegas casino’s, New Jersey casino’s, hedge funds, investment advisors and Wall Street bankers on an ongoing basis, even speaking at events all over North America.


So you would think that when in Vegas, the booze flowed.  Nope.

On my first trip I was advised that part of my business was to work with Las Vegas casino executives.  It turns out that many are Mormons.  There is virtually no corner of Sin City they do not inhabit.


An excellent example is Richard Bunker, a former Clark County manager, former head of the Gaming Control Board, former casino executive and one of the country's top gaming lobbyists. A direct descendant of some of the region’s earliest pioneers and the son of a city councilman, Bunker too has dedicated his life to building Las Vegas by streamlining the infrastructure of what went on to become the fastest-growing metropolis in America.


Bunker then reinvented modern gaming to what it is today.


As a Mormon bishop, he doesn’t gamble and he doesn’t smoke.  And what I was told was that Mormon Casino executives would not take you seriously if you showed up to a meeting with even a whiff of alcohol coming from your body.  And having a few drinks the night before will mean that any excess alcohol will be excreted through the skin. 


Now I don’t know if this is true or not, but I never drank before meetings or presentations of any kind when I was in Vegas, something that sticks with me today.  Even a few cocktails at dinner the night before might lead to a restless night, and a groggy morning. 


Part II


Part II is about the morning preparation including the importance of eating a small meal, getting some exercise, dressing and of course, that musical pump up jam.


thanks for reading - Patrick Smyth