Leading a meeting is tough. It is even tougher when the meeting topic is an important issue that can potentialy change the organization. The longer the discussion, the more mentally drained the participants become and the chance of breaking out into song increases. A classic pop song, joke or snarky comment can elicit some much needed fun. Good leaders recognize the need for levity and are not quick to squash it. By sidestepping the formalities of a meeting and encouraging small outbursts of joy, a leader will establish another level of trust that will usually encourage more participation when you reel them back in.
Recently the New Zealand parliament considered the issue of gay marriage in their country. After the vote was announced that favored a new definition of marriage that included LGBT individuals, the galley broke out into song. The leader of parliament could have easily banged his gavel and demanded the room cleared, but I would like to think that he recognized the need for song. He could have invoked all levels of Roberts Rules of Order, but instead elected to let the happiness lift the spirits of all in the room. The issue was hotly debated and the work was tough on many levels, but if you watch the video above closely some of the politicians in the room were clearly on the losing side but could not help but enjoy the music.
Next time a meeting feels inflated with tension and hard feelings, I challenge you to break out into song. Let the music push out the weariness and let in a little light. I encourage you to share the perfect song for such an occasion in the comments below. Maybe we will make a mix tape.