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Beauty in banal settings

In an interesting confluence, in the past week I've run across three very different examples of injecting something unusual into the ordinary, with three very different results. Since every meeting planner I know is continually striving to find ways to surprise and delight attendees, I thought they might be worth bringing up here.

The first was this video of Naturally 7 Live doing "I Can Feel It In the Air Tonight" on the Paris subway:

Then there's this flashmob in Japan:

Finally, there's this Washington Post article about violin virtuoso Josh Bell and his Stradivarius playing busker at a D.C. Metro station (see article for a video clip). Unlike the other two cases, this was "an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

What is it that made the subway passengers at first ignore, then almost reluctantly get into the singers in the first instance; appear to love the dancers in the second; and basically ignore a world-class talent in the third? Think about settings, think about audience, think about expectations, think about context, think about surprise, and think about how what you can do to bring beauty that in turn will bring delight to your attendees.

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