Speaker and author Lee Silber gives the closing keynote Wednesday at the CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council Conference in San Diego.

The power of music

Songs have a universal influence on our lives, says Lee Silber.

April 28, 2023

Lee Silber believes in the power of music. “A song can take you somewhere else—back to a childhood memory or a wonderful vacation,” says the speaker and bestselling author. “It can motivate you, or relax you. It crosses generations. It pulls people together. It’s universal.”

Silber shared that power during his closing general session at the 2023 CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council Conference in San Diego on Wednesday.

He frames the power of music in the context of three R’s:

Reset. Songs and slogans have the power to drive people forward. Silber cites former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who summed up how iPod's revolutionized the way people listened to music with a simple slogan: “a thousand songs in your pocket.”

“Steve Jobs was great about that,” Silber says. “He could tell a story in the fewest possible words and create great excitement about it.”

People remember slogans from popular (and sometimes annoying) advertisements for the rest of their lives. Nike ("Just Do It"), Wheaties ("Breakfast of Champions"), and Bounty ("The Quicker Picker Upper) have all invaded the lexicon with catchy phrases that have lasted decades.

“The best company slogans capture the vision and ambition of the organization,” Silber says. “They sum it up with a single statement packed with meaning.”

Rethink. Songs have the power to change the way people think and feel, Silber says, adding that music changes body chemistry by elevating dopamine levels, which makes people feel better and focus more clearly.

“You’re better on music,” Silber says. “If you’re in a bad mood, or just getting started on your day, having some music in the background makes you feel better. It really works.”

He suggests people curate their own playlists of favorite songs to play as they prepare for the day or commute to work.

Recharge. Music has the power to reduce stress, increase motivation, and improve mood, according to Silber. “Music can reenergize us,” he says. “It has a healing power.”

Silber believes credit unions also pack power. A lifelong credit union member, he understands firsthand the power that credit unions have to make a difference in people’s lives—beyond their checking and savings accounts. He shared childhood memories of this father taking him to the credit union to make a deposit and receive a stamp in his savings book.

When Silber’s father passed away, several credit union employees attended the family's celebration of life.

“A retired branch manager approached me,” Silber says. “He told me how proud my father was of me, that he would buy my books and pass them out at the credit union. My father never told me that. That meant so much to me.

“Don’t ever underestimate how important credit unions are. Sometimes we use the word family lightly, but your business really feels like a family.”