2013 What a year it’s been so far!

First DJ Workshops in Scotland

The year got off to a whirlwind start with Southampton, Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. “The Specialist Wedding DJ A-Z” was attended by 50 DJs from around the country and was a resounding success. Feedback from the delegates was very positive. Many of those who attended have since reported an increase in confidence and this is reflected by an increase in bookings and higher fees for services offered.

Wedding Marketing for DJs – The Book

new book cover frontIn February I received a phone call from Eddie Short the editor of Pro-Mobile Magazine. He asked me if I would be available to attend the first ever Pro-Mobile Conference in Oxfordshire in March? He also asked if I could present a seminar and casually dropped a bomb which took my breath away. “oh, and I’d like to finish the final edit of your book and launch it at the conference”.

The following four weeks were frantic to say the least. Not only did we have to revisit every word in the book, we also had to sort the art work and arrange printing and distribution. Eddie did a fantastic job. The book was proofed, printed and delivered with only a couple of days to go before the conference. Meanwhile i prepared my seminar, “Ten Top Tips for Wedding DJs” and crossed my fingers that all would go well.

Lifetime achievement award.

Little did i know, as my wife Carol and I boarded the plane, that Eddie and Co-Producer Mark Walsh had a surprise waiting for me. On the evening of the first day of the conference everyone attended a celebration dinner. The evening was an opportunity to network and to relax and be entertained among friends and colleagues from all over the Uk. Jim Cerone from the USA was the guest of honour and he was accompanied by his wife and sons. I was looking forward to the evening yet had no idea what was about to take place.

pro mobile conference

pro mobile conference

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Eddie stood up, went to the stage and announced the first ever Lifetime achievement Award for services to the mobile DJ community. I couldn’t believe my ears when my name was mentioned. Carol had to pinch me and when I accepted the award from Eddie. I was, for the first time in my life, speechless. It is a great honour and I’m humbled to think that my work has been recognised in this way by my peers for which i thank them most sincerely.

More Workshops.

While in the area i took the opportunity to repeat the January workshop for those who couldn’t make it and also repeated my original workshop, “Wedding Marketing for DJs”. Once again I brought the workshop to Reading, Bolton and Glasgow.

Wedding in Cyprus.

Upon our return to Cyprus I hit the ground running with the first of my weddings for couples who fly from The Uk and Ireland for a small intimate wedding in the sunshine on the “Island of Love”. The Summer was steady if not busy, considering the economic climate and problems with the local banking crises which had an impact in the short-term. Strangely July can be a quiet month for weddings on the island. This is probably because temperatures soar into the mid to high thirties centigrade and prices for flights and accommodation tend to be more expensive. The same can be said for August but the schools are on holiday and it’s easier to arrange for guests to fly out and accompany the bride and groom so August tends to be a busy month for weddings.

BPM Show – Birmingham – September

I love this show. It’s the biggest and the best of them all. I’ve been associated with it, in one way or another since before it’s inception. Mark Walsh and Eddie Short [and their team] work tirelessly to produce and present a spectacular three-day event which covers the whole spectrum of DJing. Alas, due to commitments in Cyprus, I could only attend the Monday this year. I was scheduled to present, “Ten Top Tips for wedding DJs” at 1.00pm in one of the four areas set aside for education. My area was sponsored by The National Association of Disc Jockeys and the line-up included Darren Latimer, myself, Tony Winyard, Paul Askew and Mark Walsh.

old friends with Justin

old friends with Justin

It was an afternoon when time whizzed by. It was fantastic to meet friends old and new. unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to spend with everyone as i would have liked. My Seminar was really well attended. Standing room only meant we had to encourage people to huddle-up and make more room. Afterwards i spent time in the NADJ networking area where I chatted to many new people who had questions to ask and wanted more information about what i do by way of education.

New Workshop.

Birmingham also saw the debut of my new workshop Entrances and Spotlight Moments. This workshop draws on content from Todd Mitchem who demonstrates how to recognise and use the focal point of a room when making introductions. This is a much more “Hands On” workshop and it encourages the attendee to grasp new ideas and techniques and practise them before his peers.

For the first time in Birmingham i held three workshops back to back. the idea was to provide a “Fast Track” experience for anyone new to the concept. It was hard work but very satisfying to see wedding DJs prepared to devote so much time to improving themselves and their services.

My trip was completed with yet another couple of workshops in Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. once again i was humbled by the number of talented DJs who came along and shared their experiences. Unfortunately i was taken quite ill on the night before the Glasgow workshop. I had been vomiting during the night and was nowhere near my best in the morning. However i struggled through and hopefully the guys didn’t miss out too much compared to my previous presentations.

Wedding Day Secrets –

Facts the Industry would prefer Brides don’t know.

Wedding Day Secrets

Wedding Day Secrets

This is the title for my new book for brides. I wrote it in July and managed to get it from conception to publication within four weeks thanks to a little help from my friends. Alan Marshall, Gary Evans, Paul Taylor, Stephen Davies and Tony Winyard all helped keep me focused and reigned me in when i got too controversial. The book takes the stance, “Brides Don’t know, what Brides don’t know”. this is the first book written by a British DJ which attempts to explain what actually happens on the day of the wedding. It focuses on Entertainment and the value which this brings to the occasion. The book is available as an e-book from Amazon in Kindle Format. It can also be read on any smart phone, i-Pad, laptop or PC by downloading the free apps from the amazon web site. I would recommend the book to all DJs as a reference guide and also to all future brides as an illustration as to how to achieve a day which is truly unique, fun and memorable.

Music Open Pafos 2013

Once again i was asked to co-host the third international festival for young opera stars in Cyprus. The evening took place at the Coral Beach Hotel in Coral Bay and it was a sell-out.

Music open pafos

Music open pafos

500 people were entertained to music which celebrated the 200 year anniversary of the composer Verdi. My co-host, Natalie made introductions in Greek and Russian while i did my best to offer translations in English. It was a difficult week working on the script and presentation but all turned out right on the night.

Bristol and Bolton –

Entrances and Spotlight Moments

I’m currently working on the final preparation for another couple of workshops in November. the hotels are booked, My flights have been arranged and all we need now are a couple more  brave DJs to join us for another adventure into the world of weddings and how to do things differently.

As ever I would like to thank everyone for their continued support, it means a great deal to me. I would love to hear your comments and suggests. please use the contact box underneath.

cheers,

Derek.


What Makes a Good Introduction?

When did you last witness a good introduction?

Was it on television, on Stage or maybe something you heard on the Radio?

More importantly, what was it which made it good, what made it memorable?

microphone

microphone

Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients which go into the making and the delivery of a memorable introduction. we will also look at some of the basic issues which surround introductions and some of the obstacles which can prevent your introduction from being as good as it could be.

I’m currently working with a group of around a hundred DJs around the country and much of what is written here is taken from my work with them.

Your Voice and Microphone are not enough!

It is a well-known fact that people only take in ten percent of the spoken word. That statistic is also dependent on you gaining the full attention of the person [s] you are speaking to. It you are trying to communicate to a room full of people, and you do not have their undivided attention, your introduction will be ineffective and you will find yourself having to make repeated announcements in order to achieve your objective.

Mark Walsh in action

Mark Walsh DJ / MC & Host from Preston.

When making an Introduction you should always start with your objective in mind. What is it you wish your Introduction to achieve? I would suggest you envision the outcome of your objective and then work back from that point in order to establish a sequence of events which will result in your objective being achieved.

let’s say our objective is to have a room full of people standing, clapping and cheering when you announce a Bride and Bridegroom into the room.

We now know our objective, next we need to think of all of the things which could prevent this from happening and also look at some things which will make the introduction different, exciting, enthusiastic, emotional and energetic.

Making a good introduction is similar to telling a good joke. It needs to be set up, the content should grab your attention and the punch line should be delivered with confidence. Timing is also important when telling a joke. The delivery needs to paced just right and your vocal inflection will enhance the end result.

Cover for audio MP3 download

Cover for audio MP3 download

Unfortunately many DJs and poorly trained venue staff rely solely on the very basic ingredients when they make an introduction. They will often repeat a tried and tested, and often tired, method of making an introduction. usually this involves clinking a spoon on a glass, or banging a gavel on a table to get people’s attention, followed by a very simple one-line introduction. “ladies and Gentlemen please be upstanding and welcome your Bride and Groom”

Is there anything wrong with this introduction – no, not really. Could it be done differently and have a greater impact – yes, most definitely.

So what do we need to consider when making introductions.

I’m indebted to my two Industry colleagues, Mark Ferrell and Todd Mitchem for their advice on this subject. You will find links to their web sites at the foot of this article.

It may surprise you that where you make the announcement / Introduction from is most important. Every room has a focal point. This is the point where your eyes are drawn to instinctively whenever you enter a room for the first time. this focal point in some rooms may be fixed and is created by a structure like a fireplace or a recess / alcove. However in modern featureless rooms the focal point will change based upon the way the room is dressed and items placed within it. At a wedding the focal point is usually the  “The Top Table” or The wedding Cake or the Dance floor.

Establish the Focal Point before you make your introduction.

Ideally you should make your important announcements from the focal point and not from your DJ stand or booth. This will mean you will need a wireless microphone and some method of controlling the volume level of your music remotely. This could mean using an assistant, having a remote handset or a method of introduction which allows you to move freely from the focal point back to your booth when required. [Staging]

Set up the introduction.

If, as in this example the intention is to introduce a bride and groom into the room this is not the time to introduce yourself. It’s a good idea to have already warmed-up your audience and gained their attention. I would strongly recommend that you introduce yourself at least ten minutes before you are due to introduce the guests of honour. This will help you establish the audience’s attention, build a rapport with them and use the focal point to your advantage.

News at ten method.

Todd also demonstrates that using what I call the news at ten method really helps you achieve your goal. If you watch the beginning few minutes of News At Ten you will notice that the first thing they do is tell you about what they are going to tell you about later in the show. So in our situation it’s a good idea to tell people what is about to happen. Instruct them as to where the bride and groom will enter and explain what they, the bride and groom, are expecting to happen when they make their entrance. It’s also a good idea at this moment to get some kind of moral committment from the audience that they agree to do what is expected of them, ie, stand, cheers, clap etc.

Use all of the senses that you can.

Remember the voice alone may not be enough. You may need to use either an energetic piece of music to generate some energy into the room. Likewise you may wish to use a softer more romantic piece of music to add emotion into the introduction.  On the other hand it may be a good idea to drop any music which may have been playing and use the power of silence just prior to making your introduction.

Lighting can also be employed for more dramatic effect. If you are able to suddenly flip the lighting colour of the room as you step into the focal point people will naturally stop what they are doing and look around. If you have dmx moving heads you may be able to produce a spotlight into the focal point or the point where the bride and groom are about to enter.

Choose your words carefully.

This is not a time for you to show off your “microphone Voice” or the inane “patter” some DJs are renowned for. This introduction should be short, sharp and to the point. introducing a bride and groom into the room is all about them and not you. Verbally less is more. In order to achieve your objective you need to think ahead and only use words which are succinct and relevant. Try to refrain from over use of “Filler” words like, “OK”, All Right”, “Now then”, “Please”, “Erm”, etc.

Most importantly think every introduction through well in advance and make each one different. Write what you intend to say down on paper, or enter into your Ipad [ other brands are available. Lol] and then rehearse what you intend to say. Strike out any words which are redundant. refine your introduction until you are comfortable with the content and it sits on your tongue with ease.

Personalise your Introduction.

At the very least your introduction should include the first and last names of your bride and groom. If they have chosen a particular piece of music to enter into,  you may need to make reference to it, or use its energy when you deliver the introduction.

Here is a recent example of an introduction I did at an outdoor event in Cyprus.

The Reception was held in a garden next to the waterfront and there were about 150 guests. The tables were spread around an area about half the size of a football field. There was no obvious focal point as the top table was positioned in one corner and the whole area was dominated by a stage prepared for the Band which was opposite where the top table was. I decided that most people would look to the stage as that was where any amplified sound would come from, and therefore chose to make my Introduction from the leading edge of the dance floor, which was positioned in front of the stage and was roughly in the centre of the field.

Previously everyone had attended a drinks reception over to my left in another area. The Bride and groom had gone off for sunset photographs and would be back shortly although I had no idea where to my left they would be appearing. Only my wife knew this and she would make sure they entered at the right time and from the right place. They had chosen a piece of music by “Pink” called “Raise your Glass” and the idea  was to make the introduction and time it so that they entered exactly as the words “Raise your Glass” were uttered. This is thirty-seven seconds into the song.

This is how i did it.

Sound engineer had the track and started to play it.

I had a radio microphone with auto voice override enabled on the sound desk and walked to the leading edge of the dance floor

The music has an energetic beat so my introduction was paced and timed to fit with the beat.

“ladies and Gentlemen” [wait for their attention and then add}

“This is the moment we have been waiting for” [ wait again as the music level increases]

“Everybody, stand up, and Clap your hands to the beat of the music”. [ Wait for people to do as instructed while i start clapping my hands above my head]

“Direct your attention to my left where we have just come from”

“And welcome Jo and Fi, the new Mr and Mrs Stamataris”

Needless to say the whole area was filed with people standing clapping and applauding as my B&G entered just as the lines “Raise your Glass” were heard over the sound system and people quickly picked up their glasses and started raising them in the air.

Job done – objective achieved.

I’d like to thank all of the talented, experienced and open-minded DJs who attended my workshops recently. If you would like to join us for a more in-depth look at how your introductions can be improved please visit the web site.

Thanks for reading, feel free to post your comments in the usual way.

Take a workshop – details can be found here

Reading

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More information about Todd Mitchem can be found here

http://www.mitcheminteractive.com/store.htm l

More information about Mark Ferrell can be found here.

http://markferrell.com/