Love them or hate them?
It’s that time of year again when various organisations present awards to wedding industry suppliers across the United Kingdom. Personally I believe that anything that promotes the wedding industry, especially entertainment, has to be a good thing. Yes, I know that these companies are very much a business and that there is money to be made by holding regional events and extracting hard earned cash by way of entry fees and selling tickets to attend. However this is a very short-sighted and naive perspective. I prefer to look at the whole process as an ideal marketing opportunity for DJs to gain exposure to Brides, network with other local service providers and more importantly benefit from the scrutiny involved in the voting process.
It is probably fair to say that some of these companies host little more than a popularity contest while others are very much an examination of a DJ’s business process from first point of contact to post event evaluation. For me and a great many of my colleagues in the industry this is a great reality check. Many of us may think we are good at what we do but how many times do we actually canvas honest opinions, after the event, from our customers? How many of us use a third-party to Analise feedback and have them relate this to your marketing? Submitting yourself, and your company, to this competitive process can only help a DJ business improve what it does and raise their customers’ entire experience.
It’s not about winning, It’s about taking part.
Potential customers are not stupid. They are very well aware that judging any service or entertainer is very much a subjective process. You only have to take a look at “X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent” and ask yourself did the best act win to realise that you can’t take the results too seriously. However I will bet you that each and every contestant has become better at what they do, and how they do what they do, as a result of submitting themselves to the process. This applies just as much to those who never got through the initial selection process as it does to those who were finalists. So what are the benefits of taking part?
First and foremost this is a public Relations opportunity. If you are seen to be associated with Awards Competitions this demonstrates to potential clients your desire to achieve success and be recognised by your peers. Perception plays a big part in the buying process and if a client believes you are proactive and keen for success then they are more likely to want to have you entertain them.
Entry to Awards Ceremonies is money well spent. Where else could you get so much publicity for such little money? Seeing your name, your company name and details on third-party websites and in social media is priceless! Very often entry allows you to use the Award Companies’ Logo for your own social media and INTERNET marketing; how cool is that?
Going the extra mile
In all competitive situations success is achieved by way of demonstrating two things; achievement and difference. If a competitor can clearly identify his or her achievements and demonstrate their difference and furthermore be appreciated by their clients for both attributes, then they are more likely to be successful when it comes to award ceremonies.
Serious competitors seek help
It comes as no surprise that people who seek expert help and assistance do better than those who are self-taught and believe they know everything they need to know. wedding DJs are no different. I have been looking through some of the results from wedding industry awards competitions for this year and I am pleased to report that many contestants have invested in training.
Way back in 2002 when I first started out seeking advice about wedding entertainment and marketing my Mobile DJ skills and talent there was virtually no resources available to me in the United Kingdom. Today it’s a totally different story. Thanks to Pro mobile Magazine, The BPM Show, Pro Mobile Conference, The National Association of Disc Jockeys, The South Eastern Discotheque Association, AMPDJ, MDJN and individual Industry trainers, things have never been better.
Personally I am humbled and excited by the extent of success and recognition being shown to wedding DJs that I have been associated with [to a lesser or greater extent] over recent years. Below is a gallery of some that have been finalists and/or winners. Apologies if i have omitted anyone.
If you are reading this blog and you would like to know more about how I can help you achieve your ambitions please drop me a line; I would be happy to help.
This year will see me hanging up my headphones as I withdraw from performing at weddings in Cyprus. My last event will be on November 30th. The thought of no longer being involved with the wedding industry is quite scary. Therefor I have decided to continue with my one to one coaching and mentor program and also to launch a new Photo Booth hire service based in Paphos.
Paphos Photo Booth will provide a Magic Mirror hire service to Brides and party people throughout the Republic of Cyprus. The very latest in Photo Booth technology brings a fun and crazy atmosphere to any party where people gather to have a memorable time.
Touch screen technology allows guests to sign their name, write a message and add an emoji or two to the final printed picture. How cool is that? The Paphos Photo Booth Magic Mirror is also supplied with a comprehensive array of props including party hats, outrageous glasses and inflatable instruments.
The photograph with a customized frame commemorating the event is delivered within ten seconds from the side of the booth. Double prints are also available so that the party host can have copies of all of the action from the party.
Full details of my new venture can be found by following this url
I’ll keep you posted as to how the new venture develops over the coming months. Meanwhile if you have any questions or would like to know more about obtaining a Magic Mirror and setting up a similar venture please contact me.
Award-winning Wedding DJs – what’s all the fuss about?
It saddens me to read some of the negative comments coming from so-called fellow professional DJs regarding the validity, purpose, sincerity and how gullible they believe Brides to be when it comes to The Wedding Industry Awards. [Other, similar competitions are available] For the record, I have no connection with this or any other award organisation.
Paying to enter a competition
The biggest bone of contention appears to be concerned with the entry fee. I have seen comments relating this fee to “buying awards”, “Give me £50 and I’ll create an award for you” etc. This is a ridiculous assumption. The entry fee does not guarantee an award. The fee covers promotion of the business that generates the publicity and administrates the voting process. You can’t buy an award. The awards will be distributed based on a process of Brides’ testimonials and a panel of Judges which includes past winning DJs.
It’s just a marketing scam, a licence to make money!
Err no, it’s a commercial entity – a business. All businesses have to cover their costs and make a PROFIT. What’s wrong with that? It’s no different from handing over your money to an advertising agency and getting them to produce advertisements for you. At the end of the day there is no guarantee that the advertisement will generate business. It might, but it might not. Advertising is a gamble and so too is entering an awards competition.
Entering a competition is a marketing ploy.
Subjecting your business to scrutiny by third parties, inviting feedback from clients and then exposing yourself to an assessment process by other industry professionals is not for the feint-hearted. Your business needs to be robust. Your practices need to transparent and reputable. Standards will need to be well above the industry average for your area if you are to succeed at regional level and go on to National recognition.
Reluctance to encourage feedback
I really don’t understand why any wedding DJ would be reluctant to ask for a referral or a testimonial. Not doing so goes against just about every piece of acumen required to run a business. Successful businesses rely on recommendation. Satisfied clients are the most likely people to want to help you find more clients and share what they experienced. When I saw yesterday a comment from a mobile DJ saying “once the event is over I want to forget about it and move on to the next one”, I despair, I really do.
Being short-listed is great public relations and perceived credibility.
Being able to use the award company’s logo and mention your participation in the competition puts you one step ahead of the crowd. Perception is reality. To me, seeing such a logo would encourage me to think this company is proactive and striving to be different or recognised for what they do and how they do it.
Nay-saying DJs provoke me to think that they are jealous and know deep down that they are unable to take part because their business would not stand-up to scrutiny and they would fail in the assessment process. Their clients would not deliver the quality of testimonials required. “Better to stand back and criticise than to admit some competitors actually do have higher standards valued by clients”
Taking part is great marketing. Winning is the bonus.
So by now you will be getting my message. Taking part and putting your business through the voting process will at least be therapeutic and insightful. At best the results will be a wake-up call and will focus your activity to improve how you are perceived by clients and how you measure up to their expectations.
Winning a regional or national award will generate interest in your business. How you handle that interest and convert it into new business is another challenge. Winning can also bring traps and potential downfalls because potential clients now have greater expectations. So winning can be a burden if you do not live up to your new-found status. The challenge just became a lot more difficult. It’s not easy making your way up the ladder to the top in any walk of life. Staying at the top is infinitely harder, not least because the pack is clawing at your heals wanting to pull you back down.
Please, give credit to Brides, they are not gullible.
I see so many DJs putting words, or rather thoughts, into Brides’ mouths. The general public are far more savvy than the DJs are trying to make out. They are well aware of what is going on here. They have a choice and will without doubt question the validity of awards and the accreditation process. The fact that other DJs may be sceptical is understandable. Brides will be sceptical too but that will not deter them from making an informed judgement after due diligence. Not all wedding DJ awards are the same. Buyer beware etc, etc. It is what it is. Overall Awards are good for the industry.
Well done, I say, to all DJ companies who enter award competitions. Good luck. Thank you for helping to raise the profile of our profession. May you businesses live long and prosper. May your clients enjoy service and satisfaction that far exceeds the average in your market? Above all, congratulations for having the guts, business acumen and foresight to grasp a marketing opportunity and to expose your business to the real world. To the organisers of such award competitions I also offer thanks. Thanks for offering a platform that will spotlight our DJ industry along-side the photographers, florists and venue dressers. Thanks for investing in websites and social media and reaching out to our potential clients [Brides] in places often not available to humble DJs. Thanks for your knowledge of the marketplace, advertising and award ceremony organisation.
I’ve been buy adding more audio presentations and a brand new DVD “workshop” to my range of educational Tools for Mobile DJs.
In this, my first DVD, I concentrate on the words used when making an introduction. Not only are the words important, the way you say them is vital to the success of delivering the right meaning and emotion to your audience.
This one hour forty minute video demonstrates the methods, techniques and structure required to make outstanding Introductions whatever the occasion.
You can order a physical disc for £39 plus £3.20 shipping worldwide or you can get a download version in .wmv or .mp4 for only £30
Over 30 copies have been ordered in the first two weeks since launch and feedback has been most encouraging.
The content of the video is based on my very successful full day workshop of the same name which was very well received and enjoyed by the delegates who attended.
I have also updated all of the audio seminar presentations and rolled every one of them into a bundle offer for only £29. You even get a copy of my audio book for brides, worth £10, thrown in for FREE!
All of the audio presentations are provided in mp3 audio file format for download to your personal device. Please allow up to 24 hours after payment to receive your download links to the files.
For your convenience I have also added instant payment buttons to this website / Blogg which can be found on the Seminar, Audio Downloads and DVD page.
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?
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.
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.
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
Don’t you just love it when you receive a playlist from a bride and you just know it’s either too long or too structured.
As you may be aware, dear reader, I reside in Cyprus for most of the year and my clients are visiting the island to be married. Usually there are no more than thirty guests at the evening reception with a maximum so far of fifty on one occasion.
usually the wedding takes place between four and six in the afternoon and is followed by a drinks reception and the inevitable photographs including final shots taken as the sun sets which is around eight o’clock in the evening.
Dinner will be served anytime from six o’clock onward and speeches and those sunset photos will be intermixed within the time-line according to the venue and event coordinator’s agreed instructions from the bride.
Cypriot meals have a tendency to take far longer than those in the UK. Traditionally a meal is the time for relaxation, conversation and no one is watching the clock. This can come as a big surprise to visiting families from the UK. Inevitably this time factor eats into the allocated time for dancing. Believe me I’ve been present when the first dance scheduled for 8pm has not taken place much before 10 o’clock.
I guess we could lay the blame for this on the wedding event planners and the venues for not advising the bride or sometimes on the waiting staff for not being organised. However none of this prepares the DJ for the frustrated bride who simply wants to do her first dance and get the party started, especially when she has supplied you with a playlist running to four hours or more of music.
Communication is vital to avoid such situations alas very often the DJ has no or very little contact with the bride before the day of the wedding. All communication is with the tour operator or the venue and the DJ is only given the playlist and expected to fit a quart into a pint pot![ or whatever the metric equivalent may be]
My first reaction to this list was that it contained far too much music. It had a running time of seven and a half hours. I was also concerned about the bride’s allocation of times when music selections should be played. Apart from the early music for dinner I was concerned that her choice would be too much to her taste and not that of her guests. I doubted very much I could stick to this list and provide entertainment for all of her fifty guests. The reception was to be outdoors by a pool and music volume would have to be reduced significantly after 11 o’clock with the party finishing at 12 midnight.
Anticipating not being able to play all of the music I asked the bride to highlight in bold her “must plays” and then proceeded to refresh my memory by listening to the selected tracks and graded them by scoring each track as a 1 = great tune, 2 = definite maybe or 3 = doubtful to be well received.
On the day we juggled the photographs and the speeches by starting with the father of the bride’s speech and then taking the first course of the meal while the bride and groom went for their sunset photos. We then carried on with the other two speeches and toasts prior to the main course being served.
The mood was lively and it became apparent that i would not need to add much more to the older music selections. In fact I opted to introduce her “Other special requests” during the meal and was amazed when people started dancing at their tables and in front of my DJ booth. Before I knew it we had a party on our hands before desert had been served or any of the three spotlight dances had taken place.
We had to put the brake on, call a halt to the open dance and introduce the three spotlight dances. I suggested we start with the father daughter dance so that dad could hand his daughter to her new husband for their first dance. This worked really well. Finally we took the brake off and invite everyone back onto the floor for the third spotlight dance and sure enough our party was back on track.
It turned out that this bride did indeed know her family and friend’s taste in music very well. She was up for a party and so where all of her guests. My challenge was to keep to the time line. I managed this by editing her playlist with brutality. I stuck to her “Must Haves” and then selected according to my own scoring system. I removed over three hours of her music selections while retaining the order of her music choice rearranged into a more acceptable structure which maintained the energy and delivered a packed dance area throughout the night.
Indeed the night was so successful that they asked me to relocate to a room indoors where we continued to party on for another two hours. So I am delighted to say that my apprehension and doubts were unfounded and on this occasion my bride had proved to be the exception to the rule. She really did know better than me. I however used my experience and knowledge to take her idea and programme a playlist which evolved in real-time on the night. Together we produced a fantastic party which I am sure everyone will remember for many years to come.
The first thing I noticed about this playlist is that it had three and a half hours running time and that most of the tracks were popular choices which would work fine. Then I realised my bride wanted them playing in decade order starting with the sixties and working toward the present day. She later added another six current chart hits to the list.
I have previously encountered such lists with a similar structure and was aware that this may not be an ideal way of presenting this music for maximum effect. I had also noticed that the start time was 5.30pm. Upon arrival i was told that was the time of the wedding ceremony and that dinner would not be served until 7.30pm. Fine.
Once again the issue of speeches and time taken to serve and eat the meal were of concern. My bride was very demanding and was keen to squeeze in as much music as possible however she did not appreciate how long the meal would take. She had arranged for a videographer to come back at 9pm to film her first dance. When he returned some guests where still eating their main course which was the third item on the menu that night. Deserts where still to follow and so too were the speeches.
Eventually it was decided to hold the speeches once everyone had finished the main course. Desert would be relegated to after the first dance. I arranged with the bride and the videographer to insert a second dance into the scenario as the first dance was to be a special routine created by the B & G.
It was gone 9.30 before we introduced the B & G onto the dance floor and then invited the rest of the guests [only 24 in all] to join in to “My Girl” by the temptations. The instruction was to carry on with the playlist which i did. Once again I had to be brutal with removing tracks I believed would not work and also rearrange the running order to get best results. I removed one and a half hour’s worth of music yet kept the floor steadily occupied throughout the night. We had planned some slower quieter music for the final twenty minutes and finally finished on a high with “500 miles”
A good time was had by all and we finished on time which was essential as by law in Cyprus you can can not go on after midnight. All outside music has to be off or else you risk your equipment being confiscated and a hefty fine.
I don’t always know best despite my thirty odd years playing music at weddings. Brides sometimes do know better than us. Even with the best of planning time-lines slip. My job as the DJ is to make the music fit. I need to use my programming skills to ensure that the right music is selected and organised into the best order with the most chance of delivering a full dance floor to the satisfaction of my client. On both of these occasions I can honestly say Job Done!