Why do mobile djs question the need for training?

There has never been a better time to be a mobile DJ especially if you specialise in weddings. While club and pub work is good regular income the down-side is that competition is fierce and because supply outnumbers demand earning potential is limited.

In pubs and clubs the mobile DJ is working for two clients at the same time [the owner and the audience]. Sometimes the owner’s idea of music programming can be at odds with the audience which leaves the DJ with divided loyalties. This can lead to dissatisfied customers or to a disillusioned DJ and even worse a bewildered boss. Getting everything in harmony is more difficult than it looks. A good boss will appreciate the DJs knowledge, experience and expertise. A competent DJ will be able to read a crowd, be flexible regarding music requests and be a great communicator both on and off of the microphone.

Wedding DJs have a similar situation to manage. Their client is the person who engaged them, usually the bride. Her music tastes may vary and in some cases may have very little in common with her guests. This places the DJ in an awkward situation. How can you please everybody all of the time?

In order to tackle this dilemma we need to explore and understand why bosses and brides believe they know more about playing music in public than the professional mobile DJ does. Of course the answer is that they don’t. However they do have a fear and a lack of trust when it comes to handing over responsibility to a less than competent DJ. In order for us to take command and demonstrate our skill and talent we need to establish ourselves as experts in our field. We need to communicate effectively that we know what we are doing and that we are very good at what we do.

This kind of thing doesn’t come easy to DJs. I suspect most DJs expect to be allowed to do their own thing, after all is said and done their survival is based on their reputation…..or is it. Maybe things have got so bad that the clients are no longer interested in what the DJ thinks. Maybe these days they believe they can hire the cheapest Dj and tell him or her what to do. This includes making music selections [play-lists], advising on volume levels and what to say or not to say on the microphone.Little wonder average DJ fees are at an all time low.

And there lies the nub of the problem. “AVERAGE”

If there are too many DJs chasing too few bookings which pay low wages why would a DJ be bothered to challenge current beliefs and perceptions? To do so would require the DJ to bare his soul, insist that he knows more than his client and is prepared to demonstrate exactly HOW his Talent and EXPERTISE will make a big difference to the outcome of an event.

Unfortunately the majority of good mobile DJs struggle when it comes to marketing what they do and how they do it. Many have day jobs and they simply do not have the time to dedicate toward mastering the sales and marketing skills required to successfully communicate why they should be the clients first choice for a party.

The internet has a lot to answer for.

These days everyone communicates via email, social networking sites and information is exchanged via Blogs and web sites. The whole process of communicating has become less personal and mass media. Where people would once make a phone call they text. everything is dissected into soundbites. Twitter insists on the “meat” without the “Veg”

This week in the Uk a group of mobile DJs are attending a training course. This training has nothing to do with what they do, technically speaking, when playing music. Indeed general opinion is that teaching a DJ what to play and when to play it [with the exception of radio] is an impossible task. Mobile DJs and many club DJs are self-taught and have an instinctive ability to read audiences and make music selection on the fly.Whilst this is not an ideal method of learning a profession it is one which will over time weed out the wheat from the chaff. The competent DJ will prosper while the “Wanerbee dreamers” will fall by the wayside.

The amazing thing about this training for DJs and other training courses currently on offer is that they offer an insight into what customers really want from a service provider. Clients are better informed than they used to be thanks to modern technology. Clients have expectations which they expect to be met if not surpassed by their DJ. Thanks to YouTube they have seen plenty of examples of what they wish to avoid and they are better placed to make value judgements.

So like it or not modern mobile DJs will have to brush up on their presentation skills. They will need to be able to answer probing questions as well as being able to generate trust and confidence before an enquiry is converted into a booking. Modern mobile DJs will be aware that in order to separate themself from the competition they will need to know how to demonstrate just how different they are from other DJs.This may all seem pretty basic stuff to regular businessmen and women, alas it is still virgin territory for many DJs who still believe their music speaks on their behalf.

Today we have the opportunity to meet and learn. Yes many will argue that everything needed is to found out there in hyperspace and can be gleamed for free. Alternatively some DJs are keen to point out that their mates in forums and chat rooms can tell them all they need to know about any given subject so why should they pay good money for CDs, DVD’s, Books, seminars and courses?

For me the choice is simple. There is an easy way to learn or a hard way.

I can spend time trawling the internet looking for information or  contacting friends and acquaintances and asking them questions. Non of which will teach me anything, all I will gain is more information more facts. The biggest challenge is what you do with the information. How do you implement the facts and turn them into actions which will improve your business.

I can buy a copy of the Highway Code tomorrow but it won’t teach me how to drive a car or pass the driving test. In order to pass my driving test I will need an instructor, someone with a proven ability and track record of success. Investing time and money with a qualified instructor makes perfect sense. So too does the idea of seeking tuition from people who have been there before you, made all of the mistakes and found a better more successful way of doing business.

If you invest in formal training courses you take yourself out of your comfort zone. You expose yourself not just to the trainer but also to the other attendees. You share your experiences not just one on one but to the whole group. Very soon you develop an understanding of issues which not only impact on you but which are common to the whole group. Together you share points of view, experiences and ideas. Best of all you now have a point of reference.Questions can be posed and support sought not only on the day but subsequently. Feedback and support should be ongoing.

You won’t learn everything you need to know in one training course just like you won’t find the answers to your questions in one book or web site on the internet. the quest will be never-ending as indeed should be your development as an entertainer and performer. Footballers never stop being coached. Singers and actors need producers and directors. Mobile DJs need less ego and more skill. Training / coaching is the key which will lead to appreciation of your talent and your talent is valuable.

Some DJs maintain they can’t afford to pay for training. My response is you can’t afford not to. The cost of a course is the same as  purchasing a new microphone or mixer. It can be offset against your pre-tax profits and is therefore a legitimate business expense. The taxman is happy to pay for your training and ultimate success. The more money you make the more tax you will be paying.

This year I will be continuing my training courses for wedding DJs. There will be two in Bolton this May and a couple more in Birmingham this September. Details can be found here.

SEDAbuzz – a full day of learning is once again being repeated this year in June. Check here for details.

BPM DJ SHow will also be providing three full days of seminars covering all aspects of being a DJ – mobile, club and radio. Take a look here.

Also look out for local seminars and meet-ups organised by:

http://nadj.org.uk/

http://www.ampdj.co.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/groups/mobiledjnetwork/

best of luck, remember, DJs who learn more – Earn More – Honest!

Untill the next time, take care.Cheers.

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DJ Seminars – workshops – conferences what’s the difference

Seminar

A seminar is usually a taster. It is an introduction or an overview of an idea, a technique, a system, a service or a product The seminar is often given in the form of a lecture and will include the opportunity for questions to be asked of the presenter either during the event or as it is drawing to a close.This structure enables a large number of people to attend and evaluate whether the topic is worth pursuing or not as the case may be. Most seminars are of a duration of an hour or two or less.

Workshops

Workshops are more interactive and practical. The presenter needs to engage with the delegates as individuals. Therefore usually the number of attendees is strictly limited. Much of the content is designed to be one on one or delivered to small “breakout” groups. People who attend workshops should be prepared to get involved. Delegates will be expected to do some practical stuff related to the workshop theme. A workshop will also include some style of critique. The presenter and the other attendees will be expected to pass opinion on exercises undertaken by the group. A workshop can often be a half day or full day duration.

Conferences.

Conferences can take many forms. Some will consist entirely of seminars while others are a mixture of seminars and workshops. In order for a conference to be viable they tend to be held on a much larger scale. In many instances conferences take place in dedicated venues which are equipped to handle large numbers of people. The venue will also be equipped with state of the art audio and visual equipment and have catering facilities on hand to feed the visitors. conferences can be a one day event or anything up to a week.

Why should I attend?

People learn and evaluate new ideas in different ways. Some people can read an article on-line or in a book and translate the written word into a process. Others are not so fortunate. They need to be shown how something works. Many of us need to be “Hands On” in order to comprehend an idea or method. Seminars, workshops and conferences gives the attendee a chance to ask questions, see for him or her self and seek clarification and support from presenters and fellow delegates. Often other people in the room will share their experiences and knowledge of the subject so that others can reason and evaluate the topic under discussion “in the moment” rather than having to reflect or review what had been presented at a later date.

Cost verses value.

Generally the cost of attending an event is considered to be a legitimate business expense and is therefore a tax-deductible investment in your business. So one way of looking at it is that such education is free and that the real cost to a business owner is his time. Time invested in a business is precious so one would expect an educational event to result in added value to your knowledge and skills. Attending a seminar, workshop or conference will not in its self improve what you do in your business. Implementing new ideas, methods and systems will!

Networking – the added bonus.

A spin-off from attending educational events is the networking. Meeting and talking to people in your profession can be very therapeutic. You will be surprised at how many others are in a similar situation or who have similar issues and challenges in their line of work. Often solutions are shared in an informal environment over a cup of coffee or a drink in the bar. Simply knowing that you are not alone and that others are facing the same situations can be inspirational and will prompt you to see things in a new light.

Education can be fun.Take off your blinkers, step out of your comfort zone and S-T-R-E-T-C-H. You’ll be glad you did.


“Resident” Mobile DJs – is it good news for the client?

Many independent mobile disco operators & DJs aspire to landing a residency but is this really a good thing for the client?

[This refers to private parties and not bars or night clubs]

Traditionally the very term “mobile disco” relates to a DJ who transports himself and his equipment to a venue where he recreates the discotheque atmosphere in a room which would otherwise be devoid of professional sound systems, flashing lights and non-stop dance music. He or she delivers everything needed, including an extensive music library, and the ability to read an audience while keeping the dance floor packed all night long. In return he receives a fee which reflects the fact that this is no easy feat, one which few people can achieve and is therefore financially rewarding.

The mobile DJ needs to find his own work. He is independent and therefore  seeks out his clients by marketing his services via word of mouth, flyers, business cards and web sites as well as  referrals from satisfied clients. Very often third parties such as venues are impressed with the standard of performance and they offer to take contact details and pass them on to people interested in hiring their venue for a party. This is good news. Venues are keen to recommend service providers who do a good job. They are also happy to refer DJs who work well with the staff and “fit in” with the logistics involved in hosting a party for their mutual customer.

Some venues go one step further and are happy to offer a single DJ to become their “Resident DJ / Disco”. The venue knows who will be playing the music and the customer gets an entertainer who is recommended and is guaranteed to do a good job [theoretically]. The mobile DJ likes the idea of regular work at the venue which means he or she will not need to spend as much time and money on advertising his DJ service and finding his own clients. It looks like an ideal partnership. A win-win situation – but is it?

In an ideal world it probably is but this is not an ideal world. Firstly we need to consider the end-user by which I mean the person whose party it is. Is it possible for one DJ to be sufficiently talented, skilled and experienced enough to cover every type of party offered to him? Is it conceivable that he can deliver the same standards night in night out to the diverse eclectic clientele offered by the venue. Is it likely that the resident DJ would ever refuse to host a party because he admits he is not proficient with a music genre or a type of client?

Secondly we need to appreciate the venue’s position. They are looking to please as many people as possible. If they perceive the entertainment as “Music and Lights” and are looking for a predetermined level of service from their DJ it may well be the case that a “Jack of all trades and Master of Non” is what they value.

In other words the whole idea of resident DJs in venues works for the venue more so than the DJ or their client for that matter.

As in all walks of life there are exceptions to the rule. There are I’m sure Resident DJs who have the wealth of knowledge, skill, talent and experience to provide excellent performances for varied clients. Unfortunately they are difficult to find and their residencies are under threat. They are under pressure from venues and accountants who are keen to take advantage of the DJ’s vulnerability.

Venues are being constantly approached by DJs who want a slice of the action. You can guarantee that a venue will receive requests for meetings or offers of low-priced fees for regular work from dozens of DJs each and every month. These DJs are eager to get regular work, many have full-time day jobs and are therefore not able to spend time seeking work from individual clients. A residency is seen as easy money and they will be happy to undercut the existing fees attributed to the current resident.

All too often the accountants rule the roost and the pressure to reduce costs is too great to ignore. Quality is subjective and as long as none of the end-user clients complain then where is the harm in opting for a more competitive price? Unfortunately once a venue takes this stance the whole situation becomes desperate. More mobile DJs are keen to offer their services and the price keeps being driven down as is the standard of service offered. So what started out as a good idea quickly becomes a bad idea especially for the DJs and the end-user clients. The venues are left with mediocre talent and parties which at best may only be described as average.

Ironically the mobile DJ has become his own worst enemy. In chasing what seemed a pot of gold he has helped devalue the pricing structure and played into the hands of the accountants. Clients are suffering as standards fall and all DJs are being tarred with the same brush.

Preferred suppliers;

Good news. All is not lost. There is an emerging breed of DJ who is carving a new path through the doom and gloom. The new thinking is based on individual personalised marketing. Some DJs are now opting to offer their services as preferred suppliers to a venue. They are looking for referrals based on a client’s needs. They are prepared to offer their services directly to the end-user client but not to be held to ransom by the venue. Developing this relationship also means that the venue would be encouraged to offer a selection of preferred supplier DJs to their clients. This would create competition based on talent, service and professionalism. It means customers have a choice. They can make an informed decision based on their needs and not the needs of the venue.

Overcoming the accountants may well be a stumbling block. In order to become a preferred supplier the DJ may well have to offer a commission or finders fee to the venue. This is not uncommon in the industry and if all is above-board and transparent then it is an acceptable cost of doing business.

If I were planning a birthday party, corporate event or a wedding I’d be suspicious of a venue offering me a resident DJ. Who are they to tell me who will entertain at my party. They don’t know me or have any idea what my tastes are. Choice is what I want. Let the venue recommend by all means but please leave the final decision to me.

Let me apologise in advance if this blog has offended any of my fellow DJs. It was not my intention to offend anyone. My aim is for all of us to reflect on the state of the market as it is today. We need to be honest with ourselves. We need to know our limitations. I write from experience.

Think of me as poacher turned gamekeeper. I have held residencies in venues. I admit to becoming complacent. It’s so easy to think I can play the same music on Saturday for a wedding that I played on Friday for a birthday party, How difficult can it be – play the current chart music and throw in a few requests if I happen to have them, right?

I have been a multi-operator / agent. I’ve been shafted by DJs who worked for me and screwed by venues who wanted to reduce my fees.I’ve booked DJs who have proved inconsistent and unreliable. I’ve worked with some fantastic talented DJs who are much better than I could ever hope to be.

The debate will continue of that I am certain. However the question still remains. Are residencies all they are cracked up to be. Whose interests do they best serve – the DJ, the client or the venue?

Answers on a postcard please – or you can leave your comment below.


There is a new breed of wedding DJ in the UK

New image – new skills – new focus – new ideas – new clients.

There is a very quiet revolution taking place across the United Kingdom.
Mobile DJs are shedding their dated images. Gone are the huge speaker systems which deafened audiences. Gone are the banks of flashing lights and strobes which dazzled and bemused your guests. Gone are the egotistical “all about me” DJs who are only interested in playing their music and consider the party to be a huge success when the dance floor is “rammed”. [Even though you can only get twenty people on the dance floor and there are 200 people at the party]

If you look in the right places you will find a new breed of wedding DJ. One who has embraced new technology and invested in a compact sound system which still delivers great digital sound but does not need to be the size of a wardrobe. The lighting has also been reduced to create a more sophisticated, soft and atmospheric effect. “Mood lighting” can now illuminate the venue walls as well as the dance floor.

Dance floors too are changing. Drab wooden floors are being replaced by stunning sparkly floors which are available in a variety of colours. Available in Black, white and pink [or a combination of the three] as well as floors which can change colour at will thanks to modern LED DMX technology.

More and more brides are concerned about the “Look” of the venue and our new breed of DJs appreciate this and are investing in new equipment which facilitates this new image.

The Specialist wedding DJ is also investing in himself and developing new skills which enable him or her to offer new services which are a natural extension to his existing music and sound knowledge base.

Civil Ceremony.

Many DJs now offer a custom music package to enhance and compliment a civil ceremony in a hotel. They will work with a bride to ensure that the selected music is played at the right volume and most importantly is edited to ensure maximum effect especially during the processional and recessional stages of the ceremony.

Grand Entrances;

First impressions count. You DJ has the ability to introduce the bridal party into the room. He can select rousing, dynamic sound beds which will add tension, suspense, emotion and energy into the room. If you want your Wedding Breakfast to “get the party started” you would be well advised to seek out a new breed specialist wedding DJ.

Master of Ceremonies.

If you would rather not have a professional Toastmaster host your wedding reception why not ask your DJ to be the MC. Many DJs have this skill set and the talent to make announcements. Usually this is in a far more relaxed style and one which reflects your personality. Many DJs are now researching the Toasts and traditions associated with weddings and are keen to share and introduce to you little “Spotlight Moments”. They are designed to personalise your wedding and make it be remembered as being different and special. Microphones are also often provided for toasts and speeches should they be required.

Cake Cutting

Do you know why there is a wedding cake? More importantly why you need to cut it and share it with your guests? Will you pose for the photograph, stick a knife into the cake and have it taken away to be cut or will your DJ / Host do it differently. Will he or she share the history and the full details of the ceremony and invite you to “Spotlight” that moment by doing something your guests have never seen before?

First Dance – Father Daughter Dance – Family dance.

A wedding reception party is like no other party and is a one-off, never to be repeated event. How will your first dance be received by your guests, Will they be involved or will it go unnoticed . Has anyone ever mentioned the idea of the bride dancing with her father to a special tune? How about the idea of a custom song for the bridal party – a family dance. “Spotlight moments” don’t just happen. They need to be organised, produced and directed by an expert. In this case the expert is our new breed of specialist wedding DJ & party host. He or she has the skill and talent to present these dances in such a way as to involve every one of your guests. Photographers and videographers love the way such dances are produced. Your guests will enjoy them too. In fact they will be talking about your wedding reception for weeks, months and years to come – for all of the right reasons.

Enjoy your wedding, relax in the knowledge that the celebrations are in good hands. Seek out a new breed of specialist wedding DJ today and set up a meeting. You will be pleasantly surprised how things have changed.

Where can you find the new breed of wedding specialist DJ?

Organisations like The National Association of Disc Jockeys, or  The South Eastern Discotheque Association and The Alliance of Mobile & Party DJs   would be a good place to start. There are also a number of groups on Facebook wher you can find like-minded DJs. Mobile DJ Network is one such group.


Beware UK Hotel Packages which include the DJ

Some things Brides and DJs need to know about UK Hotel wedding packages.

In this economic climate I can understand why hotels are keen to offer “Wedding Package Deals” to their customers. It is a very competitive market and business is tough. Brides are conscious of keeping their budget under control and value for money is an important part of the process when hiring service providers.

However cutting costs too far can be a false economy especially when slashing budgets may well mean poor quality and indifferent service. Saving money on products can be a good idea especially if the consequence is negligible. Choosing a Chicken dinner instead of Beef or a less expensive Cava instead of Champagne will save money but will not detract from the overall enjoyment of the event.  Services however are a whole different ball game.

Cutting costs on services can seriously impact on the guest’s enjoyment. When a hotel claims they can provide certain services usually associated with other professions please be very careful for all may not be as it seems. The hotel “Wedding Planner” or “coordinator” may well believe that such services are a great reason for clients to take the package but in my experience, and many of my colleagues, what is provided is often below parr.  All too often they result in a bland, stereotypical production line wedding reception no different from the one the day before. Where is the personalisation, how unique will the service be and who is guaranteeing the enjoyment of the guests?

“Our Duty Manager as your Master of Ceremonies”

How experienced is this member of staff. Does the bride have the opportunity to see an example of his work. Very often the hotel won’t even know who this individual will be until nearer the date. Staff members come and go, and rotas are not prepared much more than a few days before an event. Do brides really want to take a gamble when it comes to being introduced into the room and announcements made for toasts and speeches. Is it acceptable for Mr and Mrs Jones to not be referred to by their first names and does the father of the bride wish to be called Jack instead of John or is he to be announced as Mr Smith?

You DJ is included in the price.

This is scary. How can a hotel use the same DJ day in day out and guarantee that their DJ can provide a unique, fun and memorable entertainment experience for everyone. Maybe they can. Maybe the DJ will agree to meet with the bride ahead of the date and will work with her to create something special. However I doubt it.

In my experience in the majority of instances the in-house DJ supplied by the hotel will not be available to meet with the bride. This DJ is probably, but not always, supplied by an agency or is part of a group of DJs who work for the Hotel. Remember this, the DJ is working for the Hotel and not for the bride. The hotel has its own criteria for using this type of DJ. Generally speaking a hotel is terrified of a failure for a DJ to turn up so they insist on using a DJ service that can cover sickness, accident and unexpected events at short notice. The hotels just want an average dependable DJ and surprisingly they expect to get such a DJ for very little money. Worse still, many hotels actually make money by offering this kind of package. You can be assured the DJ does not receive the fee mentioned in the advertising.

Who gave them the right?

A wedding reception is a once in a lifetime event. Two families are being united for the first time. Guests are travelling often many miles to share this special occasion. The wedding breakfast and the reception afterwards should be a reflection of the personalities of the bride and her bridegroom and families. Who gave the hotel the right to treat entertainment as a product like a cheap bottle of wine?

You don’t know what you don’t know.

If no one mentions the DIFFERENCE a QUALITY, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL DJ or MC can make to a wedding then the bride will be left in the dark completely unaware that there is a better alternative. I heard the other day of a venue who wanted an independent DJ to be their wedding package DJ after he did a great job at the hotel’s Christmas part season. He was happy to oblige but was disappointed when the hotel only offered to pay him less than half his usual fee per wedding. It turned out that their usual wedding DJ was, in the words of the hotel, “crap” and they wouldn’t dream of using him for an event held in their name. Yet they are happy to have him “entertain” at a wedding reception!

Do you really want to end up with a MacWedding?

There is a better way. There are DJs & MCs out there who are specialists in wedding entertainment. They will want to meet brides and help plan the party. Many will have lots of ideas as to how to introduce special “Spotlight Moments” into the proceedings where all of the guests can be part of the celebration.  My advice is to seek these specialist wedding DJs out and do the research. Insist on meeting a “house” or “resident” DJ and ask them exactly how they intend to entertain your family and guests?

Level playing field.

Not all resident DJs are as previously described. There are some very good resident DJs who do offer a personalised service. They will meet with brides and they will work with them to help create something special and memorable. Sadly they are few and far between and are difficult to find. They will price their service according to the time taken to plan, prepare and customise their performance. They will not be cheap. They will represent good value for money and will be backed by testimonials from satisfied clients.

The same is true of venues. Some venues are very customer focused and appreciate the value of professional services. These venues will offer a choice of service provider and will encourage clients to meet and talk through with them their requirements. A venue which recommends clients select their service providers [all be it from a preferred list] and is prepared to work alongside them is a much better option in my opinion.

Why?

When a venue starts trying to tell brides they must have a particular DJ they need to ask  why. The venue will mention things like insurance, back up, reliability. These are red herrings. A good local Independent Wedding DJ or “Specialist Agent” can match all of these “reasons” and deliver much more. Think about this? Venues don’t say brides must use this Band for live music so why are they being allowed to say which DJ should be used?

Unfortunately there are more DJs out there than brides. Many DJ’s treat a wedding like any other party. In their eyes the reception is no different from a birthday party. They believe it’s all about the music and that whatever was played last night will be more or less the same tonight with one or two requests thrown in. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A wedding reception brings together people of all ages with a huge difference in musical taste. The specialist wedding DJ needs to cater for everyone in the room and focus on the bride and groom’s personal preferences in a way in which they are represented and presented to their guests. The specialist wedding DJ knows that the reception requires more than just great music to interact and entertain all of the guests.

It’s not WHAT a DJ does it’s HOW he does it which gets results.

How are a bride and groom going to be announced into the room?

How will the cake cutting be announced?

How will the first dance be staged, directed and produced?

How will the party finish, with a bang or a whimper?

What will the guests remember weeks, months and years after the event?

Is it worth the risk, the gamble, of hiring a cheap unknown DJ for the most important day of a bride’s life?

Please do the research, don’t accept anything a venue says without checking out the details and do please seek out a professional Wedding DJ and ask the right questions.

Beware of the phrase, “we always do it this way”

Save money

Engaging a DJ / MC directly can often save money too. Very few are VAT registered where as every venue will add VAT to the bill. The extra 20 percent could go a long way to helping make the day “perfect”

Congratulations, good luck and best wishes.


The difference between Toastmasters, MCs and wedding DJ specialists.

There has been a great deal of debate regarding mobile DJs who are turning their attention toward expanding their services and presenting an alternative to the current choice of formal toastmaster and hotel duty manager, or family member, acting as a MC. So what is the difference?

Toastmaster:

Geoffrey Cornwell is a well-respected toastmaster. His website offers this explanation.           “A Professional Toastmaster is trained to find out what you want and to then liaise with everyone involved on your day.  He will work with all parties concerned and with your guests to ensure that timings and arrangements are complied with as you have requested them.  He will work closely with your photographer, caterer and other services to ensure that the day runs smoothly.  Your Toastmaster will guide you through your day and look after your guests to ensure that you enjoy a stress-free special day.”

He goes on to explain, “I will be available to advise you in etiquette and protocol from the day that you decide to use my services.  I can call on a wealth of experience to help you make decisions about your big day.  I will liaise with the other service providers to ensure that we are all working towards the same goal, which is fulfilling your wishes and giving you the best day of your life.”

MC:

An M.C. (Master of Ceremonies) generally will make announcements only, which will not necessarily be personal to the bride and groom. According to The Free Dictionary an MC is

1. A person who acts as host at a formal event, making the welcoming speech and introducing other speakers.
2. A performer who conducts a program of varied entertainment by introducing other performers to the audience.

So to my way of thinking there is no way a mobile DJ would or should ever consider comparing himself to a Toastmaster. His [ the Toastmaster] duties are heavily steeped in organisation and formality. He is usually authoritative in his demeanor and posseses a vocal ability which will not require a microphone except for the very largest of venues.

So where does the mobile DJ / Wedding Specialist fit in to the picture?

The DJ is well suited to taking on the roll of the MC. However the big difference between a conventional MC and a DJ / MC is MUSIC.

Music enables us to customise and personalise our announcements while also creating energy and emotion at one and the same time. Our use of professional sound systems and our microphone technique enables us to present introductions like no ordinary MC.

Jim Cerone, “The Perfect Host” is a DJ who has mastered the art of using creative music programming, presentaion skills and making announcements to great effect.
If we as DJs are able to communicate our difference and offer our brides a choice between toastmaster and conventional MCs we will be enhancing the occasion and presenting an alternative. We are not trying to replace either of these services, rather we are offering a brand new and unique service which the Toastmaster and ordinary MC are not able to offer. In short we are creating a new market which has not previously existed.

The only problem is that our brides have no idea that such a service is available to them. That is, until you tell them or you develop a reputation which results in your service being recommended by other wedding professionals.

Our knowledge of music and our ability to use it to create emotion brings another dimension to a wedding breakfast and wedding reception. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination. I have provided themed music where inspiration was provided by great theatre musicals, The Movies, Disney and  the swinging sixties to name but a few.

I’ve introduced a Bride and Groom into the room using classical favorites, love songs and even heavy metal numbers, all to great effect.

However taking on this new role also requires a great amount of responsibility. The DJ will need to know the procedures and traditions associated with weddings. He will also need to be aware of agreed time lines and of the obligations undertaken by other service providers. Most importantly he will need to establish trust with the venue management, none of which is easy or can be achieved overnight.

The Specialist Wedding Dj will need to develop his vocal skills and understand the importance of staging, direction and production. He or she will also need to be an excellent communicator.

In summary a DJ / MC needs to research the market, acquire the knowledge and develop a style which is unique. A style which is flexible and one which can best reflect his client’s personality and the kind of informal yet respectful performance best suited to his client.

This is an exciting and attractive opportunity for the new breed of professional wedding DJs. There are an ever-increasing number of professionals currently offering this unique service which is being well received by their clients.

Isn’t it about time you joined them?

Until next time………………………..

When it comes to learning It pays to travel

small workshop group

watching a video clip

As I prepare to embark on my return to the UK, and put the finishing touches to my new workshop for mobile DJ wedding specialists, I am reminded of the objections some people have toward traveling outside of their locality for education and training.

It appears everyone wants a workshop in their town. I understand how convenient this would be however my experience is that generally it’s impractical and almost impossible to accommodate such requests. Unfortunately  there are not enough mobile DJs interested in such events at the moment.

Ironically attending a seminar or workshop in your own market could work against you. Very often travelling to another area allows you to meet and share with people who are not your competition, or at least perceived as such.

My workshops held in Birmingham were well supported. DJs from all over the UK came together to learn and share without concern that they would be giving away their secrets to others who may use them to poach potential clients.

It’s refreshing to note that mobile DJs such as Alan Marshall. Mark Walsh, Eddie Short, Brian Mole, Barney Grossman, Martin Keogh, Gary Evans, Gary Jones, Adam Forgie, Clive Hodghton, Simon Fletcher, Sandy Sounds & Paul Smith and many more have all seen value, as I did in 2002, of traveling to the USA in search of knowledge and training.

MobileBeat 2012 Classroom style

an interactive sesssion

Thankfully ten years later people like Toby Oakley, Brian Marshall, Mark Walsh, Brian Mole,Ken Savage & Brian Roe as well as Johnathan Lewis are breaking new ground and providing more education and training for mobile DJs.

NADJ, SEDA and AMPDJ are all offering practical support to help DJs benefit from the wealth of expertise which is abundant in the UK today. They regularly organise events throughout the year where members and guests are invited to develop their skills and learn about new products and latest technological developments.

Up and coming opportunities in 2013 begin with my workshops in January followed by MobileBeat Las Vegas in February. March sees the BPM / Pro-Mobile weekend conference in Oxfordshire which features “The Perfect Host” Jim Cerone. April and May sees the return of Mark Ferrell to the UK with a series of workshops  teaching and coaching the art of being a professional Master of Ceremonies.

As I write this blog places are filling steadily for my Wedding DJ  workshop in Southampton, Maidstone and Glasgow while Reading is almost sold out. Reading is a place I have held previous events and many of the attendees are repeat customers.

The reality of the situation is that many of the DJs in the room will have travelled anything up to a hundred miles to be there. Most will have travelled around forty miles or so. Yet within an hour or so of the start of the workshop I can guarantee that the idea of protecting their secrets will have melted away.

Attending a workshop will enable you to embrace the notion of fraternity. You are all in business together but you are not in competition with each other. How can you compare another DJ to yourself. He is different. He has different skills, level of expertise and experience. He may do similar things but he will do them differently to you. More importantly the clients he wishes to attract are most certainly different from the ones you may wish to work for.

Another point to remember is that typically in a workshop there are usually a dozen or fewer attendees. In any city on  a weekend how many weddings are there likely to be taking place. How many venues are licensed for civil ceremonies? How many churches are there to choose from? There are plenty of opportunities for all, especially for those DJs who wish to specialise and be identified as different from the rest.

So, whilst it may well pay you to get out of your comfort zone and visit another area I understand sometimes this is not possible. If one of my workshops is being attended primarily by “Local” DJs I will go out of my way to put attendees at ease. Nobody need share a “secret”. There will be more than enough ideas and content for you to take away. I will be sharing not only my own content but also I will be showing you where you can get more support from experts in the UK and overseas.

Travelling outside of your locality can be seen as inconvenient however for me this is more than offset by the new, fresh environment which adds to the experience. Meeting new people in the same business and exploring how they deal with situations common to us all is refreshing. Remember too, all travel and costs associated with learning are legitimate business expenses which can be offset against tax.

It’s not very often the Tax Man gets to pay for something of benefit to you

Until next time………….