I can’t remember who first asked me the question “are you well read?”. It could have been my good friend Jim Cerone, who some readers will know from the first Pro Mobile Conference or his wonderful Perfect Host article series. Or it may have been further back, when listening to DJA (Disc Jockey America), Mark Ferrell’s online radio station of podcasts for mobile DJs with contributors such as Jim Cerone, Bill Hermann and Peter Merry. At the time (10+ years ago) these were ground-breaking, coming long before the education that is now available to DJs for helping to grow and improve our service.
The premise was simply to know a little bit about a lot of topics so that on match day (i.e. the day of your event) you are informed enough to engage with the guests. In this article I will attempt to expand on that basic idea as well as discuss the wider benefits of the written word, audio books and – of course – podcasts.
But first, back to the original idea. What does it mean to be well read in the context of the mobile DJ world? Well, fundamentally, the concept is to gain basic knowledge (through reading, watching and listening) of a wide range of topics. This means that you can engage a wide variety of people in conversation about whatever it is that they find interesting. This will help you to break the ice with potential clients at meetings, guests at events and other service providers at networking events, which will ultimately help you to build relationships and rapport. However, this is a long game, as it requires covering a very broad range of subjects.
The same principle, however, can be applied in a more focused way to each of your events. If you were lucky enough to attend the first Pro Mobile Conference back in 2013 you would have witnessed Jim Cerone put this into practice; essentially he gave a personal master class in being the perfect host. Now, of course, it was a DJ Conference and Jim, being a very accomplished DJ in the States, had that connection with the attendees. But, beyond that, before the event he had done his research. He just seemed to know everyone already! He knew faces and names, and connected with everyone as part of his preamble. This meant that when it came time to speak, to deliver his seminar, he was no longer a stranger! He was a friend. Jim had done the research, he had found out about those attending the event and his fellow speakers. Put simply, he was well informed!
Taking this concept on board at your next event and doing a little research could really pay off. Consider how much do you know about the couple if it’s a wedding or maybe the guest of honour at a corporate party? What do you know about the guests attending or the company holding the event? From where are they travelling? What connects all of them and how. If it’s a company event, how is the company doing – have they had a good year? Do you know the names of the key players at the event and a little about their personalities? Finding out these details will enable you to engage with your clients and their guests better, and on a deeper level, which will ultimately result in a better party and more referrals.
All of this starts at the planning stage, challenge yourself: are you asking the right questions? The most powerful question to use when finding out about an event is ‘why?’. If like Bill Hermann, who was the keynote speaker at last year’s Pro Mobile Conference and a good friend of mine, you want to create a truly unique entertainment experience, you really can’t ask why enough!
Then comes the research. If, for example, the Bride’s family are coming from Wales and through asking the right questions you find out they are big rugby fans, do you know the team they support, if they are playing that day and how they are doing in the league? Or, as another example, football. If you know the majority of the guests at the reception follow a team, do you know enough about them to be able to hold a brief conversation about how they’re doing? A little research goes a long way.
If you are trying to stand out as an entertainer, as an all-day host or evening host/DJ, research is king. The more you know, the more it can positively affect what you do and say.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 93, Pages 34-36.