Pro Mobile Conference 2015
It was business as usual in Oxfordshire, as mobile DJs from across the UK turned their attentions to focussed learning, interactive product demos and relaxed networking at the third annual Pro Mobile Conference.
Now in its third consecutive year, the Pro Mobile Conference probably needs no introduction to Pro Mobile readers. Its the annual two-day event where forward-looking, like-minded mobile DJs gather, not only to up their own game but to help others and the industry as a whole improve theirs.
The Conference was hosted once again at the luxurious Crowne Plaza Hotel at Heythrop Park, which sits in tranquil grounds amidst beautiful Oxfordshire scenery. The hotel also boasts a range of excellent facilities, including a conference theatre, ballroom and dedicated spaces in which the Break Out partners were free to display their latest and greatest products.
Suitably, the theme of the Pro Mobile Conference 2015 which took place from Sunday the 8th to Monday the 9th of March was Moving Forward. And, in order to put this motto into practice, more DJs than ever headed to Oxfordshire to engage in a productive 48 hours of educational sessions, product demonstrations and essential networking
After registering and spending some time networking with fellow delegates over a sumptuous brunch in the foyer, Sunday got underway in the theatre with a welcome from Pro Mobile Editor, Eddie Short. Lead Keynote Speaker, Peter Merry, then took to the stage to deliver his first session of the Conference.
Despite a slight setback involving stairs and a twisted ankle, the renowned US compere, MC and wedding DJ impressed delegates with a presentation all about celebritizing clients. He asked, What can you do to make your clients feel special? and advised delegates to make their future customers feel followed, cheered, pampered, spotlighted and remembered, using a number of his tried and tested methods including pizza meetings and sending cards on key anniversaries. Hilarious but informative throughout, Peter engaged with the delegates and even invited a volunteer onto the stage to show why its important to make introductions rather than announcements.
The following day saw Peter back on his feet and hosting a second session entitled Can I Have Your Attention Please? Using video footage, and a long anecdote about a hapless DJ who got everything wrong, to drive home his key points, Peter explained to delegates how it was the MCs job to get the audiences attention and to guide the event smoothly through its various segments. He also talked about how best to avoid certain pitfalls such as demeaning the audience and using repetitive phrases. Delegates then received advice on how to own the room and Peter even showed a video of himself doing just that, before running through a suggested framework for ensuring high standards.
Sunday also saw another American speaker DJ, host and bridal consultant Liz Daley take to the stage, as she showed delegates how to write a superb wedding script. Drawing upon her experiences across the pond, Liz covered everything from the importance of rehearsing to using lighting and music to make smoother transitions. Throughout the presentation she used American/UK differences as a source of humour, winning over the room (which was growing tired after a full day of seminars) by bantering with delegates and keeping their focus using snappy questions.
This years Conference wasnt all about the Americans, though. Sunday afternoon saw hard-talking communication expert Nigel Risner show delegates some new rules for better communication with their customers. Taken aback at first by his direct approach, the mobile DJs in the room soon warmed to Nigel, as he touched on some home truths and encouraged them to be in the room.
Drawing upon the content of his book Its A Zoo Around Here Nigel helped delegates identify which animal they were Monkey, Dolphin, Elephant or Lion based on their character traits. Be a zookeeper, he told the room, showing them how these animals could apply to different types of client and how each type of person needs to be communicated with in a different way. Nigel also tested the delegates determination, holding out a 20 note and waiting for the ball to drop, before one quick-thinking delegate bounded up to the stage to take it from his hand.
On Monday afternoon, delegates were treated to further seminars from marketing whizz Geoff Ramm, RSDmusics David Reed and the BBCs Jeremy Nicholas, making for a busy but highly rewarding final day.
Geoff Ramm kicked off his session by showing mobile DJs a clip of the classic Milk Tray Man advert, evoking laughter and instant engagement. With his seminar focussed on finding original marketing greats OMG moments Geoff used examples of clever social media solutions and physical marketing materials (such as glow in the dark business cards) to show DJs how they can get creative and think outside the box. He also encouraged them to always seize the opportunity and to take lessons from outside the marketing world, as well as within it. One aspect that went down particularly well was the section on personalised responses; the funny video replies or quirky hand-written notes that can turn mundane tasks into memorable moments.
Already won over by his unique sense of humour and passion for what he does, delegates responded just as positively to Geoffs follow up workshop later in the day. Using interactive tasks, he got DJs working together to find creative solutions for a range of situations. Delegates seemed to surprise themselves with the excellent ideas they came up with, helping one another to solve their unique business problems.
Returning for a third year, former DJ and founder of RSDmusic David Reed spoke to delegates about worth vs. pay, using his five step business builder to inspire DJs to ensure that they adhere to high standards and achieve more with their businesses. As well as encouraging DJs to seek critique from their peers, rather than a roadie or someone they know will be nice, David discussed the importance of building a strong foundation (improving music knowledge, presentation and self-promotion) and how to close deals and filter out bad enquiries.
The final session of the Conference was left to Jeremy Nicholas a writer and broadcaster with a razor sharp wit and a wealth of experience working for the BBC. His keynote seminar looked at the science of humour and how delegates could use comedy to improve their performance as a DJ. Engaging the audience with a few well-executed wisecracks about some of the delegates choice in football team, Jeremys dry sense of humour went down incredibly well. The broadcaster and commentator offered tips on writing funny lines, telling stories rather than jokes and effectively using running gags. But perhaps the most important guidance he gave DJs was Dont be a clown, be a wit!
Jeremy also advised delegates to find their own style and even got some DJs up on stage to tell their best jokes, making the final session of the Conference one that was side-splittingly funny but filled with vital nuggets of advice.
The final seminar certainly left Hampshire-based wedding DJ Carl Hirst satisfied. Its my third time, and this year has probably topped it all off, he said. Especially the last speaker, Jeremy he was just absolutely brilliant. Hes an idol, what with watching sport, and its good to meet the people that you hear all the time and get hints and tips from a true professional.
Pro Mobile equipment reviews are sponsored by insure4music.
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 71, Pages 22-26.