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ARTICLE
Pro Mobile Conference 2016
Mobile DJs embrace the chance to ‘grow together’ as the industry continues to progress through education, networking, new technology and positive professional development…

Building on previous outings by adding intimate workshops and more Break Out brands to its tried-and-tested combination of seminars and networking sessions, 2016 is arguably the year that the Pro Mobile Conference found its ideal format. Now in its fourth year, the event attracted professionally-minded mobile DJs from across the UK and Ireland for two focused days at the Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire.

Growing Together was this year’s theme, with Pro Mobile Editor and Conference Curator Eddie Short emphasising the importance of working as one industry in his inspiring introductory speech. He urged delegates both new and returning to share their ideas, offer their advice and to continue to build professionalism within the industry – all key elements of the Conference. There were also a number of changes announced regarding the future of Pro Mobile, with the launch of a new podcast series
[www.promobile.org.uk/podcast] and Digital Edition of the magazine available now for Android and Apple phones/tablets, all of which seemed to go down well with delegates.

Throughout the two days that followed, Eddie’s sentiments were echoed by delegates as they engaged with the keynote presentations, got stuck into interactive workshops, embraced the chance to network with like-minded DJs, and discovered more about leading manufacturers and associations in the Break Out Rooms.


Education

Pulling no punches during the first session of the day, Randy Bartlett and Peter Merry – both of whom have spoken at the event in previous years – kicked things off with their first ever joint keynote. This was a hilarious talk that saw the American visitors mocking one another while simultaneously delivering plenty of take-homes and useful ideas. Bantering with delegates, the duo soon had the audience on-side, leading into an insightful exploration of the ‘NIMBY’ concept; emphasising the importance of being different, taking risks and creating memorable moments by thinking outside the box.

In between the humorous observations of UK-US differences, Randy and Peter showed how entertainment elements do cross over, citing the increase in UK-based all-day wedding hosts/DJs and the general change in mind-set over recent years. Having used plenty of video footage throughout the talk, they ended the session with an example of a unique finale that let the party carry on – showing delegates just why these renowned American weddings hosts really are at the top of their game!

What is uncertainty? What are its effects? Are we safer playing it safe? And is risk really as risky as we think? These were the questions that Caspar Berry – ex-professional poker player and respected business speaker – put to delegates in the second keynote session of the Conference, after he opened his talk with a series of hilarious viral photos each portraying some kind of ‘big risk’. Using his experience in the world of business and drawing from his success as a poker player in Las Vegas, Caspar’s gripping seminar went on to look at everything from the butterfly effect to the concept of calculated risk, offering up fascinating facts and ideas along the way. He also stressed the importance of selection in poker, comparing it to when DJs are picking their bookings. Caspar then encouraged delegates to look at their own approach to business, pointing out that taking even the smallest of risks can bring about big success and concluding that playing it safe means standing still with your mobile DJ business.

The final keynote of the first day left every single person in the room astounded as South African mentalist Gilan Gork performed a series of mind-blowing feats, demonstrating mind-reading, hypnosis and influence on some unsuspecting audience members! Extracting information from one delegate’s mind by reading her body language, Gilan started the session by explaining how much information body language gives away, not only about us but about our clients too. Cleverly combining sidesplittingly funny tricks with more contemplative moments, by the time his unique session was over Gilan had shown DJs how to interpret meaning from a handshake or a hand movement, and how to influence clients by manipulating personal space, mirroring body language and adopting different seating positions.

The impressive educational programme continued on day two of the Conference, as Peter Merry returned to the stage for his talk on Innovation vs. Imitation. He started off by looking at the argument over Apple vs. PC and showed delegates an advert that pitches Apple as the true innovator. Exploring the area of diversification, Peter expressed the importance for DJs to build a team around them and find new ways to develop and expand the services they provide, using a hilarious skit on biscuit brand Oreo’s diversification into a series of semi-absurd flavours as an example. He also told delegates to experiment – to be different, to be themselves, to be a leader – and to continue with educational development by attending training courses, reading more and watching training DVDs.

Graham Jones – internet guru and former record industry professional – kicked off his Monday morning keynote with some startling facts and figures about the internet and our online existence. He then went on to ask ‘What do customers see when they visit your website?’ and even pulled up some websites owned by the likes of Pro Mobile, BPM, DJ Guard and other brands/individuals present at the Conference. Exploring web design, Graham expressed the importance of having an up-to-date website and offering users customisation when it comes to viewing and buying products and services online. Winning the favour of delegates due to his work in radio and his credentials in the record industry, Graham held the attention of the room throughout, hammering home his main point that engaging with people is the key to a successful internet presence – and that it’s never about you, but about your customer!

Bringing energy and humour to the first keynote session of Monday afternoon, BBC Apprentice star and fitness entrepreneur Katie Bulmer-Cooke took to the stage in the conference theatre for a talk entitled ‘No Added Sugar: PR Lessons From The Boardroom’. Holding the audience’s attention throughout, she used a series of funny but inspiring anecdotes – from her childhood to her teenage years and right up the present day – to show DJs the importance of perseverance, passion and individuality. Also exploring her early business failures and eventual success, Katie offered some vital take-homes on the importance of social media marketing, interaction with potential customers and having an awareness of current trends and news. An insightful anecdote regarding her application and interview for The Apprentice brought the talk to a close, highlighting the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone and always being true to yourself.

Following the final Break Out Session of the day was the hilarious return of Randy Bartlett, who took to the stage once again for his own seminar on ‘Transitions’. The perfect speaker to close the 2016 Conference, Randy used his trademark humour and video footage from his own gigs to show delegates just how effective good transitions are – as well as how disastrous bad ones can be! Encouraging DJs to see things from the point of view of the bride and groom, Randy demonstrated the importance of effective transitions during insensitive or negative moments, while also exploring important elements of speech, such as choice of language and vocal inflection. In true crowd-pleasing style, he closed the session by getting the whole room on its feet and clapping along to ‘Blurred Lines’ for a rousing finale!
The full article can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 77, Pages 58 - 62.
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