An article written by Anthony Winyard and published in Pro Mobile the magazine for Mobile DJs, issue 64 March 2014.
Face Your Fear
When you think of the word “Change” what does it represent to you?
Maybe the 80s band featuring Luther Vandross?
or the coins in your pocket?
or do you have Metathesiophobia?
Which means for you change is something to be feared?!
After the fear of public speaking, change is something that many people fear most, because often people tend to prefer the familiar. These are the typical responses to change for many people;
Because life is comfortable and you see no reason to change it, everything is nice and familiar, whereas change represents the unfamiliar and that might be scary. Just look at the huge amount of public outcry all over social media whenever Facebook or Twitter etc. dare to make a change, yet within a short time, it’s all forgotten about, as by then it has become familiar.
Fear of Failure
Some fear change because they have grown up in an environment where failure is a bad thing, and by its definition, change has a good chance of failure attached to it, so therefore many would rather not face that prospect if they have the choice.
For some people change causes indignation, because they feel that they simply don’t have the time to learn a new set of procedures in order to carry out the task they’ve been doing for so long they are able to do in their sleep!
However, for those who embrace change it can be riveting and exhilarating, as well as rewarding, when it means a new skill or service has been learnt, and for a mobile DJ that could be the difference between a potential client choosing you or your competitor down the road.
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
–Harry S Truman (attr.)
In the ‘good old days’ there was very little training that a mobile DJ could undertake if they wanted to expand their skillset other than perhaps lessons on mixing or scratching. Even as recently as the last five years there has been little on offer in the UK.
One of the first people to offer DJs any form of training was Derek Pengelly with two work- shops entitled ‘Wedding Marketing for DJs’ and ‘Unlock the Cash’, which opened the eyes of many wedding DJs to learning new skills. Skills that could enable them to offer couples ways to greatly improve their big day; by offering a more personable experience, by really getting to know them beforehand, and by meeting up with them to explore their likes and dislikes. Building a rapport with clients not only helps with planning music and ensuring that the event runs smoothly, but also allows you to introduce extra services. This could range from providing music and microphones for a wedding ceremony or acting as the MC, to technical extras such as enhancing the mood of the room with the use of up-lighting.
The last three years have seen far more options. Mark Ferrell came to the UK in the spring of 2012 and 2013 and will be here again later this year, delivering his MarBecca workshops. These sessions centre on showing you what is involved in being a Master of Ceremonies at a wedding, but how to do it in a very different way from that of a traditional English Toastmaster focussing quite specifically on how the voice is used and how to use it to its best effect.
As a side note: I have seen it mentioned on some of the forums that some DJs have no interest in acting as a Master of Ceremonies, they just want to rock the party from the reception onwards. But something to bear in mind is that when you act as the MC and inject some fun into the wedding during the wedding breakfast and the introduction of the speeches it can really help you build up a rapport with the guests. This means that by the time of the reception some of the guests are on first name terms with you and the whole thing goes much more smoothly.
“It pays to know how to purchase knowledge. The person who stops studying, merely because he has finished school, is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity. No matter what may be his calling, the way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”
This month (March) sees the second Pro Mobile Conference, which offers DJs training and insights into many different areas, such as performance, business practices, use of microphone, improvisation and more. If this year’s event is able to live up to the level of the first Conference, the attendees are in for quite a treat.
The keynote speaker this year is Randy Bartlett, known by many for his series of DVDs, ‘The 1% Solution’, which have been around for the last ten years or so. Randy offers a number of techniques to improve various aspects of a DJ’s performance and the services they offer. He also offers a strategy of improvement focussing on changing what you do by just a small amount, with the premise being that such change can lead to an overall much better experience for your clients.
In the USA there is far more on offer for those who want to stretch themselves and add new skills and services to their repertoire. Peter Merry’s two successful workshops: ‘The Professional Process’ and ‘Make It Grand’; Bill Hermann & Jason Jones’ three-day ‘Entertainment Experience’; and many other workshops, from people such as Jim Cerone, Alan Dobson and Mitch Taylor, to name a few.
“I invest thousands of dollars and countless hours in continuing education and event personalization each year. This helps ensure my clients enjoy nothing less than a unique, ultimate entertainment experience. What does your DJ do on top of just ‘good music’?”
Dave Ternier, Canada
It’s not just about the quality and experience of the trainer. Sometimes, you can get just as much out of these conferences and workshops from the insights shared by the other delegates as you can learn from the person giving the training. This is the reason that some DJs take the same workshop multiple times. Each time different things are discussed and these discussions can give a different perspective on the things that you do. This in turn can lead to trying things in a different way such as offering your clients different options for their first dance or ways to end the night, rather than always doing those things in the same way, every time, at every event.
Other than the training I’ve mentioned so far, which is offered directly to DJs, there are many other workshops and courses that can benefit DJs by stretching us in different areas. A great example is comedy training, which can improve timing, improvisation and teach you how to handle hecklers! There are many comedy clubs all around the UK offering such courses, including national chains such as Jongleurs. There are also workshops in acting, which can help with voice skills, or courses from any of the Toastmasters associations in how to become a qualified Toastmaster for the few that want to go down that formal route. Alternatively, as mentioned in last month’s Pro Mobile, there is also much help on offer at the weekly meetings of Toastmasters International which, don’t forget, has absolutely nothing to do with Toastmasters in red coats.
“Anything you can do, you can do better.”
There are many DJs, however, who are content with how they are and don’t see the need to try any of the above or see how this training would help them. That’s fine, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, it seems strange that some of those who don’t want to give it a go are so vociferous in their opposition to those that do (usually on Facebook). It can smack a little of insecurity sometimes, in that sub-consciously they’re worried their competitors will improve and they’ll have less work as a result. If this were not the case, why would they be worried? Why criticise, on a personal level, those that do undertake these workshops? Why pass comment so strongly on it? I wonder whether those that say they’re “trying to save others from wasting their money” genuinely do believe what they say? I can assure you, as someone who has invested in training and reaped the rewards, that it is most certainly well worthwhile.
As Jacko said: make that change!
From Pro Mobile issue 64 March 2014