While we were attending the International Disc Jockey convention, I was asked to share some of our philosophies on engaging the audience because of our experience of over 30 years in the wedding business. It was really very much an impromptu activity as a result of some networking discussions.
Most Disc Jockeys think that they are only playing dance music at a reception and dinner is just background music. They do not engage with the audience until dinner is done. Sorry to say, but 90% of DJ’s have this opinion and that is why most people would agree that they have seen more bad DJ’s than good ones.
If you want people to be interested in the Disc Jockey they need to do more and they need to stand out. When the typical DJ shows up, hits a play button during dinner for background music and that is it… I am sorry to say that is called doing nothing. That DJ is already teaching the audience to ignore him and what he does. If that DJ is just there trying to stay awake during dinner, well they do not impress anyone. In fact, they only teach the audiences that they are the same old thing.
Engaging your audience needs to start from the very moment the guest walk in. The DJ needs to be introducing himself and making themselves approachable so that the guests feel comfortable connecting with them. The DJ should be engaging during the dinner, with introductions, organizing the blessing, releasing tables, interactive activities for the audience to encourage the Bride and Groom to kiss, toasts and more. Basically, you are building a relationship with your audience where they see that you are more than a person that can run an iPod and make it loud. If they learn you are fun and every time they hear your voice on the microphone they learn that something fun is going to happen, they will trust and follow you when the dance starts up.
The audience has no idea if the entertainment is going to be any good, so you need to engage them and don’t wait until after the dinner. Entertainers that don’t connect early, often suffer with people leaving between the dinner and the dance. How sad for a bride and groom that spends so much time, work and money to have this great party, that a lazy DJ sent them home before the party has a chance to get going.
When shopping for a Disc Jockey, ask them what they do to engage the audience, if they only talk about the dance, you know that they just don’t get it.
So my suggestion is to quickly RUNAWAY, RUNAWAY, RUNAWAY