Norfolk Wedding DJ Reveals How to Work a Room and Build a Personal Brand
has been DJ’ing at weddings and acting as master of ceremonies for over 30 years. He’s incredibly passionate about it and for this reason, remains at the very top of his profession. For self-employed business owners like Paul, building a personal brand has been the key to his success. He loves his work and understands the importance of leaving lasting impressions on guests. Positive reviews and word of mouth mean Norfolk wedding DJ Paul is as busy as ever, and he’s here to tell us a little more about his job, his business growth and how he continues to build his brand.
What part of weddings do you enjoy most?
The whole process from start to finish. Sitting in someone’s lounge on the first meeting with a cup of coffee. Discussing ideas and seeing a bride’s eyes light up when talking about her wedding day. Right through to that moment at the end of an evening when the last track is played, the memories have been created, feet are tired and the bride makes a point of coming across and thanking you with the words “It was everything I had hoped for and much more”.
If a crowd is hard to crack, or aren’t dancing, what are your secrets?
Guests do not go to a wedding to dance specifically, unlike an old skool disco, club or festival. They are there mainly to celebrate with the happy couple. It is therefore essential to work with a bride to ensure she is on the dancefloor as much as possible during the party. Guests and family members will naturally want to be around her on her wedding day and will follow her onto the floor.
If for any reason an audience is hard to crack the answer is never to give up. Watching the guests gives great insight. They may still be tapping their feet on the floor and fingers on the tables and loving the music, but not dancing. Sometimes, purely because they don’t or cannot due to health reasons. Connecting with an audience is essential and a great way of getting further requests if things aren’t going exactly to plan floorwise. There are many tricks of the trade, but the main one is playing slow songs. This is an old dancehall idea that bands have used for decades. People will generally dance to a ‘slowie’ even if they aren’t comfortable with faster tracks. It’s a case of refilling the floor and then relaunching the faster dancing.
Working at people’s weddings must be stressful – how do you stay calm under pressure knowing you’re a big part of somebody’s big day?
To be honest, I don’t have any particular things that I do. I think preparation is the key to remaining calm. Rehearsing what I’m going to say is essential. I am not the greatest sight-reader in the world so going through things stops any unfortunate slip-ups. Never becoming complacent is essential as everything needs to be perfect every time, there are no second chances. I still get nervous even after 34 years as a Norfolk wedding DJ. I want everything I do to be absolutely right!
Being confident must be key for you – any tips for people on how to speak to large groups of people?
Confidence is never an easy thing to define. I think the key is to try not to worry. Grooms often get stressed about speeches and emotions run very high during a wedding day. I recommend that people focus on enjoying what they are doing rather than the possibility that they will muck up or fall over words. Some people respond to writing everything down and reading verbatim, others prefer a loose idea with a few bullet points and some literally wing it. If somebody really is in panic mode, I suggest that a speech is recorded or videoed beforehand. Even asking somebody else to read it for you is an option.
How important is it for you to get feedback in your job?
Feedback, reviews and critique are essential to any small business and it is no different for a DJ. Genuine reviews from past clients are the reason that many people book a specific service. Feedback is a way of continuing to improve & grow a business, developing ideas and ways of doing things. In the world of Social Media, it is now easier than ever to comment. Meaning the level of service offered by any company must continue to grow onwards and upwards.
How do you book most of your jobs? Online, or through word of mouth?
I am blessed that 80% of my work comes from personal recommendations. Either from happy couples, fellow wedding professionals or from venues themselves. Online searches and paid advertising being a close second. My website acts as a shop window and the working relationship between myself and clients is developed from the moment I am contacted. I want couples to feel at ease and 100% happy with everything that we do to create their perfect celebration. It is very much a joint thing.
Is having a personal brand and identity helpful for getting more business?
Yes in short! I took a mentorship course with the UK’s number one Multi Award Winning DJ/ Wedding Host last year. This was something that I needed to address very quickly, once it was explained that colours and logo styling and branding can affect a business. And that my original logo, in particular, was very poor. He used the comparison of Harrods against Tesco’s to explain, which admittedly is a very extreme example. Other supermarkets and stores are available……… Harrods Department Store is recognised worldwide for its extremely high level of customer service due to clever branding in the same way that the design of a supermarket is styled for a completely different consumer experience. A good design and logo give a consumer confidence in a product or service.
And Finally – What’s one song that always gets the crowd going?
There isn’t a single track that does this. A DJ will have a selection of ‘trigger’ tunes that are known to get a good floor. The more recent tracks that work for a wide range of people continue to change and update as music evolves. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk still works despite being 3 1/2 years old. The Killers – Mr Brightside is the current favourite despite being 14 years old. It also greatly depends on the average age of guests. Abba – Dancing Queen is a great tune for guests in a 60+ age group. Robin S – Show Me Love for guests in the 40 – 50 age group etc. Ultimately it is always down to the art of reading a crowd…….