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Top takeaways from popular Expo sessions benefit Pro DJs in Atlantic City and  beyond.

DJs eager to improve their skills and learn new tricks flocked to the halls at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City this past August 10-13, where DJ Expo was brimming with actionable ideas. Presented by DJ Times and its publisher Testa Communications, the 2015 show offered a high-quality selection of educational topics spanning performance techniques, sales/marketing tips and specialty business lines.

They included the following:

All-Star MC Secrets Revealed

This seminar, in its fifth-annual installment, has become one of the most popular of the Expo. Chaired by Maryland mobile Steve Moody, the panel’s other participants vary from year to year, and this year’s panel included Mike Wieder (Ultimate Sounds DJs), Mike Walter (Elite Entertainment), Fox Feltman (BTA Entertainment) and Shani Barnett (Mobile Music Interactive Entertainment).

Moody discussed techniques that wedding DJs can use to stack the deck in their favor to create immensely satisfied clients who view their DJ as a friend. At consultations, for a personal touch Moody stands at the door to greet couples and addresses them by name. This process is repeated upon their leaving his office. He puts couples at ease by stating that the purpose of the consultation is to talk about their vision and not to force them to sign anything.

After booking a couple, clients receive monthly emails with wedding-planning tips and other important information. These emails are automated, but provide the feel of attentive, personalized concierge service. At the final consultation and again the day of the wedding, Moody tells couples, “I want your wedding to be the best night of your life. If there’s anything that you want or need, please tell me.”

The day of a wedding, Moody also sends his couples a text message mentioning how much he’s looking forward to celebrate with them.

The New Jersey-based Mike Wieder discussed the importance of creating moments and making memories for his wedding couples. To do this, Wieder is a proponent of shaking up wedding reception traditions. For example, couples can share their first dance surrounded by guests on the dancefloor holding candles (six-inch flickering LED candles are recommended for safety purposes).

For the anniversary dance, which typically eliminates couples as the years-married increment increases, in Wieder’s version, couples are added based on years of marriage with the final result being a packed dancefloor. The longest-married couple, as revealed from the anniversary dance, can then cut a second slice of cake after the bride and groom in the cake cutting ceremony. Wieder advises MCs that “fear is not an option, fun is.”

Fellow Jersey jock Mike Walter focused on the grand finale of a wedding reception and the importance of “ending with a Wow!”  For those who are familiar with Walter’s teachings, he places great emphasis on having strong openings and endings in order to be memorable. For a grand finale, he said that the DJ/MC should pick that final song based on the flow of the evening. Ideally, the final song will include a break or bridge section where the MC can work the microphone and do things like a shout-out to the bride and groom, provide well-wishes for their honeymoon or stage group photo shots.

Walter also recommends that DJs have one more encore song ready to go. It can even be a short one-or two-minute edit of popular songs like “What I Like About You,” “Twist and Shout,” “I Wanna Be Sedated” or “Jump Around.”

Fox Feltman has built a solid market share in North Carolina by specializing in high-energy, interactive weddings where couples are meant to feel like royalty. At consultations, he has brides complete a father-daughter questionnaire. When the father is walking out for the father-daughter dance, Fox will sprinkle in personal information gained from that questionnaire to make the moment memorable.

For buffet-style weddings, Feltman has tables appoint a “runner” and then compete for the right to be the next table to go to the buffet by answering questions or playing Name That Tune.

A bouquet-garter ceremony can be livened up by blindfolding the garter-catching male, and replacing the bouquet-catching female with a substitute like the father of the bride or grandma.

At a grand finale, Feltman orchestrates a “Circle of Love” where the wedding couple goes around to share a handshake, hug or kiss with each guest. After making the rounds, the MC implodes the circle by going into the song, “Shout.”

ChicagoLand’s Shani Barnett spoke about the importance of commanding a crowd. At the beginning of a performance, MCs must smile, create a “warm feel” and make eye contact with guests. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, MCs must stay positive, reminding themselves that “I can be the best” and life is not so bad being paid to party.

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