I meet (and sometimes hire) a lot of aspiring DJs. Most of the time, the guys that I hire are already DJs in some capacity, whether it’s for weddings, at a skating ring, or in a nightclub. But almost always, the skill that they most lack when joining our company is being a good MC. The following are some tips that I share with them—and now with you—to improve microphone technique. Here are my top 10 MCing tips (in no particular order):
10) SHUT UP
Know when to say something on the mic, and know when it’s time to be quiet.
9) You’re not Casey Kasem
Mobile DJs are just that, they are paid to come to a gig, set up, play music and make people dance. You are NOT a radio DJ. You don’t need to intro a song, tell who it’s by and what year it came out. People don’t care! They just want to party!
8) It’s not your party!
Yes, we all have egos and want to be recognized for our outstanding skills. However, the event that you were hired for and PAID for, is not your personal party. You don’t need to be the center of attention all the time.
7) Help others
So by now, you might be a professional MC, but guess what? The other 99.9% of the population is terrified of that microphone. When folks come up to give a welcome, blessing or toast, help them out. It’s always a good bet to whisper something like, “Hold the mic right up to your mouth” as you pass it to them. They’ll appreciate that.
6) Keep it classy
As much as you want to say something risqué during the garter removal, DON’T. You aren’t nearly as funny as you think you are, and you aren’t Chris Rock. There are more than likely children there or even adults that would be offended. Just let the bride and groom have their fun and be quiet (see Tip #10 again).
5) Keep it moving
About once a day, I get asked the question, “What is your style?” I always answer that our DJs are “classy but fun” and then proceed to tell them about our style of MCing because I can tell that is really what they are getting at. I describe it as “directing traffic.” In other words, we are there to make sure that there are no awkward moments between events and that the party flows all night long. Of course, we do the introductions and get people excited, but we also keep the guests informed with announcements such as “Folks, make sure you have a glass of champagne in your hand because our best man Bob is about to give his speech.” Little things like this keep people on their toes, prevent guests from looking at their watches and pondering if they want to leave, and give people like Bob, along with the photographers and videographers, an appreciated heads-up.
4) Be Yourself
I used to have a couple of guys that worked for me who were totally different in real life vs. on the mic. They had completely normal voices in conversation, but when you handed them microphones they transformed into “Mr. Top 40 Radio” and “Mr. Strip Club.” Those types of voices are good for those scenarios, but not at our events…Nobody talks like that in real life.
I don’t even think that’s a word, but what I mean is there is no need to yell at the party guests. Use a voice, tone and style that is more conversational. You’ll be amazed at how much better they will listen and respond when you talk TO them vs. AT them.
2) SAY NO TO Crutches
Beware of overusing certain words and phrases. A lot of DJs are really fond of the terms “Ladies and Gentlemen” or “Let’s give a round of applause.” Try to mix it up. A good way to check yourself is to record yourself and go back and listen, CRITICALLY, the next day. At the next gig, try to mix it up a little with different phrases like “Put your hands together,” “Show them some love!” or whatever feels natural.
I have seen some DJs in wedding videos that have literally made me cover my face and cry. There are some really horrible DJs and MCs out there that have no business doing once-in-a lifetime events like wedding receptions. (Many should stick to backyard barbecues.) Before you say ANYTHING on the mic, stop for a few seconds, think about what you are going to say, rehearse it once or twice in your brain, process it, and THEN go live. I’ve seen DJs say the most idiotic, inappropriate, insane nonsense on the microphone, just because they had no control over diarrhea of the mouth. Much audience suffering would be avoided if DJs would simply stop and think before they speak!
I hope that these tips have helped you. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments at email@example.com.
DJ Joe Bunn has been rocking events for the past 26 years, 15 years full time. Starting with a couple of DJs, he rapidly grew Joe Bunn DJ Company into a multi-op business with 18 DJs, doing 700 events each year. Joe has won numerous industry awards from ISES, NACE and other wedding organizations, as well as countless “Best in Show” bridal show awards. Questions or comments? Email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed Under: Exclusive Online News and Content, Issue #157, Performing
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