March 26, 2008 by Mike Walter

Back after a coupla weeks off. These busy seasons always seem manageable till you get into them and then all of a sudden you are over your head. Anyway, I’ve righted the ship here at Elite and am back to being able to contribute to this fine website. My thanks to the readers who reached out and asked if everything was ok and told me they missed reading my columns. And to Tony, my editor, who very professionally yet effectively let me know I was missed. It’s nice to be appreciated.A few weeks ago I talked about when to invite a music mixer into emcee training. I mentioned how they need to be ready talent-wise and also experience-wise but that even then there has to be another ingredient: Their desire.

I’m big on desire. I’m big on pro-activity. I’m big on employees who get in my face and say: I’m ready for the next step – give it to me.

Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me but I don’t handle hints well. I don’t read tea leaves. If someone in my organization wants something, they should tell me. If they feel they are worthy of a raise, or of increased work or whatever, I want them to knock on my office door and sit down and tell me so. I don’t want to hear through the grapevine that so and so is disgruntled. I ignore those rumors anyway.

I despise the telephone game. I want things delivered first-hand and I want reasons and proof because if you ask for something, you better be ready handle why I may not agree. You better bring your thick skin that day because I may open the books and say, here are the things you aren’t doing that you need to start doing to get to where you want to go. Whenever I worked for someone in my life that’s all I ever expected. Just draw the line for me, the line between where I am now and where I want to go. But then if I walk that line I better get what’s coming to me.

I mention this because you, as a Multi-Op owner or manager, are going to be faced with these types of meetings. Your staff gets told they are “great” all the time. As they are leaving their events people pat them on the back and tell them they are the best they have ever seen and sometimes (God we hate this but it happens) they tell your staff: you should be doing this on your own. So naturally, your DJs have big heads. They can get full of themselves. They can start to believe the hype. And you want them to . . . to an extent. I love confidence in my staff, in fact I think it’s essential for what we do. But then confidence can cross the line into cockiness and you can have a problem. So meetings whose soul purpose is to get you to pay them more, give them more and respect them more can become a regular thing.

And that’s okay. Because at least they are talking to you. At least they know you want to hear from them and they aren’t going behind your back. And that’s a good thing.

Handling the meetings themselves, without giving up the ranch, that’s an art form in itself. But inviting the meetings to happen and being open to your staff’s point of view on things, is essential when it comes to running a successful Multi-Op.

Till next week . . .

Mike Walter’s emceeing career began in his hometown of Queens, New York in 1984. With an eye towards radio, Mike attended Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1988 where he was chosen from his class of 25 as “Most Likely to Succeed.” After school, Mike helped to develop a staff of DJs from 12 to over 50 by training new recruits and handling an increasingly complex schedule. In early 1993, Mike felt an increasing desire to venture out on his own and by March of that year he became a partner in a much smaller Mobile DJ company, Elite Entertainment. He quickly had an impact on the Elite staff, imposing his high standards of emceeing and DJing. Mike bought out his partner in 1998 and Elite Entertainment has continued its growth (21 emcees in 2006) and sets the standard for excellence in New Jersey. Mike has always believed in training talent from within and his message has helped show hundreds of DJs from across the country that it is possible to grow their companies without sacrificing quality.

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