10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from a DJ
Life has some interesting lessons stored in the most unlikely of places. For me, that is being an event DJ.
DJing takes work. It's more than making a great playlist or being considered a human jukebox. There is a lot of preparation that goes in beforehand to make a great event, but there is just as much fluidity and changing of paths that takes place during the course of a night. DJ's must get out of their own head and desires and get into the energy and needs of their clients. There is valuable information floating around us in every aspect of life. Even though you may or may not be a DJ, here are 10 life lessons that you can use today:
1. You Have to be Open Minded: Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. I love taking song requests. Someone may request a song I have never heard. That's awesome! If its a song I don't particularly like...well, someone out there does. There's a time and place for everything... and the more I know, the better off I will be when the time comes.
2. Work Every Opportunity: Networking is survival. Going out and doing my best in the eyes of people I haven't met furthers relationships. The phrase holds true for a reason: "It is not what you know - it's who you know!"
3. Know What Your Audience Wants: I have worked events ranging from elementary schools to nursing homes...many times. The music I play changes depending on the ears that are listening. It is not always the music I prefer. If I wanted to only listen to the music I like I would set my gear up in my bedroom and leave it at that. It's nice when the music I like aligns with the crowd...but sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone.
4. Respect Other in Your Field: There are fellow DJ's who work just as hard as I do. I admire them. They are not my competition. If they are doing something that works - I use that as an opportunity to learn from them. There aren't competitors - only teachers.
5. Have Back Up Equipment: If you don't have the resources to provide a comparable back-up...at least have a back-up plan! Murphy's Law in a nutshell - "If it can go wrong, eventually it will." Are you prepared for when that happens?
6. Keep an Ace up Your Sleeve: This is the cousin to having a back-up plan. I have songs on standby that make the crowd explode. I don't play all of these songs back to back. I use them when necessary. For instance, crowds love line dances and other timeless songs that will get everyone dancing and singing. I read the crowd first and play to them. If I feel I've reached a point where I lose them - there's an ace waiting to real them back in. No matter what you do, find something that is sure to please and use it when times are tough.
7. Dance with the Crowd: Sometimes this is not easy depending on the event or venue, however, it works. It's best to lead by example. If I can't join them physically I will join them over the microphone.
8. A Bad Situation Can Have Benefits: True character isn't shown when things are going RIGHT. It's how you conduct yourself when things are going WRONG. Accept responsibility if something happens and it was in your control. Remain cool, as this would be a great time for using the "Ace Up Your Sleeve". If that isn't an option, try your back-up plan. If it's a simple mistake that is easily corrected - poke some fun at yourself.
9. Keep Yourself in Check: There is a lot of power in controlling the environment and being responsible for the outcome of an event. Without the clients and guests, you really aren't much of anything. So, you need to make these people realize that you are there for them and care about their experience. A few examples of what I can do would be to buy others drinks, sincerely give shout-outs if someone is having a special occasion and give credit if someone requested a song and it goes over well. Be sure to always be thankful.
10. Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin: Many times people don't realize how much time and effort goes into what you do. If they have never been in your position (or haven't for a while) they can sometimes not know/forget what it takes to accomplish the task you are trying to do. It's better to be upfront and ask for help or explain your limitations than it is to disappoint.
I know you can find ways to incorporate this into your own life! Get out there and make the best of everything that comes your way.
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