Stop the DJ from doing this one thing or people will walk out!
A good DJ can quickly bring a huge benefit to an event. However, they just as quickly can cause people to walk out, even significantly early in the event. In the hundreds of events I’ve been a part of in the last handful of years, I’ve witnessed on a few different occasions where a large group of people not only left, but they were actually walking away from the financial savings of an open bar to go to a nearby location and PAY for drinks! What in the world would possess people to do that? This is an important DJ tip…and if you’re planning an event, pay attention! It’s for you too!
Why do you have a DJ?
DJs basically have the wonderful ability to kill the silence. That may not sound like much, but silence, even sporadic, can destroy energy levels. Even for house parties, I tell people to have some upbeat music in the background. It not only adds energy, but it forces people to communicate at a higher volume. If you can believe this, people even laugh louder. Even if there are hundreds of people in the room, constant background music from a DJ brings the volume and energy out of the people that in many cases wouldn’t naturally be there.
Why do people walk out?
So energy and volume are up. Here’s the issue: The very second the volume is too loud for people to carry on a conversation, they’re gone. Now, understand that people want to be courteous and stay at the event you worked so hard to put on.
For example, I was doing walk-around magic at a corporate event less than a year ago. There were 400 people in attendance and a beautiful, expensive hotel was rented out for this event. As soon as the music began after the awards ceremony, it didn’t take longer than 10 minutes for people to start leaving. Now, as I said, people want to be courteous. They didn’t leave the hotel. Some went to the hotel bar, but I would guess that more than a third of the people had made their way outside of the ballroom into the large hallway…just to talk…with multiple requests to, “Shut the doors!” The music was even too loud outside the ballroom! No one was on the rented dance floor with special lighting that probably was a significant cost. Ultimately, much less than anticipated use was made out of a ballroom that cost over $15,000. All because a volume knob was turned a little too far to the right (possibly pushed if it was a mixer, but you get my point).
FYI, I just hung out with people out in the hallway and performed there. It was a refreshing change from no one hearing me.
How do you fix this?
If you’re the event planner, it’s a simple conversation during booking. “These are people that see each other just a few times a year and they want to catch up…we just want to make sure that the music isn’t too loud.” Despite a couple of stories I’ve heard from others, I can’t really see a DJ arguing with you on that point. A great followup question is, “If the music is too loud, are you ok with me asking you to turn it down?” Again, that should be an easily agreed upon point. The reason I think it should be addressed upfront is just to show respect to the DJ so it’s not sprung on them during the event. So many DJs do a great job. If you’ve already booked a DJ, just reach out now. They want you to be happy with what they do for your event., so chances are, they’re going to work with you.
The Bottom Line
When a DJ is playing, even if there’s dancing going on, that’s the time when many attendees are trying to have conversations. Remember that for big corporate events, it’s often times a melting pot of all the branches. When you attend one of these events, you’re seeing people you only see once a year. In some cases, you’re meeting employees for the first time that you’ve only corresponded with through email or phone calls.
I will never forget performing for an event with a window shattering DJ and suddenly noticing that the room had only half the attendees than were initially present. They all left an atmosphere of free drinks to cross the street to a piano bar. They even gave me an invite to join them when I finished. One I got there, I said, “We missed you guys.” To which one replied, “We almost never see each other and wanted to talk.” They honestly felt they couldn’t do it at the event that was literally for that specific purpose. A good DJ drives people’s energy level up…without driving people out.