Trained in music mixology & party psychology: Definition of The Professional DJ

I LOVE putting people under the influence.

Yes, I’m an enabler — but no, I’m not getting them drunk. I’m influencing their mood and it’s one of the most important responsibilities I have as a DJ.

There are so many different types of DJ’s (Radio DJ, Corporate DJ, Wedding DJ, Bar/Bat Mitzvah DJ, etc. And after so many years in the business full time, my experience in the business covers everything.

Unfortunately when people hear DJ, (not knowing my experience) they sometimes think one or more of the following:

  • Cheesy DJ
  • Loud, obnoxious DJ
  • I’m the show DJ
  • Reserved almost too-quiet DJ
  • Doesn’t know how to turn down the music DJ
  • Kid with a laptop full of music DJ
  • Rave DJ
  • The List goes on….

True. There are many- who are one or more of the above. And that’s why it’s so important to discover the ones who have the experience and take it seriously to make your event a success!

Pro DJs

  • Style the music to create the desired atmosphere and set the mood for each & every event.
  • READ-RECOGNIZE-RESPOND. Observe, intuitively-read and tap into the musical tastes of their guests
  • Understand and apply just the right amount of interaction on the microphone
  • Work in partnership with clients, event planners, venue managers and all event players to ensure a successful event.

Now, you might find it strange (even stupid) I even tell people ‘I’m hired all the time for events and NO ONE DANCES! ‘What? You’re a DJ and no one danced?’ Right! It depends on the event specs and the objectives.

A well-known resort in Chatham MA Cape Cod was having a pretty cool cocktail party and wanted me to set the atmosphere with music. The objective was to curate and style the music, in such a way to match the mood desired while keeping it as background so people could hear and have conversations.   

The modern and well-rounded pro DJ is able to design and control the tempo of the music. Having a Live DJ in view enhances the experience, and like a knowledgeable bartender/mixologist creating cocktails- the pro DJ /music stylist blends & mixes with music and flavors. And the Atmosphere? Music sets it. Next time you’re in a boutique hotel or hip lounge, a restaurant, at a listen up. If it puts you in the right mood, it’s been done right.

And I promise, when I’m the DJ, I’ll be a good influence…..

  • Music influences
  • Music complements
  • Music motivates

Craig Sutton is a freelance event & entertainment manager with a creative spectrum of ideas for corporate & private events and event marketing solutions in Greater Boston. And yes, he is also an experienced Pro DJ. Have an event and need some creative ideas? Contact Craig!

Employee engagement. Turning monotony into motivation

The hallways were buzzing – 
  • “Hey! I just won a week of extended lunch time!”
  • “He got to pick his schedule for a week!”
  • “Just got a day off with pay!”
  • “Woo Hoo! I just grabbed 375.00!”
  • An AMEX, a Starbucks and $20 
employee engagement, corporate cultureEvery single day, companies are challenged to keep their employees engaged and motivated. Employee turnover is a big expense.  While there are many different reasons why they leave, one of the majors is culture.  A dull one can drain the average life expectancy of employees.   An open, positive one can extend them…. and it doesn’t hurt to make it fun!
Having worked both internally and externally companies with companies, its important to understand what the company is trying to achieve and dig a little deeper into what’s the purpose-part.  Booking entertainment just because its entertaining – isn’t enough. There has to be a reason why, not to mention a return on investment.  
In the planning process with the client, whenever I make recommendations, whatever concepts we choose, they must do the following:    
  • provide the entertainment
  • create the engagement
  • deliver the message 
  • meet the objective   
and The Prize Vault has met all! 
  • In a ‘Recognition & Reward’ program developed by human resources to boost morale and create incentives- a hospitality client rewarded employees who reached a certain goal during the period- with an opportunity to get in and grab as many vouchers as they could (redeemable for money and gift cards) in a short amount of time [15 sec.].  
  • For Customer Service Week, one  client had an event to thank and reward their Customer Support people.  Throughout the day, various teams took an extended mid-day break to attend a party where the room’s centerpiece was our Prize Vault where they could win all kinds of prizes as well as enjoy food, beverage and snacks.  Each team member was given 15 seconds to grab as much as they could.  
The Result?  Employees LOVED IT! And there were some interesting takeaways…..
  • Money as a motivator is still high on the list but even higher?  Perks and Lifestyle benefits, i.e. winning a gym membership, flex hours, a day off with pay,etc. Yeah, money is great, but employees got more excited when they won these!  
    Note: According to a Customer Service manager, other dept. people who heard about this were jealous and wanted in!
  • Periodically disrupting the routine allows them to go back to the routine renewed
  • Laughing and having fun together goes a long way towards employee morale. 
Not every day is going to be fun & games, candy & cupcakes but when the daily routine becomes draining and the cost of employee turnover is high, mixing it up and adding-in some perks for performance is a small investment to help improve job motivation and production which helps improve employee morale which helps reduce employee turnover.
Taking care of your employees is just as important as taking care of your customers.
If any of this resonated with you, feel free to give me your feedback  
And if this is what you’re trying to achieve—- Hire me to do for you and Let’s have some fun!  
Please note: pictures above are examples only and do not represent a specific event.

When the ‘social’ in social networking isn’t

Ask anyone these days to define Social Networking and they’ll bullet point Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, even Myspace.  Ask them “Have you ever heard of FACE TO FACE??” And they’ll say “What’s that?”  And if you really want to spin it… 
“BZ” [Before Zuckerberg] there was FACE to FACE, EYE to EYE, PERSON to PERSON and VOICE to VOICE.”  You would think I’d just named a bunch of startups.  Say it with a straight face – and its kinda fun to see how far you can go with this).    All kidding aside, the actual (yet basic) definition of social networking is in-person in-the-flesh human contact, communication and conversation. The key word here is….. SOCIAL
The crazy thing is — people STARE at their cellphones.  Non-stop. 
Sure… I get it….  When you’re alone,  no one else around, nothing else to do or you need to tell someone something… I do it too.  But when you’re introverted (and I am too, sometimes) or you’re among people but choose your phone over meeting or speaking with someone in-person, that’s an issue.  And you know you have a problem when your cellphone becomes your BFF.      
Anyone who works in a cubicle or from home, is a solo-preneur or a small business person who experiences isolation – can attest to the effect it has on their productivity.   
Imagine what its like alone… in a box… for hours, days, weeks?  The result: v-e-r-y little brain stimulation and n-o social stimulation

So whats the solution?

It takes two to make it right.  It takes two to make it outa sight” [Rob Base] 
“It takes a village” [Hilary Rodham Clinton]
There’s no ‘I’ in Team” [unknown]
What the above have in common?  It’s impossible for a person to network with themselves (unless they have two voices inside their head having a conversation-but that’s a whole different issue).  It takes two or more people to socialize, connect and share ideas.  
  • Companies are becoming more ’employee-centric’, taking steps to improve employee engagement, focusing on the culture, by creating more open and social workplaces, scheduling in specific events  among other things which in fosters better collaboration, productivity and in some cases is landing them on “Best Places To Work”** lists [BONUS 1] and is improving their Employer Branding [BONUS 2].  P.S. The Human Resources dept.  loves this! 
  • Co-working and co-sharing spaces are cropping everywhere!  Their mission to build ‘community-centric’ environments with a membership model – for solos i.e. entrepreneurs, small business people, remote workers, etc. to work, socialize and share thinking.   Some spaces are independently-owned, others are under a brand name, companies like We Work with thousands of members and locations around the world.   
  • Engagement with entertainment:  At any gathering of people, just because they’re there, doesn’t mean they’ll connect and talk (a good example, people walking around or staring at their cell phones).  Matter of fact, its incredible how many networking events are organized and people either don’t network or have trouble meeting others!  Sometimes you need something entertaining, something that’ll attract and get them to interact. 

Wonder how Google, Hubspot and companies like them are considered Best Places To Work annually?  To boost engagement, adding Games to the workplace became hugely-popular, not only for the social-factor but the need to balance the ‘work hard-play hard’ ethic .  And I’ve found that that popularity has carried over into business-networking events, conferences and companies having off-site meetings here in the Boston-area.  Creating gathering-spots and setting up stationary games ****** in various areas influences the social process, where people can walk over and play, with no pressure.  And since it takes at least two to play……somebody’s going to get invited over or others will simply gravitate.  

****** This is just one way to influence how people network
For some ideas and solutions to improve employee engagement and social networking, skip email for now…. 
Simply call me and get me in-person 508-735-4848.