I Have 20 Years Of Experience… By Dean Carlson


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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM NOVEMBER 2009
So I received this letter from a friend of mine about 5 days after I wrote my last article. And I thought it important enough to share with all of you. She is a Professional Wedding Planner / Coordinator in my area.
Hi Dean; I am coming off of a bad phone call with a DJ. I was thinking you may want to share this (unless you already have it) in your DJ class.
DJs do not need to tell people repeatedly how long they have been in the business. Every other word out of this man’s mouth was “I have been doing this for XX years”. Who cares??? It sounds like he is a know-it-all. I am sure he is saying it to give himself credentials but his professionalism will speak for himself. You can do a job for XX years and still suck at it!
When we asked him if he could do something specifically for the wedding instead of just saying “yes” he went on about how he can “do anything”. Why can’t he simply say “yes, I would be happy to do that for you”. I left the meeting worried that he was so cocky and worked awfully hard at selling himself that he must be covering up some flaws.
DJs (as well as many other wedding vendors) need to respond to requests with things like “that sounds like a great idea”, “I would be happy to do that for you”, “I can make that work for you, no problem “,”That may not work but would you consider…”
I have yet to work with a DJ that was simply kind and helpful. They all seem to be so over-confident that they rarely produce what they promise. If I am asking a question, or the bride and groom are, obviously we don’t know the answer and it is not helpful when someone says things like “I know, I have been in this business for ….years”. Tell your DJs to share their experiences but in a way that is helpful and not trying to be a know-it-all.

It’s funny, I actually had not had a chance to work with this particular Wedding Planner / Coordinator before. Then 2 weeks after this email, I had the luxury of working with her and her partner. It really began to make me think about how I handle other Wedding Professionals. Do I come off as arrogant to people I am working alongside? How many times have I used “I have 20 years of experience”?
The multi-op I run has been around for 20 years, I have been DJing now for 20 years, and the other DJs range in experience from 0 to 9 years. Is it fair to advertise that we have been around now for 20 years, and exactly what does that mean to a client anyway? When we did run out of things that we do better than anyone else, that now we have to rely on years of experience to sell ourselves to potential clients and vendors?
XX amount of years in the business really doesn’t mean that you are good at what you do. While it does help, years of experience don’t equal wisdom per se. We have a DJ that works for us who has only been at this for 3 years, and I think he is probably better than I am. Sometimes years of experience can make your view of what we do different, it can cause you to lose your passion and performances can become mechanical or stale. Not always, but it can.
Heck, from your client’s point of view, 20 years of DJing may make you seem too old to understand them, or two years may make them think “inexperienced”, when neither may actually be the case.
Events are a sum of many parts. When those parts are not well oiled, they do not work well together, and that can cause friction which will lead to less than stellar events. Don’t we owe it to our clients to make their event the best it can be? We as an industry need to learn that other professionals are just that – professionals. They deserve respect and clear answers. They deserve a better answer than “I have 20 years of experience.” And even if other professionals don’t keep their end of the bargain, our honor should be greater. As the old saying goes, treat people how you would like people to treat you.
I teach all the DJs here that communication is the key to awesome shows. If you don’t connect, then all the great mixing skills and MC skills in the world won’t make a difference. Strive to make your connection with other vendors as great as your connection with your clients. The Monday following the show I performed with this wedding planner, my phone rang and she asked if I had a certain date open. Ka-Ching! Good Luck and Great Shows!
Dean Carlson can be reached at deancarlson@discjockeynews.com.


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