A Helpful Tip for Seminar Presenters

By Mike Walter, “Multi-Op Corner”

Having just attended the DJ Expo in Atlantic City and having sat through about a dozen seminars, I have an observation to make.

It surprises me that so few DJ presenters give much thought to the end of their seminar.

I shared this with an industry friend of mine and also added, “Especially since we’re all DJs and we spend so much time thinking about how we are going to end our events.” To which he replied, “Do you really think all DJs do that?”

Being the eternal optimist that I am…

I answered with a resounding: “Yes, I do.” It’s certainly top of mind for me and I can’t believe I’m that rare in our industry. It actually bothers me when a client asks to end their event with a slow song, to the point where I’ll try to talk them out of it.

I much prefer to end on a high note, with the guests cheering or waving goodbye to the video camera, maybe with the bride and groom or guest of honor in the middle of a circle.

And I’ve noticed that the better the ending, the more business cards that get grabbed while we pack up our gear.

So if DJs have this mentality…

(and as I said I want to believe that most of us do make this a conscious thought) why would so many DJs who present seminars not give their ending the same concern?

I watched this week as so many solid seminars ended with lame Q & A while the attendees trickled out of the room. Q & A (in my opinion) is a boring public exercise since most questions that are asked are so specific to the asker that they have no relevance to the majority of the listeners (hence the trickling out of attendees).

Plus leaving room for Q & A tells me the presenter didn’t bother coming up with enough information to fill their allotted time slot so now they are relying on the attendees to hopefully ask a few good questions that will fill the rest of their time.

It would be like playing music till 11:30 at an event that ends at midnight and then announcing “I’m out of ideas. What do you guys want to hear?”

I think…

seminar presenters should fill their allotted time slot with good solid material and be sure to wrap up with a strong, hopefully motivational point. Then simply announce, “If anyone has a question for me I’ll be around to answer it.”

If the presenter is okay with giving out their contact information they could even say “Email me with any questions you may have.” Then, throw on a song that has some relevance to your subject matter (we are DJs after all, why not incorporate music into our seminars?) and hopefully step back and bask in the ovation that comes your way.

If you feel the need to have Q&A…

I always suggest to presenters that they don’t end with it. Get 90% through your material and then say: “I’m going to pause here to see if we have any questions… but then I have one final point to make so please don’t anyone leave.”

This could help avoid the trickling effect because it would signal to everyone that the seminar isn’t completely over.

Another way to handle Q&A better than just opening the mic to everyone in the room is to have attendees write down their questions and have someone else read them to the presenter.

This would avoid the long preamble that comes with most questions and the person reading the questions could serve as something of a filter, maybe not reading questions that have been already covered in the seminar or that are so specific to the asker that they’ll turn off the rest of the room.

I’ve been giving seminars for over ten years now and I attend as many as I can whenever I’m at a DJ Convention.

So I’m not saying mine is
the right way to do things…

I’m just saying, well, okay I guess I am saying mine is the right way. I’ve yet to see Q&A be the big bold ending to a seminar that every speaker hopes for.

So if you’re presenting soon at The Las Vegas Show (and who isn’t? It looks like everyone in our industry is!) or some other upcoming event, give some thought to your ending.

Just like a good gig, you don’t want them trickling out the door, you want to leave them begging for more!