Sending the right message to your audience during a gig is crucial and can make the difference in the way they perceive you and their entire experience during the event ..
What is the message you need to send?
– You’re pleasant
– Professional and confident
– You’re in control of the situation and you know what you’re doing
– Enjoying yourself and joining in the fun
How to achieve those outcomes?
– Eye contact: maintain eye contact with as many of your audience as possible. Don’t focus on one or two (although initially that might be easier until you get used to public appearance and public speaking), spread yourself out and acknowledge as many people as possible by way of direct eye contact, a smile and a slight nod. If you’re not speaking to a person and are simply acknowledging them in the crowd, don’t keep eye contact for longer than about 3 seconds otherwise it can become uncomfortable for them, especially if they’re of the opposite sex.. Needless to say, there’s certainly no room for flirting on the job!
– When you smile, show your teeth. A genuine smile will cause your cheeks to raise, the skin around the outside of your eyes to wrinkle and the outside of your eyebrows to drop slightly. We know this sounds a bit daunting to think of all together but the best way to practice this is in front of the mirror to ensure that your smile is not perceived as a fake smile. This can easily make the difference between being perceived as genuine and warm vs being seen as pretentious and insincere. Try practicing genuine smiling by standing in front of the mirror and remembering joyful moments in your life and observe what parts of your face actually move and to what extent. Your smile needs to look relaxed. Eyebrows can’t be raised or you’ll look surprised..
– Your back needs to be generally straight yet relaxed to give off a confident impression. If you hunch over for lengthy periods of time, it can give a tired impression of you and if your back it super straight to the point of arching, it looks rigid and almost geeky..
– Move at moderate speed. If you’re moving too much and too fast, it will look like you’re frantic and may be unsettling for people who are trying to enjoy the event. It may also look like you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re hardly moving or if you’re simply working off a laptop or an iPod you need to realise that this could give the impression that you’re not really ‘working’ or making a great deal of effort.. You do want to give the feeling that you’re moderately busy. Your client will feel like you’re ‘working the room’.
– When playing the dance music, you need to look like you’re enjoying yourself.. If you’re just playing the music and standing still, that alone can kill the party. Bob up and down with the beat and continue to alternate your eye contact between the audience, the host and your equipment whilst maintaining the genuine smile the majority of the time.
Sounds like a juggle but certainly necessary and in need of quite a bit of practice. The constant looking around will allow you to measure the interest levels and gives you the opportunity to catch any evidence of disconnection, boredom or displeasure by the guests, which you can then quickly react to by changing the music or the tempo etc. And finally, keep a close eye on your host/bride & groom as they are obviously your client and you will need to pick up any signs of discontent from their body language fast before it escalates further.
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