The events we perform at can vary wildly—from the amount of preparation required to the level of excitement among to the guests. Many variables are out of our control, such as whether or not alcohol will be served or if the family is full of introverts. Forming a preconceived notion of how an event will go is a common side effect of discovering details about an gig like those mentioned above. The danger in making these assumptions is letting them affect the level of performance you deliver.
“Oh, there’s no alcohol, there probably won’t be much dancing.”
“The venue is a super stuffy joint, the host will probably be on me all night.”
While there are easy assumptions to make, things are almost never entirely what they seem. While I’ve made plenty of similar predictions about my events, I’ve been wrong equally many times.
Here’s a personal example from last Saturday. The couple for whose wedding I would be entertaining placed a very small emphasis on dancing during our planning meetings, expressing that “if dancing happens, that’s great, but if not then that’s OK too.” At the reception, everything went well throughout the entrances, dinner, and toasts and after the first dance and parent dances were through I started the party to a very small group of dancers. At this point I was faced with a decision: I could kick back and mindlessly cross-fade track to track from my pre-built playlist, knowing that even if there wasn’t a big dance party the client would be satisfied, or I could treat this wedding like I was performing in front of 300 of the most eager wedding guests to exist.
The first option tempted me for just a split second, but I took a chance and decided to give this wedding all the effort I would give any other event. I slammed hit after hit together while actively encouraging the guests over the microphone, and guess what? Slowly, timidly, the guests started grabbing each other and making their way to the dance floor. What could have very well been a mildly energetic party turned into a yelling, laughing, singing mosh pit of people that within 15 minutes were tossing the bride and groom into the air in the middle of the dance floor.
It’s so easy to take shortcuts, but over-delivering on the experiences you offer creates ecstatic clients and generates quality referrals for years to come. Choose to always perform at 100% and you’ll be surprised at the results.