I can’t take credit for this post and the wisdom I’m about to drop LOL because this advice was given to me by a very dear Uncle of mine.
Most event planners don’t know what they want when they hire ‘the entertainment’. #Facts. It’s one thing to like a certain kind of music and it’s another thing to know what’s appropriate for your event. In fact, it’s one thing to imagine what would work best for your event and another to know what works within your budget. Like everything in life, we all run the risk of having high expectations and then not know how to manage them when we need to cut things back.
Most event organizers also don’t have a clue what it takes to put together the basic kind of musical performance (they should, but they don’t – and that’s not for us to be mad about but rather to be aware of). Here’s an example; performing at a conference might be great for your resumé but remember that at a conference, the only thing that is needed as it pertains to ‘sound’ are cordless microphones for the keynote speakers, panelists and audience for the Q/A segments. (Mic stands and amplifiers of course apply too… possibly a DJ too). Therefore, the sound system will be at a very basic level of engineering. Even if you do explain the instrumentation and the kind of set you have, there will almost always be a disconnect because conferences are not usually tailored for music performances. Remember that!
When you (or your manager) are called for a performance opportunity… even before the money and contract terms are negotiated, here is some advice to get your way and have the best kind of experience by first becoming a team player and initiating yourself into the event’s inner circle.
The first thing you need to understand as an artist is that you are being hired. You are being called to provide a service for an event that is most likely towards the end of the planning process. You are called to add to the event and to give something extra to what will already be existing that day.
Once you have a chance to speak to the event planner, the celebrant, the host (or whoever is in charge); here are a few questions that are appropriate to ask and that would get you on their good side and make them feel like they can’t do without you.
- What is the vision for the event? – By having an interest in their vision, you are already showing that you are on their side and that you recognize you are there to take existing arrangements to the next level with you talent/skills.
- What is the desired outcome of the event?
- What kind of audience will be present?
- At what point would you be needing me to perform and for how long? – You will be able to compose and suggest a suitable setlist that meets the criteria for the event e.g. cover songs, original songs, a mix of both etc.
- Is there a stage? Is there a light setup? – Sell an idea that will get them excited to have all the trappings that would not only make them look good but also make you shine.
The idea is to make the organizers believe that you are the best person for the job. You need to have the right communication skills to convince them about what will work best for their event – of course with good intentions.
Get on their side and make them realize that you are the best person for the job.
Make them realize that you are the missing piece in the puzzle.
Thereafter, fees and terms can be discussed on a more professional and friendly level.
I hope this helps!