An emcee (MC, Master of Ceremony) impacts the running time, atmosphere and potentially the entire guest experience at an event. Are you new to public speaking but need to appear professional on a sudden assignment? Stay calm and read on – we have seven tips for the inexperienced and shy to ace their first hosting gigs.
But first, let’s take a step back – why are you an emcee? Start with the right mindset!
Imagine an event without an emcee. Attendees feel worried and unsure when a programme starts or ends, awkward silences dominate the down times between programmes, the mood swings from highs to lows, guests lack context of who is on stage and even why they are on stage. The mood is tense and uncomfortable – when hiccups happen they blow up to become embarrassing and glaring.
So instead of thinking of yourself as the person who might ruin things, think of yourself as the saviour who can make things no worse. You help guide guests through the flow of the event, showcase the speakers or guests of honour and distract the crowd from the inevitable mistakes and incidents. Essentially you help make everyone more relaxed and comfortable just by being there. Be confident, smile and soften your body language to get the crowd on your side – audiences are friendlier and happier when they are at ease. Remember, you are a storyteller bringing them on an adventure that you know more of than them.
Seven tips to start you off strong
1. Get a friend to be the timekeeper
An emcee’s role is to keep the event on schedule. But if this is your first few times hosting, get someone else to help you watch the time. When there is a helping hand to keep time in check and remind you when to get on and off stage, you will feel less flustered and more on top of things.
2. Make the people taking the centre stage look extremely good
Face it – the guests are there for the speakers, the wedding couple and the real stars on the stage. You are there not to showcase yourself, but to make the people taking the centre stage look amazing. Compliment the bride generously, highlight the speaker’s most impressive achievement and get everyone excited about the content. Onboard the attendees to understand who they are seeing on stage – and why.
3. Get the names right
All the praises come down to nothing if you mess up on the most important aspect – the names. Be it the exact pronunciation of the name of the mother of the bride, the honorary title of the special guest or the university the speaker holds professorship at, getting the names right could win (or lose) you the respect of the audience.
4. Flatter the audience, make some self-deprecating jokes
The biggest crowd at any event is the audience, so go on and flatter them. How many times have you heard a band said “you’re the best fans I’ve ever seen?” It works every single time to lift the mood up. Failing which, make some deprecating jokes about yourself, be it your height, your girth, your lack of hair, your short-sightedness or even how you ended up being the emcee. The audience will see it as a sign of confidence, and will like you more.
5. Rehearse at least once
Don’t spend your entire time writing the script leaving no time to run through it even once. Rehearsing it out loud at least once allows you to spot where you tend to stumble and make notes and adjustments.
6. Get familiar with the venue
Figure out how to get there on time and how the layout will be on the actual day. The fewer surprises for yourself, the better.
7. Skip the full script
Finally, know that no one wants to see a host head-down, reading every line from a script. Moreover, things will go wrong at some point. Instead, trust that you can banter based on a succinct outline of main points. After all, didn’t you notice that people speak foreign languages better when they are tipsy? Their state should make them less capable, but their lowered inhibitions and better confidence makes the difference.
So take a deep breath and dive confidently into your first emcee experience!
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We have supported more than 20,000 events worldwide and have an on-the-ground team in Singapore happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com or call us at (65) 3158 7486. We are contactable via Facebook and Twitter as well.
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