Tit bits on Public Speaking

Emerging Speakers Conference In Pictures
November 23, 2017
4 Tips for Successfully Putting Yourself ‘Out There’ as a Public Speaker
December 20, 2017

Tit bits on Public Speaking

A public is an audience or a group of people. Speak is a verb which indicates an act of communicating. To speak in public, one has to adopt and apply critical thinking skills and a good understanding and use of nonverbal communication skills. In another article, we will discuss those. In this article, however, we shall discuss the art and act of Emceeing.

Emceeing is the art of moderating a function, an event or a show. The Emcee is the one that introduces the performers or partakers in the show. He steers the protocol of the day to achieve the goal of the organisers of an event. One could Emcee various functions, ranging from seminars to debates, parties of all kinds, wedding, naming, and funeral ceremonies to various religious festivals. The Emcee is the link between those on stage and those in the audience.

The Emcee, mostly shortened as MC, determines the flow of programming with reference to a line up of activities or a protocol list given to him by the organisers of the event. What features make a good Emcee?

There is no fast and hard rule as to who can be an Emcee. In fact, any human being can be an Emcee. But to be an effective Emcee, to reap income from the art and to get a call back to stand while others sit, the following must be evident in every Emcee.

For one, just like any public speaking art, the Emcee must have good communication skills. You cannot speak to and with people effectively if you don’t know how to talk to them. The Emcee must understand the communication process, (Which we will treat in another class.) This knowledge ultimately helps the MC to decide the language to use for each function he moderates.

Also, every MC must have a great sense of humour. No matter the function, even at a funeral, a good dose of humour always comes in handy, to help loosen tension, and to make the  event lively. A pack of Jokes is a great asset in this sphere. But being humorous goes beyond just cracking jokes. It demands that the MC be amusing and funny in a way that is relevant to the function.

Every MC must must have good critical and creative thinking skills. You need to be able to identify and understand arguments put forth by people, be it the audience or the organisers. You need to be able to think up solutions to problems on your feet. The MC has to be apply a great deal of ingenuity in moderating a function. You must know when to sing, when to engage the audience, when to crack a joke and how to creatively introduce acts so that the audience are expectant. You must be able to rearrange the Activity Line-Up to make the event lively and memorable.

No MC can be effective without a good voice. Some people assert that one needs a hoarse voice to be a good MC. I beg to differ. A good voice is one that can go high and low when necessary. You voice can be thin or heavy or midrange. The most important thing is that you can control the voice. A good voice is the one that encapsulates the mood and general atmosphere of the function. One that can switch to sound funny now and in the next minute become serious. Your voice should magnify your facial expression and both should together epitomize and determine the mood of the audience.

A good MC must be time conscious. I bet you, you do not want to drag the event too far. In moderating, you need to allow the event to flow, in a good sequence. You can alter, with the consent of your organizers, the content of the Activities Line-Up, to save time and allow the performances to flow as should. Do not talk too much. It is not a speech you are delivering, you are just introducing an act or performance. Remember that you are just a mediator between the audience and the performers at the function. Be ABC; Accurate, Brief and Concise.

An MC who does not prepare well before an event, is that one too a good MC? Every effective MC has to be well prepared before the event. I am talking about Emotional, Psychological and Physical preparation. I am talking about pre, during and post preparations. In brief, for your own good, be sure that you know everything there is to know about the function and that you have everything you need to be an effective MC. Get details of guests, chairman, speakers and performers. Have foreknowledge of the type of audience and the organisers. At least an hour before the start of the event, be there. Do your ‘mic check’ and be sure that everything needed for a successful event is available. Even food and water. Remember that your reputation and image is at stake the moment you hold that mic and announce yourself as MC for the day. Anything that goes wrong will affect you directly and indirectly. Simply put, be prepared before the event.

An effective MC must have good composure. You cannot afford to show your anger to the anyone. No matter what happens or who did what wrong, you have to maintain that smile. It so happens sometimes that you must register your displeasure. This must be done in a nice, gentleman or lady fashion. Have a good rapport with the organisers and let them know, as quickly as possible, of any grievances you have. The audience might not be as friendly and responsive as you thought. Well deal with it nicely. In fact, I dare you to make them friendly towards you. You just cannot afford to allow your emotions fly here and there, no matter what happens. You are the Master of the Ceremony. Control yourself.

To be a good Emcee, do have a good relationship with your organizers and performers. It is necessary, so if it is a possible visit the rehearsals of the performers at least once before the D Day. If it is a speech or seminar kind of event, try to make the acquaintance of the speakers and guests as soon as they arrive. You are the MC, everything is under your control. You cannot successfully control that which you do not know. As a good MC, speak the language of the audience but do not lose sight of your employers. In the end, they will pay you.

Finally, dress well. Dress for the occasion. Dress for the event. Check for marching shoes and belts. Try to blend in with the decoration. That is why it is important to speak with organisers. If it is possible, depending in the duration of the even, have multiple outfits and use them intentionally and consciously. Do not just dress any how. Do not dress with the intention to attract. But let your appearance be pleasant and endearing. Let your fashion, simply, be on point.

There may be more, but these are the ones I know as very crucial. In any case, a good recognition and application of these will certainly, barring unforeseen circumstances beyond human control, help anyone can to make a good impression as a good Emcee.

In our next episode, we will discuss ‘how to open and close an event’ and ‘how to engage your audience’ in details.

Remember, speakers are creators. The words we divulge make or unmake. When you decide to speak, endeavour to speak positivity and speak life.

By: Theodore Abiwu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *