On stage, all eyes are on you, and you are responsible for controlling the flow and feel of the entire gathering…
Taking on the role of an event presenter for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience for any individual. But fear not, there are ways to prep, soothe the nerves and get yourself ready.
So you are a freelance MC or presenter soon to climb the stage and get a taste of your first real stint as a public speaker, here are a few useful tips to make the experience less daunting.
1. Put the spotlight on other people
Yes, you may be spending a lot of time on the stage as you fulfil your duties, but remember: You are not the reason for the event. Your responsibility is to focus the guests’ attention on the message of the celebration, event or launch.
Put the spotlight on the people who made the whole gathering possible, or the people, company or occasion being celebrated. This could be the wedding couple, the debutante, members of the board, major event sponsors, award recipients, and so on.
So remember – people aren’t really here for you. Your job is to make the event sail smoothly. Once you start thinking this way, you’ll take the pressure off yourself. And you’ll start applying yourself to ensuring that key moments and transitions between speakers are executed to perfection.
2. Pay attention to the clock
As the host, your role is to control the event’s pace and keep it running on schedule. For first timers, the practice of timekeeping may be overwhelming, so rehearse your script with someone in advance. This way, you can get a rough idea of how long your script should be.
This is particularly true of conferences and forums, which need to tick along to schedule. Luckily, most conferences come with timekeepers – or nice big LCD countdown screens. Alternatively, your phone or your wristwatch is your best friend.
It doesn’t matter how you do it – but do it. Keep track of time so you can wind up sessions gracefully without cutting speakers off abruptly at the end.
3. Say every name correctly
It may seem like a minor detail, but the correct pronunciation of names can make or break your reputation as a host. In some regions, words can have a different meaning depending on the tone. Improper pronunciation of names may cause your audience to feel confused.
Check your pronunciation with the organizers or your clients beforehand. If possible, double check the pronunciation with the actual individual you are referring to on your script.
4. Be cautious when making jokes
Jokes can help break the ice and spice up your script. However, you need to be careful about the type of jokes you use. Choose the wrong type and you might end up insulting members of the audience.
You also need to practice your delivery and your timing. Stating the punchline incorrectly or too early on may cause your joke to fall flat.
When it comes to humor, your safest bet is to make fun of yourself. Self-deprecating jokes require confidence and your audience will appreciate your efforts.
In public speaking, you need to effectively work the crowd. With these tips, you will be on your way to becoming a more experienced, truly professional MC.