While organizing an event, be it a wedding reception, an engagement ceremony or a corporate annual day, a large part of its success depends upon the manner in which the guests and invitees are engaged. It is here that the presence of a professional emcee can make all the difference between a memorable event and a forgettable one. A great emcee can hold the audience’s attention and ensure they interact with him.
Gaston Dsouza, who is a leading name as a master of ceremonies in Mumbai and has been enthralling audiences as an emcee and corporate trainer for thousands of hours, says there are a few qualities one must have to make it to the top. Let us explore these qualities in detail:
Groundwork and Preparation:
A great emcee is always prepared. Hosting an event is not an easy task and needs a lot of preparation and groundwork. A professional emcee will ask dozens of questions and will have lots of queries about the event, the guests, their profile, the content and the purpose of the event. This kind of preparation helps the emcee to be ready with the background of the event, with a lot of relevant information and stories kept on stand-by for use. He/she will keep a sheet that shows the various events that will happen throughout the day so that the event sticks to its schedule and does not run out of time. A professional emcee is always prepared for an emergency which could eat up time from the main event and has fillers to bridge long gaps too. He does not need a script to manage the session and can easily keep the communication going at an easy pace.
Top-notch emcees are great at capturing the audience’s attention quickly and set the mood that has the audience anticipating a great time ahead. You always want your guests to be involved in the goings and so do the guests. A good emcee will make the guests feel like they are a part of the event and are not just being talked to. Especially, during a corporate event, the audience’s involvement becomes extremely critical as does their buy-in so that the organizational goals are met. He will ensure that the names of important guests and VIPs are clearly and correctly pronounced but that should never become the only criteria while selecting an emcee.
The art of storytelling and regaling the audience with anecdotes and true-to-life stories, comes quite naturally to a successful emcee. There will be times when the attention of the audience may waver and the clever emcee is ready with a solution to spark the imagination of the guests by thinking quickly on their feet and reconnecting to the audience once again.
Communication comes naturally to them:
The true talent of a great emcee lies in his capacity to make the person sitting in the last row as connected and involved as the guy in the front row. Obviously you want your guests to feel important and it is the emcee’s job to do this. With a great rapport being built in the first five minutes of the start of the event, the rest of the program does move quite smoothly with audience involvement at its peak. They can motivate the audience to participate and keep them inspired throughout the length of the entire program.
Also communication is not only about speaking but involves a great deal of listening too so a powerful emcee will “listen” for verbal cues from the members of the audience, in the hope of building a dialogue with them. This also helps them to understand the pulse or the mood of the audience and therefore regulating the tempo of the program as desired. You will also notice that a professional emcee will constantly seek feedback which not only help him to alter his pitch but also gives him the liberty to give the audience what it is looking for. This customization happens on the feet and is completely seamless so that the audience too does not feel the change and simply moves along with the flow.
There is this common notion that in order to become a good emcee, one needs to be extremely gregarious and outgoing. While these qualities are essential, they do not guarantee success at the topmost level. Yes, being cheerful and extroverted does help to a great extent, unless an emcee has a certain amount of flexibility and maturity, the entire package may not seem too attractive in front of an audience.
A quick sense of humour coupled with a clear sense of understanding of the deliverables makes for a great master of ceremonies, says Gaston Dsouza, who is a highly sought-after emcee in India and is a leader in corporate training.