So what happens when a person without good mic technique and speaking skills takes the microphone? Disaster. If not catastrophic, then at the very least you get boring. This implosion is not something you'll see very often on network television or from truly professional presenters and announcers like Ellen Degeneres, Tom Brokaw or David Letterman. But you will see it at private events like wedding receptions when the DJ/MC is not skilled in presentation and really comes from an amateur hour background.
Have you visited my new iMCEvents.com website lately? I have expanded my discussion of what makes a great MC and how they make a huge difference.
In my ongoing effort to make clients feel more comfortable a message just popped out of my head. "You can trust me with the mic." That message is what I want to convey to anyone who is considering my services for any event whether it is emceeing their wedding reception, directing their fashion show, working with the auctioneer at their fund raiser or doing the play-by-play at their food and wine show.
Mic Shy & Gun Shy
I re-branded myself from DJ to MC because it became more and more obvious to me that the part of DJ work which takes the most skill and responsibility is being the MC. This awareness was underscored, highlighted and driven home again when I went back to school for more advanced training from renowned DJ Advocate and performance teacher, Mark Ferrell.
Mark reminded us that the number one fear in America and most dreaded activity among adults is public speaking. You've all heard the term "mic shy" but many people have a distaste for speaking to audiences that goes way beyond shyness. I often see the fear in their eyes and even body trembling at the mere suggestion of them making an announcement.
Enter: Gun Shy. Many people who have experienced unskilled presentations as guests then find themselves in a position to hire an MC for their own events. I hear the fear in their voices all of the time. This reluctance to trust the master of ceremonies has launched an entire new trend of having Uncle Bob be the MC at the wedding or have the bride's brother handle the introductions. Their thinking must be that the guests will excuse a family member for being less than remarkable on the mic. Although there is a place for DIY I certainly don't recommend it for something as high profile and important as directing a wedding reception.
So how do you screen for master of ceremonies skills? Start by meeting the candidates in person instead of just calling or e-mailing them. This person will be addressing your audience so how is his/her appearance? What is tone of their voice? How is their demeanor? Do they have a comforting personality and carry themselves well? Do they exude confidence? Mostly, can they accurately reflect your vision of the celebration and convey it your guests. This kind of assurance you can only get from having a face-to-face, up close and personal meeting with them. If you are not super comfortable at this meeting, RUN don't walk away and continue your search for a truly professional MC/DJ with whom you click.
The range of events where I have been the MC is as diverse as the personalities of my clients. I often must be able to shift from low key to high energy even as my events change gears. This flexibility is a skill that every professional MC should be able to execute during any event. Entertainers are not in a static but rather a dynamic work place. And mostly, events are inherently inert which means they need someone to DIG them (Direct•Inform•Guide) the guests as Mark Ferrell so aptly explains in his definition of a master of ceremonies.
You can trust me with the mic. I take charge without taking over. When you meet me in person you will see that I defy any of the cheesy stereotypes that television and movies use to portray DJs. You can also trust me with the music and entertaining of your guests because I care first about you and the success of your event.