Hmm...what else is there to say? *cricket sounds*
We’ve all been through that phase. We came highly-prepared, with high hopes that everything will run according to plan.
Unfortunately, this is the world of events. Everything and anything could happen at any time!
The Guest-Of-Honour might have an emergency and is running incredibly late, the sound system is down, and the audience is hungry for some instant entertainment, or you merely overestimated the event duration that your script could not outlast the program agenda.
We, as Masters-of-Ceremonies have to anticipate and be mentally ready for situations that catch us by surprise. We have to come up with lots of impromptu segments which can engage the crowds. Otherwise, the audience will lose faith in the event, and our clients will lose faith in us.
Here are some tips for you when you run out of things to say and need some filler content.
- DO SUFFICIENT RESEARCH
I couldn’t stress about this more. If you do your research well, there will be LOTS for you to talk about during your event.
For example, if you are hosting a product launch, are you able to come up with its benefits from different angles? Maybe it’s the launch of a new gym. Do you think that only fit-looking studs and babes will be interested? Can you think of different kinds of people from different demographics (age, health priorities, and social status) that this gym could reach out? Anyone, from pre-enlistment teens to the elderly looking at a healthy workout while expanding their social circle could be well under the gym's target group too.
If you could have all this information on hand, you have quite a lot of things to talk about besides repeating the same old message. You can even separate different announcements at different intervals so that your words do not sound repetitive.
Your research shouldn’t just stop there. You might also like to consider the vibe this event trying to convey. If it’s sophisticated, are you able to come up with related topics that reinforce the feeling of luxury? If it’s casual, do you have observational jokes from the daily hustle so that your audience chuckle and loosen up?
With all that research that you have, are you also able to come up with a short, relatable story that ties in with the event’s main message? A story makes the company or product more relatable to the audience. It is what the brand human.
- INTERACT WITH THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU
Chat with your guests. They’ll have lots to share. Images by @jens_johnsson taken from www.unsplash.com
Whether they are attendees of a formal event or just some random stranger strolling past your roadshow, it is the people who will help you most with your impromptu announcements.
You can start by finding a couple of smiley faces. If handed a mic, they are the ones who will say positive things about the event or the organiser. Remember their names. Remember what makes them unique. Most importantly, remember what they like about the event so that you can use that as a form of “testimonial” to draw in more crowd and interests. Maybe they enjoyed the 10-minute massage. Hence, you can make some special announcements to grow the queue at the massage booth.
Want more interaction? You can spice it up by creating your mini Q&A segment. It can be as simple as getting them to repeat something you said earlier. A Q&A segment works very well with kids as they love to be on the mic without expecting any forms of rewards.
There are also latecomers. If it’s an open event, where random members of the public can enter whenever they want, you can repeat the event’s core message, so that they can have a better understanding of what’s going on. If it’s a formal event, you can recap what they have missed out. But caution, do not make a big deal out of their lateness!
Besides the participants, you can also interact with the staff and vendors of the event. Maybe it’s a speciality food station, and you can get the team to share what they have to offer. Perhaps the event has a live band, why not get them to talk about themselves? Who doesn’t like a free promotion?
- OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE
Something is happening every few seconds. Just pay attention. Image by @iyolanda taken from www.unsplash.com
If you are really out of things to say, don’t panic.
Take a deep breath. Step out of the situation for a moment. Take another look at the event, take another look at the people that are in it. Within a short 10 second observation, there are lots you can talk about.
On your left, there might be someone winning a small contest. On your right, the queue for a particular booth is getting more popular. Maybe its time to let the audience know its time to queue up before the line gets longer.
Remember, event hosting is never predictable. You can’t control what happens, but you can always have fun with the flow. With several practices, you will be able to program your mind with a “special Emcee language” which you can thrive at any given event.
All the best!
Rick Chan is a professional Master of Ceremonies who specialises in product launches and roadshows. As an emcee, his goal is to bring out the best from every company he serves and reach out to their intended audience.
Besides entertaining the crowd, Rick has also imparted his elocution skills to the younger generation by provided public speaking training to students from schools such as Victoria School and Raffles Institution.