Here are my Top 15 suggestions for effective emceeing:
1. Open with a surprise, a shock…an interaction, something that makes a connection, entertains, exposes, etc.
2. Use palm up instead of a finger for pointing. Sometimes the finger looks like a gun and is rude in some cultures. Palm up serves up the floor to them in a more gracious way.
3. People say “Yes” when we’ve affected them intellectually, emotionally or physically.
4. Keep your energy and speech moving forward. Never let the energy drop.
5. Audiences like to think that events on the stage are happening spontaneously. They like to be surprised. The great actor does this brilliantly. The emcee needs to as well.
6. Be very conscientious about connecting the dots or you’ll lose your audience.
7. Remember they don’t know what you know. It’s the first time they’ve heard your info.
8. Endings: get everything in before audiences clap. Then get off the stage. Don’t let them see you doing housekeeping. It breaks the theatrical experience.
9. What you feel doesn’t matter. The job is to affect the audience.
10. Never turn your back to the audience unless it’s intentional to make a point or convey an emotion. When you need to move upstage (that’s toward the back of the stage, away from the audience) you do it moving backwards while speaking to the audience.
11. Use inflection of the voice to instigate an applause rather than ask for it. A well-placed pause helps too.
12. Don’t speak continuously. Take “pregnant pauses” that are almost uncomfortable to allow what you’ve said sink into the audience.
13. Constant rehearsing prepares you to keep your eyes off the paper.
14. Enunciate. I hear SO many DJ’s slur through words or rush them. Take your TIME, especially with a difficult word or name, and make sure to stress the proper syllables.
15. Treat and interact each event subject individually…being on one task and jumping into another confuses and overwhelms.
Written by Stacy Zemon