By Mike Walter
A wise person once said “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And I think most people would agree, it is universally true.
You have one shot in life, one moment, to open up your mouth and make a first impression. When you are dealing with one-to-one communication, that first impression is significant. So when you are dealing with One-to-One Hundred and Fifty that first impression becomes even more important.
It’s for this reason that every one of my training sessions begins with Bridal Party Introductions.
Welcoming the Bridal Party
We are a “wedding company” and so my MCs do a higher percentage of weddings than any other type of event. And here in the Northeast, our wedding receptions are structured to begin with Bridal Party Introductions (immediately following a cocktail hour.) So the very first time our guests hear us and see us in action, we are walking onto the dance floor with our cordless microphones, welcoming everyone and then introducing that all important Bridal Party (culminating, of course, with the Bride and Groom!)
Make It Smooth
In addition, I’ve always felt that if you can slam Bridal Party Introductions, then kicking off a corporate event or opening a Birthday party with a smooth introduction should be pretty simple. The only exception I’d make to this is Bar and Bat Mitzvahs which have their own unique style. If your company does a lot of Mitzvahs, I’d suggest you emphasize the opening (Family Introductions, Candle Lighting etc) in your training as much as I work on Bridal Party Introductions in mine.
How Training Begins
I begin with my trainees the very first week of training by having them read from a script. I created this script years ago by recording myself at four of five weddings and then transposing my Bridal Party Introductions and keeping the best lines in. As fate would have it, “Scott and Margaret” were a Bride and Groom I performed for back then and it’s their names that have stuck. I only mention that because now, almost twenty years later, we still use the same script. I’ve heard “Good Evening and welcome to Scott and Margaret’s wedding reception…” about a million times in my life!
After two or three weeks “on the script” I give them a list of the same names they’ve been using (the now famous Scott and Margaret’s bridal party) and then as we progress we start changing the list week to week so they get used to different names. I also start getting into how to bring in divorced parents, the difference between a Maid and a Matron of Honor and so on.
Improvement is a Process
But going back to week one, I initially look for the very basics of MCing. I want to hear a good clean voice with a bit of natural inflection. I expect to see a nervous, unconfident person so I look past that. And I’m never critical that first week. I leave them with a few basic pointers and build up their confidence by highlighting anything positive that I heard or saw.
Keep On Refining
As the weeks go on, Bridal Party Introductions are the place where I work with them on their vocal quality, their presence on the dance floor, their gestures and animations, anything and everything that will make them a better, more dynamic MC and entertainer. At points during training I’ll video tape their introductions also so we can go back and watch them together. It’s one thing, for example, to tell someone they need to smile more. It’s another thing altogether when they see themselves on TV not smiling. That can be the real difference maker in terms of their growth and improvement.
Bridal Party Introductions can be a great platform to teach your MCs many of the finer points of public speaking. All the elements that you want and need in a smooth MC are right there for you to work on. Plus, if through repetition and practice your trainees become experts at opening the night, they will always make a great first impression.
Photo Courtesy of Miller + Miller Photography
So how much do you emphasize Introductions in your training? And what other things do you make your trainees work on?
Mike Walter – “The Quality Corner”
Mike Walter is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of DJ staff training and multi-system business development. He is also a writer for Disc Jockey News and Producer of the International DJ Expo’s “DJ of the Year” competition. Mike is the owner of NJ’s Elite Entertainment, selected by The Knot and Modern Bride magazine as one of the country’s top entertainment companies. Mike’s highly praised DVD set is available at TrainingYourNextGreatDJ.com. To contact him about his on-site training services or for general inquiries, email email@example.com