I have never ever asked to be an MC in my entire life, but somehow whenever entering a new environment, people just randomly come and ask if I want to take that role. And since that occasion, I started to pick up MC as an extracurricular activity. One event ended, another started, and being an MC allows you the privilege that you are selling yourself to a large number of people at the same time. Hence, there are periods when I have constantly got invited to host shows and events of diverse scales.
How it all started
The story of being an impromptu MC started when I was 10 years old. Back then in my little town, I was one of the figures in the performance team. I did sing a bit, and I joined in many school events, provincial contests and Union meetings to entertain people. It was a time when a show organizer needed a “little MC”, they wanted to pick a potential kid from that performance team, and I was chosen.
Naive as I was, the lank 10-year-old stood on the stage, I started to raise my pitch and strain my tone to sound dignified.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome you all to the annual Communist Youth Union Congress of Ninh Binh Province todayyyyyyyy,
Hundreds of spectators in that auditorium paused for a few seconds, then they started to clap their hands as something people usually do in that scenario. I remembered hearing the buzzing chattering noise broken out from the end of the stands.
“Right! Now I would like to introduce Mr. This, Ms. That to the stage to share their opening speech, please welcome!”
People gave me 20.000 Vietnam Dong as a stipend after that event. That was the first time I got paid for something I do, other than the 5.000 VND each time I voluntarily offer my dad to pluck his gray hairs.
So that I can buy 1 snack and 2 candies.
The first MC experience, random as it was, urged me that I am capable of delivering such activity. It opened the door for me to pursue emceeing as a hobby first, then as a part-time profession as I entered adulthood.
Lessons from practical experience throughout
By now, I am no longer a stranger to that kind of job, people can easily portray an image of mine as a young dude who usually appears with a tight vest on, slick-back hair, and wears a fairly ceremonious attitude.
MC is an interesting yet tiring job.
On the bright side, hosting interdisciplinary events allows you to learn from each and every topic a bit. I have been with start-up launching ceremonies, academic talks with industry experts, entertainment shows featuring renowned artists in Vietnam, and many other kinds. To host any of those shows, I need to study their backgrounds, their motivations, the purpose of showcasing each product or experience to be able to describe and explain it well. Hence, I learn novel knowledge along the way. For example, I started to be able to envision the core concepts of fine dining thanks to a semi-academic panel recently, which I did not know before even being a student in Hospitality Management. And yes, you got to train your soft skills, stage presence, and meet new people every day. All of those experiences are great.
On the other side, being an MC requires you to be very circumspect with every move, which can be tremendously haunting. Your appearance, your words, your walk, every action has to be gingerly considered, or else you bear the cost of ruining that event. In chaotic cases when the show organizer messes everything up: the agenda, the guest list, the logistics, the calmness of his/ her team, you have to be the one who proficiently arranges everything and is able to control the audience’s mood. Time on the stage is counted in half a second, and it is indeed stressful when you have to push your brain to work while trying to display a calm attitude.
My advice for those who want to try em-ceeing
Even though MC is a tough job, it is still rewarding. And for those who want to try emceeing, university life is a perfect time for you to nurture this talent. I have two pieces of advice for MC newbies: focus on the depth and know your value.
Standing on the stage and delivering public speaking is normal, what distinguishes an MC from a speaker is how well he or she can evoke the audience’s emotion by their words. Speak slowly and concisely, but try to emphasize the messages by connecting the stories and visualizing plain theories. Ask yourself each time you appear: What will wow the audience? Which elements can drive the audience curious in this kind of event? Connect with them through emotions, not information.
The second advice is to respect your value. It is a sad thing I witness that for some newbies who dedicate their time and effort to host an event, people often take it for granted. As long as you are delivering your work appropriately, ask for what you can get. Salary should not usually come first, but the recognition from the organizers counts. These days, little or much, people have to pay to bring an event from proposal documents to reality. If they spend an amount of their budget to please the audiences by offering them water and sweet cakes, you should also be counted in. I am not encouraging you to be condescending, but once you respect your value, others will do so.
All in all, Emceeing comes to me as naturally as it is, and the journey grows myself in multiple aspects: soft skills, knowledge, and connections. I truly believe that in this day and age, possessing MC skill sets allows you an advantage in every job. Hope that my story gives you a closer look of being an MC and is helpful for those who desire to see themselves in that role.
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