Sunday, April 23, 2017

Master of Ceremonies Conquered

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

The event?  An Evening Under The Stars by Birth Choice Temecula.  It is the annual gala, the largest fundraising event of the year for the pro-life pregnancy crisis center. Last year they paid for a professional emcee and a professional auctioneer.  This year I offered my services as emcee at no cost, and my friend, an amateur auctioneer, offered his services for the price of his tux rental.  After it was all over, we had comment after comment by attendees that we were a better team than the paid professionals from years before.

"In other words," my wife said later on last night, "you've discovered something else you are good at."

"Everybody knows," my daughter in law said, "that you're a good public speaker."

That was the hoped for reaction after I told my family about how well the event went where I had been tagged to be the Master of Ceremonies.

While I've been a public speaker for about a decade, a radio host for slightly longer, and an instructor for nearly as long, emcee is a new experience.  I decided to open up with my "God voice," low and commanding, and it worked well.

What made the evening go so well?

For one, I only referred to my script once, and when I did so, it wasn't while I was on stage.

I wrote out eight note cards with what I wanted to say, practiced with them a couple times before my radio program began (from which I had to flee quickly after it was over to get to the event on time), did not memorize them, but remembered essentially what I wanted to say, and then never looked at them again (except the one time, because I wanted to tell the funny I had come up with about half way through the event).

The funny?

"Show of hands, how many of you in the audience are not from the Temecula Valley?"

About a dozen and a half hands went up.

"How many of you are from outside the Inland Empire?"

Five, all at the same table.

"How many are still here from last year's event, but have been stuck here in traffic?"

An few hands went up, with chuckles.

On the spot funnies were also inserted.  One auction item was offered by a local police department, and after providing the description and the winning paddle was determined, I said, "Good for you.  We need all of the shooting practice we can get, because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away."

A former city council member friend of mine commented later, "That was great, you poked the police in the ribs, but everyone was laughing about it."

What resulted was a natural, spontaneous delivery throughout the night.  Fortunately, I am one that knows how to read a crowd, and ad lib as necessary.  And, it was tons of fun.

The live auctioneer is a friend of mine.  He's an amateur auctioneer who delivered a professional performance.  We had never worked together before, but with me reading the descriptions of the items up for bid, and adding my own comments about the items, and playing off the crowd as he was doing his thing ("Really?  You are going to let that guy outbid you?"), it went over well.

In short, I had fun, and was happy with the result.

Thank you, Birth Choice Temecula, for giving me the opportunity.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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