There’s no right way to emcee (or to be a show announcer, show planner, or script writer). If there are 100 shows, there may be as many as 100 ways to
perform each function “right.”
Still, I’ve been asked so many times how to emcee or if I would let the person see a script in progress or what must be done in what order, that lately I’ve taken notes and preserved final scripts, in part so I’d have something to give to the beseeching souls—and you.
These are the sections that follow, with their page number:
* Emceeing or show planning: What to remember when prepping a one-hour presentation, 3
* Emceeing: how to write a script that works! 5
* Script for a Fourth of July county fair… 7
* One way to write a script for your club or singing group. 15
* Emceeing: a full script for a two-hour show, 18
* Emceeing: the thinking behind writing of the 11/4 two-hour show script, 25
There is a bit of all three—emceeing, show planning, and script writing—in each of the six sections. If there is value for you on these pages, extract and go to it!
Also, if it’s important, my bio is near the end of this ebook. The most important inclusion is “professional speaker with 2000+ paid presentations” (plus many that were paid with gratitude). I wrote 99% of those presentations, did the planning, and was the speaker or emcee. Included are far more than 100 where I was specifically the emcee.
Here is a pinch of this short emceeing ebook:
Emceeing or show planning: What to remember when prepping a one-hour presentation
coming Saturday (12/8/12) I will give a 75-minute presentation to BAIPA in
I’ve been giving presentations (seminars, workshops, breakout sessions, speeches, or talks) for about 30 years (in fact, 2000+ times, paid), but this Saturday’s is a free program, in part because I’m a BAIPA member, I want to share this unique information, and because they asked!
So let me share what is going through my mind about five days before the talk, in part because so many people have asked me if or how I prepare before I speak. Incidentally, free or paid, there’s almost no difference in the preparation.
First, I have to know what the listeners know about the topic, what they want to know, and anything I must avoid saying.
BAIPAfolk (Bay Area Independent Publishers Assn) have almost all published (mostly self-published) at least one book. My guess is that about a third of their titles are for children, another third is adult fiction, and the rest, adult nonfiction. Since my topic addresses that last third, I suspect they want to know how they can convert their present book or write a future nonfiction book for niche readers. I suspect that the rest want the same information, and if at all possible, they’d like to know if fiction or books for kids can be sold the niche route. (Not really.)
So I must be careful not to malign fiction or children’s work, rather to focus on nonfiction.
Since most of them both wrote and published their book(s), I needn’t dwell too long on the writing and book design: they are experienced in their chosen category. I will recommend that they find five other books directed at the same age level and to the same niche they will write to, read them carefully and fully, and from them outline what they need in content and style to sell their own book to this new market.
What most of my listeners don’t know is the upside-down marketing process for niching. (The full process is in my book Niche Publishing: ). In summary, they will likely find a pressing need or resolve an aggravating frustration, frame their solution so it works specifically with folks in that niche, then create a pretest mailed to a selected number from the niche (like 200 or 500). The test will be a flyer, a cover note, and a stamped, return postcard. The flyer will tell the book’s title, table of contents, price, book format, the author’s bio, and approximate page count. If the reply brings enough positive responses (like “yes, I will
pay that much for that book”) that the venture will be profitable, then the author/publisher finishes the book, has it printed, sends a flyer by direct mail to the niche, and mails (or digitally sends) the ordered book.
That’s a very fast summary, but my talk must explain how that process works, the listener’s role in it, and what they must do (and spend) step by step. I must give them an example of each of the testing tools, plus a list of the steps in order to follow. I do that by creating a link list that those interested can peruse and call up as needed; i.e., a sample reply postcard they can see on their monitor or print out.
So I must explain what niche publishing/marketing is, where they find niches, how they can participate, and the mechanism by which the pretest marketing can almost eliminate risk and can keep their costs minimal until they know what kind of book they can produce that will pay for itself many times over.
The other major concern is keeping their questions few and on track so all can follow the procedure as it is explained. Thus I will ask them to please note down any question, and I will open up the talk at three points to clarify or expand anything not sufficiently explained.
The rest is Speaking 101: start and end on time, remember to thank those most responsible for your appearance, speak clearly and maintain eye contact with the crowd, limit the items in focus to about three at a time, provide a handout (or a digital link to the support material) that reduces their need to take notes, dress properly, and have fun.
I hope this quick review serves as a helpful checklist when you too are speaking-bound!
Oh yes, do I write the presentation out word for word, then memorize it? I write out the opening and closing paragraph, and memorize them. I also keep a note card in front of me in case I draw a blank, usually on names. The rest I organize in outline form, the major points in order with the key items to explain about each, and where I will use visuals–which when, and the point of each. If I have a humorous insert I will write in the first line and punch line and circle them. I usually go through the entire presentation once, and sometimes write in good segues between key points in the margin. If it’s a new topic and/or a major presentation, I might mentally
deliver it to myself a few times before speaking.
Emceeing: how to write a script that works!
If you’re comfortable with your topic and audience and you enjoy speaking in public, there are just a few bases you must touch to hear a volley of “great job’s” later on. If you’re not, you may have to tape your script to your glasses and vary nary a whit from its message…
If this sounds like it would help you, you can purchase the ebook from us or from Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords.
Here is a quick order button. From us it costs $4.95. Cheap fame.
Best wishes emceeing! It’s a lot of fun—and it can pay well too!