As a professional event emcee, understanding the background of our audience is often essential. This knowledge helps us to engage them, so as to achieve the key objectives of any event.
Singapore is an illustrious city with a relatively short history. Since its independence, it has been adapting to constant change in global trends in its pursuit of economic growth. Hence Singapore is a cosmopolitan city today, with residents coming from all over the world. Each speaks a different mother tongue, comes from a different cultural background, and is accustomed to different societal values.
As a professional event emcee (also known as Master of Ceremony or MC for short), I have encountered numerous events. From Community and Grassroots level, to Award Ceremonies, Dinner and Dance, Family Day Carnivals.. etc, audiences are usually heterogeneous, coming from all walks of life. More often than not, people from different demographics display different characteristics. Interestingly, even amongst those from the same racial or ethnic group, people usually behave differently and provide different response to different stimuli. For example, Millennials primarily speak English. In fact, most millennials that I personally know, speak better English than own mother tongue language. However, when interacting with someone from the Baby Boomers generation, we will realise that few of them hardly speak English. Some are not even proficient in the common Mandarin Chinese language. More often than not, the event emcee would likely have to speak the local dialects, to effectively engage this community.
Being a professional emcee, our role is more than simply dressing up for the occasion, displaying a professional demeanour, or speak with outstanding enunciation. Our primary responsibility is to connect with the audience, ensure that event objectives are achieved, and that the audience enjoy themselves. This is the key reason why a truly bilingual emcee is the essential for most events to be successful.
Although bilingual capabilities do not ensure an event’s success, however the ability to communicate in multiple languages greatly enhances the chances of connecting with the audience. Take a wedding banquet in Singapore as an example – It is a common scenario where the groom is a Hokkien, and the bride is a Cantonese. While it is fairly easy to communicate with the younger audience using the English and Mandarin languages (because we have been exposed to these languages while we were in school), however to truly connect with the elders, one would likely have to use the Hokkien and Cantonese dialects.
One of the most outstanding professional bilingual Masters of Ceremony whom I came across is Emcee Richard Style. Quick-witted and entertaining, he effortlessly connects with local Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Be it white-collared professionals, blue-collared workers or even senior citizens, he engages them all. In fact, I have witnessed in person his ability to connect and entertain a vastly diverse audience. This probably explains why he is one of the most sought after bilingual emcees in the business.
Whether it is a wedding banquet, or a corporate Dinner and Dance, the choice of emcee is paramount to success. To ensure audience engagement, it is essential to hire a bilingual professional emcee!