Emceeing Off Air

The Art of Talking, aka EMCEEING!

November 21, 2015
Some people find public speaking nerve-wracking or unimaginable, but I absolutely love it. The thrill, unpredictability and nervousness just keep the adrenaline going! 

This is what brought me to my love for broadcasting and emceeing. 

Catch me on TV3’s midnight news – Nightline!

If you’re planning to kick-start and develop the same interest, here are the responsibilities of an emcee:


Before penning down your emcee script, identify the type of event you’re in for — whether formal or informal. Some events may not even require an actual script that you must use in verbatim, but one that requires your ability to speak impromptu. 

Formal Events – This may be a corporate event involving CEOs, etc or an event graced by royal dignitaries. In each separate case, you need to be sure how these VIPs need to addressed in your salutations* and script. 

*Example salutation: 

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Nadine Aziz
Chief Executive Officer of
Honeybunch Fashion Sdn Bhd

Notice how ‘Yang Berbahagia’ is used for someone with a ‘Datuk’ title. 

Individuals with a title – YANG BERBAHAGIA
Individuals without a specific title – YANG BERUSAHA
Politicians – YANG BERHORMAT
Royalty – YANG MULIA

In the Malaysian culture, this type of protocol is vital.

If an event involves a foreign ambassador, he/she is addressed as 

Also take note, that not everyone labeled as a VIP needs to be included in the salutations. You don’t want your salutations to be too lengthy, it will definitely bore your audience. Check with the right individuals involved in the event, on who should and should not be mentioned. 

Here’s a snippet of a salutation reading by yours truly for a signing ceremony:

How to Read Salutations

When you find out that you may need to read out foreign names with unique and unfamiliar sounds, check its accuracy before the start of the event!

Apart from the salutations, make sure your script carries a corporate lingo. It should not be too conversational nor too packed with bombastic words. Generally, the spotlight isn’t on the emcee (emcee’s rostrum is usually not even on the stage), but it will be when you make a boo-boo! And if you, move forward and recover quickly. We’re not humans if we don’t make mistakes, ey? 

Also make sure that you will lead the event according to the correct sequence of agendas. Example: 

(1) Salutations

(2) Opening Remark

(3) Speeches

(4) Video Presentation

(5) Event Gimmick

(6) Exchange of Momentos

(7) Ending     

Informal Events – You may be offered to emcee a family day event. Believe me, they won’t want to see you holding a piece of paper and going through your script. In these type of events, they expect something quick, upbeat and lively. 

As an emcee, you need to jive with the atmosphere

It’s also good to prepare a skeletal script so you know the flow (as guidance), or at least be very familiar with the itinerary. An unscripted event will see the need for you to speak impromptu most of the type, with a lot of ad libs.   

My advice, have fun with the audience. Forget about messing up or not knowing what to say. Negative thoughts will only hinder your ability to speak fluently and eloquently. 


Prepare your script in the manner which is most comfortable to you. Where to capitalize, where to bold, where to highlight, etc. Make sure the fonts are in the right size for your eyes, when you step to the rostrum. Make an extra copy on the day of, just in case. Have space to doodle on, as last-minute details almost always come about. 

If there’s a rostrum available, A4-sized scripts are perfectly fine and convenient. If there isn’t a rostrum however, consider having your script in the form of index cards.


Sail to your audience’s ears, by using the correct intonation – the rise and fall of the voice in speaking. 

Know which words to emphasize
Pause where necessary
Grab audience’s attention by changing your tone
Speak with clarity
Know your pronunciations

You can go for training to get a grasp of what intonation is about, or by merely watching the news and other people emceeing.


Always make eye contact with the audience; you can’t forget about them!

When reading the salutations for instance, you should make eye contact with the person whose name you’re reading out. This not only shows respect, but also professionalism.

When reading out an achievement of a company, smile and give acknowledgment.  

If it’s an informal event, interact with the audience. Get them pumped up for what’s to come. Ask them questions, get down to the ground and interview them. Have fun with the kids. 

See how rewarding emceeing can be? 🙂  


Prepare the appropriate attire, according to event. Find out beforehand, whether the event is to be held indoor or outdoor. Wearing heels is a good idea too! 


Practice whenever you can, whether it’s in front of a mirror or for an actual event. You will make mistakes, but that is what practice is for!



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