Church MC and being number one on Google

The internet is a strange place. One of the most constantly hit on posts on my blog has to do with being Church Master of Ceremonies or “Church MC”. You can read the full text of the original post here. It’s not a particularly great post. In fact the comments on the post flesh out more fully, what good MCing looks like. Bernie also recently posted some thoughts as well

Even if MCing a church isn’t something you think you’ll ever do, many of the tips in my original post apply universally to any form of public speaking. So for all the people Googleing “church mc” and “ getting my blog take note. Here is another shot at advice on being an awesome MC.

Confidence - This would be one of the things that I notice the most. A confident MC will make the people in the audience feel comfortable. The MC needs to bear in mind that leading confidently allows the audience to consciously or unconsciously relax, and begin to feel at home. Confidence involves what you wear, how to speak and your body language. Often one will follow the other. If you dress well, the general rule is that  behavior also lifts up a few notches. Part of being confident is to start strong.

What you wear - I always dress smartly if I’m MCing. This has an affect on how you are perceived. Ever wondered why most newsreaders always wear ties? Wondered why there aren’t many young men who read news... it’s all about perception and trust. As a minimum I recommend a shirt and shoes. If you’re going to wear a tee shirt make sure it’s a nice one. If you don’t know what “nice” is then a collared shirt is your home base.

How you speak - Speak clearly. Don’t use slang especially Christian slang. Make sure you can be heard at the back of the room. Practice before hand if necessary. Speaking with confidence sometimes involves “acting” the part. If you make a mistake it’s better to make it a big bold one. Don’t use words that visitors might not understand. Christian MCs are particularly guilty of this throwing round big words that are unnecessary.

Body Language - Use open not closed body language. Closed body language is defensive. Arms crossed is a key example. Use gestures. The bigger the space the stronger and bigger the gestures will need to be. Own the space it’s yours. You are the one steering the ship. 

Clarity - One of the things that I get most annoyed about is “fill” language. For example “So ummm errrr yeah we’re going to pray now so let’s ummmm talk to God...”. Nearly everyone does it often out of nervousness. It’s much better if you’re praying just say “Let’s Pray” then pause for a moment then start. It’s not necessary to explain why we pray, or what we’re praying for. Ninety nine percent of the time it is completely self evident. If you have planned beforehand what you want to say this can easily be avioded. Have it written down if necessary.

You will always speak for longer than you think you do. People will always get bored before you notice they bored. Don’t talk for too long. Practice what you are going to say in front of the mirror or on location if possible. I said it before don’t use Christian jargon. Always remember the outsider or person who might be new needs to understand what you’re talking about.

Feedback - Feedback is important. A good MC should ask for and welcome feedback. No-one MCs perfectly. We’re all in the business of getting better. It can be helpful to provide a short pro-forma to someone listening can access your MCing and suggest improvements (while also telling what you’re good at).

Feel free to add more in the comments to be forever immortalised on the internet.



Christian said... 8/28/2013 10:44 am  

Some good stuff in there, but I'm not sure about not using any Christian jargon. I think it can lead to MCs trying to explain everything that we're doing from first principles.

Do we really need to know why we're singing fully explained every time we get up? Are we really alienating people if we just tell them we're going to sing, even if it is a bit mysterious.

I'd argue that people coming to church will expect not to understand some thing straight away, yet they come anyway.

Don't overuse jargon, but it can be a bit painful for the MC to not use any jargon at all.

Anthony Rochester said... 9/03/2013 8:00 am  

"pray" and "sing" and "amen" etc aren't jargon, they're common english words, so its fine to use them.

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