My friends Russell and Chloe Lewis said “bye” to bachelorhood while Kevin Wilson almost said “bye” to his sanity.
It was my first stint as a wedding emcee. And I was terrified.
But after some reflection (and repentance), I realized that not all was lost. It actually turned out to be a fun evening! At any rate, here are some life lessons I learnt from being a wedding emcee. Hopefully you can resonate with them as well.
1) It’s not always about you.
Probably the most important lesson of the experience. The day is about the newlyweds; not the emcee. I can’t recall the number of times where I thought that I was the main event of a team meeting, a ministry, or a classroom discussion. Heck, I still struggle with that!
It’s both terrifying and liberating to realize that it’s not always about you. Terrifying, because you are not in control. Liberating, because you don’t always have to be.
2) Know your role.
If I had not done some research beforehand, I would have gone to the reception dinner thinking that the emcee’s primarily role was to hype the crowd up. Although that was a small part of the role, it certainly was not the heart of it. The main role of an emcee – I found out – is to effectively lead the wedding participants through the program. As the “Master of the Ceremonies” I had to know the schedule in and out to do this. Not rehearse jokes.
What is your role in your area of influence? Is it entertain or explain? Speak up or shut up? Knowing your role alleviates personal pain and defuses public angst.
3) Simple is best.
An inevitable result of knowing the schedule is the simplicity in which it is communicated. I found this out the hard way when I was unsure about certain details of the programming towards the close of the day. As a result, I felt like I was overcomplicating simple directions. When I was aware and prepared, however, I realized that my communication became simpler.
Albert Einstein once quipped, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you haven’t understood it yourself.”
People like simple. Understand it well to make it simple.
4) Be yourself.
The first thing I said to the audience was a joke. It sounded good in my head, but when it came out of my mouth, I could literally hear groans of dejection echoing across the hallway. No one laughed. It was terrible.
Fortunately, I said this only to the first group of guests who had been waiting to get into the reception hall so the damage to my pride was minimal.
Even though it sounded funny to me, it certainly wasn’t something Kevin Wilson would have said. So I gathered myself from the floor, reintroduced myself to all the guests, and decided to be myself.
I was listening to a podcast and this guy defined authenticity as giving up who you think should be for who you really are.
Floored me. Hope you resonate with that as much as I do.
5) Affirm yourself.
I don’t about you but it’s easy for me to focus on the negatives and get bogged down by the things that did not go well. But since last week I’ve been trying this new thing of verbally affirming myself. On my way home from the reception, I congratulated myself for a job well done and it felt great.
Kevin Wilson needs to hear Kevin Wilson say good things to him more often. I realized that one affirmation from Kevin Wilson in front of the mirror packed more punch than a dozen from others.
As a result of affirming and appreciating who I am irrespective of others’ opinions about me, I have found it increasingly easy to affirm and appreciate others irrespective of my opinions about them!
Those are some of the takeaways from the experience. Which lesson did you resonate with? Leave a comment below!