Master of ceremony extraordinaire Ms. Joyce Daniels shares with Suluzulu her experience as a professional mc in Africa.
Joyce Daniels is a Toastmaster and Master of Ceremonies, wife and mother.She believes that the success of any function largely rests in the hands of the master of ceremonies. She hosts all functions and events, for example weddings, charity events, corporate functions and many others. She started a school for Mcs called Talkademy where she shares her experience with aspiring Mcs.
Define Joyce Daniels
Pleasant, Poised, Professional, God-chaser.
We have learned that you began your professional career in 2007, how did you start hosting functions?
I had started hosting events unofficially since the age of 10, so it was not really new to me. 2007 is the landmark year because that was when I decided to make it a full time career.
It was the launch of Sleek Hair and Makeup in Nigeria, and the planner of an event mentioned to a friend of mine, that the earlier agreed MC was unable to make it. I was privileged to step in, and it was a blast. The rest like they say, is history.
As a woman MC, how were you received by the audience?
The audience on that day received me very well indeed. I believe being a woman always works to my advantage because the audience is always pleasantly surprised.
Did you have any formal training or did it come naturally?
My speaking prowess came naturally. I had no "formal" training.
I, however, had to learn informally from my mistakes, asking questions, seeking advice from senior colleagues and acting on feedback from clients.
Do you have a specific person that you look up to?
Alibaba Akpobome . He is an incredibly intelligent, knowledgeable, interesting MC and comedian. He has also played a fatherly role to so many MCs and comedians. I try to emulate him.
He is also the patron of our training School for MCs.
Take us through the experience of the first show you ever hosted? How did you connect with the audience?
My first ever show was "The First Lady's Children Concert 1991" organised by the then First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Maryam Babangida in 1992, when I was just 10years old. I was scared and very excited at the same time and because I I saw it as a challenge to overcome. I also had my friend "Olu" as co-MC and that was comforting.
We were guided by the adults around us, who practically told us everything to say. It was fine, we did very well.
How do you organize yourself for an event?
I send a questionnaire to my client or ask the same questions during an online or offline meeting.
The questions range from aim of the event, event history, demographic of the audience, expectations of me, including the dress code.
Then I research on the speakers, special guests, standard protocol for that organisation or event, kind of phrases I should avoid or embrace and so on.
Talkademy is a training school for Masters of ceremonies that has been in existence for two and a half years, what has it offered and added to this industry and as one of the senior trainers, do you feel like the students that graduate out of this school deliver to your expectations?
Talkademy has placed new MCs on a pedestal that is much higher than where I started from.
It has given to the industry, professionals who know exactly what to do.
Talkademy has brought structure to the learning experiences of MCs. No more trial and error.
Students are taught everything I have learned over the years, so they definitely already perform in their first year, like I did in my fourth year.
They definitely also earn a whole lot more because they have more knowledge and bargaining power.
I am very impressed with the results I see from the graduates, sound testimonials, quality of clients, repeat business, frequency of jobs and more.
What motivated you to start Talkademy? How have people responded to it in Nigeria and other African countries?
My motivation was the fact that there is room for so many more professionals in the industry.
My motivation was that I do not want others to go through the daunting task of second-guessing due to uncertainties.
I was motivated by the fact that I already have so much experience that someone else could learn from and leverage on.
I am determined to contribute my quota to seeing the business of Emceeing as a full time option for many, with untapped possibilities; pretty much the same way the makeup industry has become more organized.
The response from Nigeria has been very encouraging, we have trained over fifty individuals in two years.
A few other Africans in other countries have opened up to us too.
Generally very encouraging responses.
Do you only work at corporate functions or have you ventured into other fields?
Corporate, celebratory, religious, academic and more.
What is the most exciting event you have hosted at to date? What was so exciting about it?
In all honesty, every event seems to be the most exciting, until I do the next event.
What has been your worst experience when hosting to date?
A wedding, few years ago, where the power and sound system, kept going off, and it affected everyone and everything.It made the bride cry and that saddened me.
What advice could you give to young people out there trying to follow in your footsteps?
Determine your core set of values and seek knowledge and guidance, stay focused.