The Power of Forensic Listening: An MC's Secret Weapon
Did you know that a professional Master of Ceremonies (MC) knows what happened at an event before they even arrived?
They know what went down at the wedding ceremony and can tell a marvellous story about how the groom tried to hide a tear when he first laid eyes on his bride. They know that one of the technicians almost – just almost! – dropped the expensive, fragile new product hours before the launch began. Best of all, they delight their audience and impress their clients by telling these stories later on.
Yep, it’s like they have Jedi mind-reading powers. Guess what? You have this power, too.
It’s called “forensic listening”. This technique is an entirely separate process to gathering information and stories at interviews before the event. Forensic listening is all about picking up invaluable information on the actual day of the event. By using your ears effectively, you can learn juicy information, inspirational stories and fantastic anecdotes to weave into your introductions, announcements and speeches. It’ll captivate your audience later on.
People remember stories and anecdotes, especially when they’re inspiring or funny. They forget the boring stuff.
After the guests and attendees have arrived, go and join them while they eat canapés, drink cocktails and network. Make your way around the room and LISTEN. Optimise your forensic listening by laser-targeting the people you’ll hear the best stories from.
At a wedding, zero in on the bride and groom’s parents first. If you’re lucky, they’ll be laughing about when the bride and groom were kids and talking about how delighted they are with their offspring’s choice of partner. Join in the conversation.
If you aren’t getting what you need, simply ask the right questions.
“So, how did it go? Did he say all the right things?” and “Were there any tears at the altar today?” You’ll discover excellent information. Expert tip: best friends usually have extremely interesting stories to share!
At a corporate event, target company owners and long-term employees. Listen for and elicit powerful stories that encapsulate the organisation’s goals and values, and reveal the valuable insights people gained from overcoming obstacles. Find out why it’s important to attendees that they’re here, in this room, today.
After you’ve gathered an excellent tidbit, always explain that you’d love to use it later on in your introductions, speeches and announcements. That way you’ll avoid revealing something you shouldn’t and can make sure the story-teller is OK with you sharing.
Keep in mind that any guest or attendee may have a fabulously interesting story to tell – and it’s not always the extrovert.
Don’t switch off after you’ve mined stories from your targets. Always keep an ear out during the event, be ready to ask the right questions, and forensically listen to the golden replies.