Emceeing: The Unconventional Job

MC Shivaani Sen
MC Shivaani Sen

An emcee earns from Rs. 5000 – Rs. 2,00,000 per event depending on his/ her skill & profile and the profile of the event. Yes, you read that right. There are 5 zeroes behind that number. But before you get too excited about the digits, I feel obligated to tell you a bit about the art. (Here I smile my wicked smile)

Ever wondered how some people are so good at being the life of the party? Or those who weren’t very loud, still had a charisma, sense of humour & elegance about them, that drew everyone towards them. There, these are just a few essential elements of an emcee. I didn’t say, good emcee. To be a good emcee the list is pretty long. 

Starting off in any industry, any profession isn’t very difficult. There are plenty of jobs at the bottom of the pyramid. What’s important is how you move up from there… that is if you want to. We if you are not an actor then you’ll have to work your way up the ladder to become a celebrity anchor.

Unlike other professions where you have to acquire knowledge of just your job & of your industry, Emceeing requires you to learn about… well, everything. From history to current affairs… From automobiles to saving the earth… from Trump to Modi. You get the gist. For an emcee, content is the King. What you say is more important than how you look. And before you say it, you have to research it, edit it, memorise it.

Next is- How you say it. It’s an art where your oratory skills deliver the content on stage in front of a live audience. Training the voice for modulation and accent neutralization is important. Whichever language you host in, learn it well.

Emceeing is where you stand in front of a live audience who are sometimes excited to see you, sometimes doesn’t really care who you are, and sometimes is full of such highly placed people that would give you weak knees… It’s imperative to understand that it’s a visual medium also. You must make yourself look presentable. I don’t mean you have to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie… God No! Just be neat & dress as per the event.

Seems fairly simple isn’t it? You Wish! 

On the difficulty scale, the easiest bit is training your voice. Dress up stands second, primarily because it sucks a lot of what you earn. This is also where a lot of emcees get lost being obsessed over their dresses. Lastly, the most difficult & most important part is content writing.

Picture this. You get an event for a conference for Agricultural industry where you have to open the show and your audience is CEOs, MDs, Directors of companies from across the globe. You need to at the least open this formal show impactfully and also introduce the Chief Guest who is the Minister for Agriculture, so wonderfully that it’s not just the audience but she/he also feels great about being there. 

Emcee begins her work by researching the organisation, the event etc. Understands the contents of the show and starts writing a script which she will deliver in a time-bound fashion as per the need of the show. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

In the beginning of the career as an Emcee, it’s just easy money and there will be a lot of it. And no one thinks much about content much till they stagnate. 

As I mentioned earlier, emceeing is an art. The more you work on your creativity, your writing, your humour, your delivery, the better you grow. (I mean the bank account too). If you rely on just your youth, makeup and pretty dresses then, my dear friend, someone younger with prettier dresses will one day take your spot. Mic drop.


This article has been contributed by MC Shivaani Sen- TEDx Speaker, Best Emcee Bronze 2018, and Mrs South India-1st Runner Up 2019.

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