I was 9 years old the first time I held the microphone as a Master of Ceremonies, the event was ‘The First Lady’s Children’s Concert’, organised by the then first lady of Nigeria – Mrs Maryam Babangida. I was exhilarated and knew I had the gift and talent to do this. This was in 1991.
Fast forward to Sunday 11th November 2007, as a graduate of Anatomy, NYSC completed, job dumped, successfully MCed a number of events, I decided on that fateful evening, to pursue a long term, full time profession as a Master of Ceremonies. That evening, I was the MC at the launch of Sleek Hair and Makeup Nigeria, it was defining moment. I saw many MCs around me, MCed as a hobby or part time interest, but I knew beyond any doubt, I could make it a full-time profession, if I worked with excellence and consistence, I could within 10 years be a force to reckon with and trailblazer for others to follow.
At that time, I could neither find nor afford any professional training for MCs and so, I decided to learn on the job, school myself from books, television and the internet, keep learning and keep moving. Good jobs were coming in until I left Lagos for Port Harcourt and then it seemed like I was back to square one. Jobs became fewer and far between, with much less pay.
I refused to relent, I improved my skill, stayed on the grind, got repeat business, referral clients and today the story is changed. I have solid relationships and retainerships with high net worth individuals, corporate and religious organisations and institutions.
By the time I kicked off my MCing career, majority of the good MCs I knew were broadcasters on television or radio, not like there is anything wrong with that, I just also knew there are countless individuals like myself, in non-speaking fields, who have the raw talent, desire and passion to be professional Masters of Ceremonies (till date, people always ask what TV or radio house I work with).
Not having enough engagements/income was the major challenge at the start of my MC career; I mitigated this by working as a makeup artist and makeup merchant at some point and I represented a few network marketing companies at other times. I have long dropped these as they were just scaffolds to support the dream.
Someone looking to become a full time MC could maintain a job or be involved in another business, for a stipulated period. A time comes when the demand would be so high, possibly across cities, and at that time, it may be difficult to maintain any other job.
Due to my experiences in my formative years as an MC, I decided I would someday, teach/train/mentor upcoming MCs and help them set up their own profitable businesses. In 2014 TALKADEMY Training School for Masters of Ceremonies, was founded to fulfil that desire to raise other MCs like me, seeing that opportunities are endless and available everywhere. TALKADEMY was founded with the aim of professionalising and standardising our profession.
Till date we have trained 86 individuals, some of whom are flying high in their MC careers.
In the same vein of developing the Event Hosting industry, to mark my 10th anniversary as an MC, I authored a book, “MASTERY – Boost Your Speaking Income by Becoming A Professional Event Host MC”. It was written as a jumpstart for upcoming and existing MCs, showing basic MC best practices, MC etiquette, client/audience/vendor relationships and business positioning.
The book is laced with few of my personal stories and has priceless contributions from 12 Top MCs from around the world; Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi (Nigeria), Derek Bbanga (Kenya), Donna Daniels (Singapore), Donovan Fernandes (Canada), Hisham Wyne (Dubai), Ik Osakioduwa (Nigeria), Joy Egolum (Nigeria), Koffi (Nigeria), Miho Noguchi (Japan), Pete Miller (Australia), Pritesh Chandra (New Zealand), Timothy Hyde (Australia) and Foreword written by The King Alibaba Akpobome.
It is a sumptuous read if I dare say so myself.
MASTERY is available in e-book and audio book formats at www.joycedaniels.net/mastery.
When a road or house is to be built/constructed, qualified and certified engineers and construction consultants are engaged, before a surgery is performed, only a qualified surgeon is engaged, only trained and well-trained teachers are hired in the best schools, professionals are hired to do professional’s jobs. In the same vein, within the next decade, people would only hire trained and certified Professional Masters of Ceremonies to anchor their events for maximum benefit to all stakeholders.
The revolution is on!