The National University Of Singapore (NUS)’s convocation ceremony, commonly known as the Commencement ceremony, was held from 7th – 15th of July 2008, at the NUS University Cultural Centre.
To say that it was an amazing experience wouldn’t really do it much justice – especially for me and my group of friends. Before you even begin your well wishes and congratulations, I’d like to clarify first that I wasn’t among the list of proud graduates this year! Rather, I was amongst a handful of privileged presenters selected from a list of 200 to host the event’s Pre-Ceremony Show!
Yes, it was an immensely exciting and exhilarating experience, for it was the first time the 5 of us had ever worked before a camera and present a show LIVE on air.
Personally, I felt that speaking before a camera during the LIVE Show opened up a whole new spectrum of challenges where public speaking is concerned. One of it, of course, would be handling the stresses that surround you as you are required to deal and react to the flurry of activity that’s happening before you – off camera. Not only do you have to keep a lid on your own nervousness, you are also required to react as calmly and as composed as possible in reaction to changes in programme etc.
Perhaps, another challenge of doing a live show would be dealing with that fact that every little thing you’re doing would be recorded on camera and beamed to over hundreds, if not thousands of viewers seated in the hall or in the comfort of their homes over the internet.
Of course, these challenges are not exhaustive, and you could say that we asked for it when we sent in our applications and auditioned for it! Still, this was a great learning experience – and to share with you more about it, I’ve invited one of my co-hosts from the event to share some of his experience gained from working on the set.
Here’s what he has got to share:
So Anand, tell us a little something about yourself
I’m a fourth year honours undergraduate in the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore. I’ve been hosting/emceeing since JC days and I was part of my school’s debating team in secondary school. I love to explore the artistic arena and am involved in NUS drama productions as a dancer.
In addition, I’ve done a music video for a variety program for Vasantham Central in 2007. I always admire hosts and emcees as they are the ones who control the flow of events with the mic and I always learn from the experience of others.
What made you apply/try out for the position of Live Presenter for NUS Commencement 2008?
I always like to try out new stuff and love challenges. I was having loads of free time on my cards during the summer holidays and saw a good opportunity to gain further experience in the hosting arena.
Was it your first time presenting a live show? How was the experience like when you first started?
Yes! It was exciting and fun! I’ve done recorded programs before but to go on air live knowing that any errors will not be able to be cut out adds pressure to be cautious but I guess I was cool and composed to handle the pressure.
What were some problems you encountered during the live shows & how did you overcome them?
One problem I would definitely like to mention is remembering so many names, the honours terms, the professors names and who to turn the next item to on air. I learnt the art of remembering certain names and I always looked through the script before going on air. In addition, I chat with the interviewee prior to going on air just to make sure I got the names right. It was indeed fun!
How did the sessions become easier as the days went by?
It definitely becomes easier and so comfortable as you know what to do and what to expect and the events juz keeps flowing…Once u pick up the trick of the trade, ya sure to do well!
What were some of the learning lessons gained from this experience?
Firstly, you have to make the interviewee feel comfortable and at ease. Coz, once they get nervous, they tend to blabber or rather go blank. I speak to them as a friend prior to the live show and make them feel relaxed and joke with them. Secondly, I learnt to be prepared for the unexpected. For example, at the last minute while interviewing a graduate on air, I was told to interview a alumni graduate thereafter . So it really helps to be prepared mentally and with the questions up in your mind! Thirdly, the producer and video crew are your good friends. They will prompt you on the spot with cues to assist you in presenting the right names if needed and they make you look good on screen!
Tell us what was the most memorable experience you’d gotten from hosting the pre show?
The whole experience is memorable itself! It’s a great pleasure to share in the joy of the graduating students and their parents. Their aura of happiness rubs onto me. It is also great to meet talented fellow presenters and good friends in the backstage crew. The experience rocks!
Do you have any words of advice/encouragement to share with those who are afraid of speaking up in public?
Speaking in public might look difficult initially due to the many eyes on you. But, fret not and believe in yourself! That’s the key to public speaking. Be confident of yourself and know what you wana say. U are the King/Queen once you get hold of the mic! Speaking in public is an art that gets better with experience!
Bonus: Do you have anything else to share?
You will never be able to know what ya capable of unless you try it out and experience it yourself! Spread ya wings and embrace opportunities. You will truly value the experience juz like I did! Carpe Diem! Cheers!
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Anand is also a free-lance host and he may be contacted at the following: