Effective Emceeing: Don’t be an Awesome Parrot on Stage

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 54 seconds. Contains 580 words

As an audience member, have you ever heard an emcee on stage introduce or close an act by describing it as “Awesome”?

That dance performance was … Awesome!

Up next we will have an act that is simply … Awesome!

That accounting presentation was so … Awesome!

Based on these, it seems like everything is “Everything Is Awesome”.

‘Awesome’ is an awesome word, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. However, people have a tendency to keep using it over and over on stage. It boggles the mind, that of all the words in the world, people choose to use ‘awesome’ as the word to repeat. Maybe it rolls off the tongue better, or maybe it seems to be more impressive than just a simple ‘good’ or ‘great’. Either way, the “one-word-to-describe-it-all” problem is still the same, and it is most definitely not awesome.

The problems of the parrot

Among my group of emcee friends, we’ve begun referring to people who use the word ‘awesome’ to describe everything,  as “Awesome Parrots.” It’s a nice nickname (it sounds awesome!), but it’s also something you want to avoid being.

(From where you come from, people might repeat another word instead of ‘awesome’, but lets just stick to ‘awesome’ for now)

The most obvious issue with Awesome Parrot emcees is that they start to get annoying to listen to after a while. The audience will know what the upcoming act will be described as. There is no more suspense or incentive to listen.

Awesome Parrots will, ironically, make everything sound boring, because all the acts are described in the same way. If every act on stage is awesome, none of the acts are awesome.

By brandishing their limited vocabulary, Awesome Parrots will appear as unintelligent to the audience. You may appear as if you are mindlessly following a standard script, and not trying to make things interesting.

How to be awesome, but not a parrot

The best solutions are the simplest. In this case, all you need is dictionary.com. It’s not the dictionary that is important, but the accompanying thesaurus that is the real help here. Let’s look at some synonyms for the word ‘awesome’.

  1. Astonishing
  2. Beautiful
  3. Impressive
  4. Magnificent
  5. Wondrous

These are 5 words I picked out of a list of 40. Just by mixing and matching them, we have enough words to use that can last an entire speaking engagement.  Just think of the possibilities if we have the full list of words at our finger tips.

You don’t even need words that are synonyms of of ‘awesome’. You can find other positive words to replace it too. Personally, I like to use the word ‘marvelous’. It has become a bit of a signature word I use.

Sometimes, more descriptive words, or even seemingly negative words can help too. We can use ‘fearsome’ to describe a martial art performance, and mean it as a compliment.

Why does this work?

The point of all this is to give flavour to what you describing. When describing a performance, do it justice and describe it using words that are fitting.

Ballets are graceful. A comedian is hilarious. A speech is informative and inspiring.

If you put it this way, each act seems special. The performers would thank you for highlighting their performance. The audience will find you a much more engaging. The event organisers will be appreciative that you are spicing up the event for them.

I hope you can see how a slight change in vocabulary can make a big difference when speaking on stage. Continue to be awesome! Just remember not use that word too much!