Be a Killer Emcee at Any Function

The role of the emcee is simply to ensure that the event runs smoothly. This really is a two-fold role – running the show on the day, and being prepared for any eventuality. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to handle the curve-balls.

This checklist is really a guide of what may be required of you. At many weddings, there is a separate wedding arranger that will take care of a lot of these things, but you may be required to handle many unexpected situations.

Because your role is very prominent, you are the person that most people are going to approach with any questions or problems (even if it is officially not your problem), so it is best to be prepared. Remember to delegate and get assistance where possible or necessary.

Before the Event

  • Get a copy of the agenda and check the timings
    • Who is speaking?
    • How long are the speakers speaking for?
    • When are they speaking?
    • What time is dinner, dancing, etc
    • Get contact numbers for all involved (just in case)
      • Bride/groom
      • Venue
      • Photographer
      • DJ
      • Best man
      • Bridesmaid etc
  • Find out the dress code
  • What are the “taboo” topics?
  • Is there a special eating order (eg: table 1 first etc)?/li>

At the Event

  • Arrive early
  • Check out the venue
    • Toilets
    • Smoking area
    • Where are you speaking from?
    • Table for the gifts etc
  • Ask the best man to phone you a few minutes before they arrive, so you can get people where you want them for when the bridal party arrives
  • Confirm timings for the meals with the venue
  • Find out where the controls are for the sound
    • Is there a DJ?
    • Where do you switch the background sound off?
    • How do the microphones work?
    • Is there a dedicated audio-visual person to assist (hotels etc may have)?

Stagetime

  • Welcome the guests
    • Briefly go through the programme “we are going to have starters, then the groom will speak…”
    • Mention logistics
      • where to smoke
      • where the toilets are
      • please switch your phones off during the speeches etc
  • Mention Eating order
  • Speeches
    • You just need to bridge the speeches, you are not the star of the show
    • Be brief
    • Watch timing of speakers – adjust the programme if necessary
  • Let the venue know if food needs to be earlier/later
  • Humour – keep it appropriate
  • You are not the star of the show, but you are critical to the success of the show
  • Remember that you are working – watch alcohol
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself!

Classroom Management – Putting Into Action Non-Verbal Signals

Have you ever counted how many times in a day you are asked to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, sharpened my pencil or I have a question. How many times you verbally tell students to be quiet. Stop being frazzled and wasting valuable teaching time. Teach your students to use non-verbal signals as part of your classroom management plan.

Classroom management has many components to it. One of the easiest to use is non-verbal signs. In order for non-verbal signals to work as part of classroom management this must be setup and expectations explained and modeled as to what is expected of students. At the beginning of the school year teach your students a system of non-verbal signals and how to use them. This will eliminate many behavior problems. Using non-verbal signals is one of the basic strategies to use. By using non-verbal signal you can:

o Eliminate unnecessary classroom noise and disruption to your daily lessons

o stop interference during testing taking

o have a classroom of students who are more focused and finish more work

o save your voice and complete more lessons plans

Where do I find non-verbal signal to teach and use in class? Perhaps you are using some non-verbal signals but do not realize that you are.

o ask last year teacher to see if they used any with the class

o ask veteran teachers

o behavior coach at your school

o research the Internet

I have used five standard non-verbal signals for many years. These are the ones that I use.

o Permission for the bathroom they raise their hand and cross their fingers

o Needs a drink of water they raise their hand and show middle three fingers

o Pencil needs sharpening they hold up their pencil, remember to have pencils in a contain already sharpened for them to swap for. No physical sharpening

o They have a question simple raising of hand

o To get their attention I say out loud five, hold up my hand high and silently start to count on my fingers. The students in return do the same thing so I know when I have their full attention.

The following example is a non-verbal signal to stay on task. I draw on the board a tic tac toe symbol with an extra line going horizontal. There are three horizontal lines, every time they are noisy, talking or off task they lose one third of the line going across. When all the lines going horizontal are gone they have lost that activity for the day. I do not have to remind them all I do is erase that section of the line. I use this for all type of behavior that I want to change or make them aware of. Sometimes it is used for lunch recess, free dress day or going to special classes.

There are many different types of non-verbal signals you can use. You have to choose those that work for you and be consistent when you use them. Consistency is the key.

Contingent Project Management – A Definition

In an IT systems context, contingent project management (“CPM”) is the ability to select an appropriate methodology to apply to and successfully deliver a project, tuning the method as the project proceeds. ‘Contingent Leadership Style’ is analogous. Wikipedia (Fiedler) provides an explanation of contingent leadership.

Yes, a project manager can have a contingent leadership style, but may not have a contingent project management approach.

Let us look at a range of project management framework processes:

Waterfall (gather requirements, design, build, test, deliver, train) – the ‘traditional’ way of building systems. This worked well for systems where the rate of business and technology change was low, having grown out of engineering and construction. It still works well in a construction (civil engineering) context, where generally, the rate of technology change is low. Requirements of a building may change during construction, but the rate of scope creep is still low as compared with many IT projects. In the right circumstances, it can still work well with IT projects.

Agile methods (gather and prioritise requirements, design a prototype, test, deliver, re-cycle – design, build, test, deliver, train and go live). On the scale of low risk/low complexity to high risk/high complexity some of the methodologies would be: XP, Scrum, DSDM ®, RUP ®. Note that risk and complexity do not always equate – some low complexity systems can have profound organisational risk associated with them.

Prince ® could be used in either of these contexts for governance of the project on a wider organisational scale, or locally on a smaller scale. Indeed, the advent of Prince2 moved the methodology into a wider non-IT specific context.

Agile methodologies are most appropriate for example where requirements are unclear at the outset, and/or the technology is new or being stretched, and/or a new business model is being adopted (to name just a few reasons). The range of Agile methods also relate to scale of project and team size.

Sophisticated organisations may have their own ‘pet’ methodology, maybe having invested heavily (financially, managerially and politically) in developing their way of doing things, even ‘branding’ the methodology. After all this investment, they will want to ‘sweat this asset’. Projects will have to fit into the corset they impose – this can cause strangulation at the extreme, building a high probability of failure into a project, even before it is initiated.

After all, Prince ® was developed in the UK Public Sector (and the UK Government still has massive problems delivering projects). At the top end of projects, Prince is often seen as excessivley bureaucratic, but it shouldn’t be like that. CPM should ensure that the appropriate processes are selected for a project and that they are applied judiciously so that the project is not strangled by administration and red-tape.

This choking of projects by heavy methods was observed by the author in an investment bank. The project managers running a large number of smaller projects were unable to meet the centralised project reporting requirements imposed on them, leading to frustration in the managers, frustration in the programme office, and frustration in and with the ‘methodology police’. The recommended solution was to

- Prioritise the projects according to risk (measured on several dimensions), report project status on an ‘exceptions’ basis, and tune reporting frequency to project risk.

This levelled the project managers’ workload, and the centralised need for control of risk and comfort.

So, what of contingent project management?

It is clear that a significant degree of experience is necessary to be able to select the appropriate methodology for a project, and the programme board is not always best placed to decide for reasons mentioned earlier – investment and political capital for example.

An effective project manager will have

- the wisdom and experience to select the correct tool for the job based on his or her perception of the risk profile; the ability to persuade the programme board or sponsor of the relevance of the methodology and the basis of selection; worked with a number of methodologies experience enabling the ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ touch application of a methodology; an innate sense of the risks and their relative salience, meaning that a focus is developed and maintained on the things that matter; finally, the ability to dynamically tune the methodology to circumstances without loss of control (finance, timeline and quality), as the ‘things that matter’ change

Dynamic tuning means applying the tool judiciously – some projects may require very high levels of stakeholder communication, others will have to be highly focused on technology/ performance and proof of concept, others may have political governance issues, new or immature business models, and so on. Some projects, of course, will exhibit all of these risks and more beyond. This list and balance of risks will change significantly during the lifecycle of the project. In addition to ongoing Risk review, CPM requires ongoing process review and change.

How is it that more than 30% of projects fail? It is because failing projects continue in the same old vein, without contingent project management being deployed and the management not responding appropriately to changes in risks.

Contingent Project Management is really straightfoward in principle: adapt and survive – that is, Darwinism. To apply it successfully requires a great deal of experience and flexibility.

Top 5 Best Flash Websites Ever

5: NEOSTREAM Interactive

This is a great multimedia company with very nice animations. The preloader is great to watch and when it’s finished the fun really begins. The main figure on the page waits when you press a button but it’s so much fun to wait a second and hit the figure with your mouse a few times. If you’re ready (after a few minutes hitting), press a button and watch all the different animations. Because of the nice animations I had to click all the links one by one. A very nice flash website which deserves a number 5 place.

4: 2Advanced Studios

Who doesn’t know this website. I guess this is the most discussed website ever. Maybe most people think this is number 1 ever but I think differently because they didn’t update the site graphics for a long time. I think they need a new update with a complete new style and layout. Still, the idea and graphics are fabulous. Also the scripting behind it is advanced and nicely done. It loads very fast for a huge site like this one. Love this one, definitely a number 4 position in my top 5 best flash websites ever.

3: IamStudios

Yeah a dutch company in the list. Welcome to iamstudios.nl, a really original concept and layout. When you enter the website, you see a fun 3d animation of a dog with a speakerhead. After you clicked on the button that you use to enter the flash website, the dog starts animating (very smooth). When the site is loaded, each button gives you a wonderful animation. I really love the 3d work here and the beautiful “white” look. I’m really proud this site comes from the Netherlands. The overall look is very impressive so a number 3 for this doggy.

2: DerBauer Audio Visual Media

Welcome to DerBauer, a website from Marcus Bussejahn. This classic website is one of the best websites I’ve ever seen, actually THE BEST but unfortunately I don’t really like the latest layout. Especially the menu doesn’t look great in my opinion. 5 years ago derbauer was unique and original. Nowadays there are much better ones but because of it’s history and quality it’s for sure a number 2 position. BTW, when you opened the site, there is an Easter egg when you do nothing for a few minutes, very nice! Are you afraid?

1: MGM Grand Entertainment

I know….this site is not famous and perhaps you don’t like it but I think this site is so original that I had to put it on number one! Enter the world of MGM Grand. Press the “Enter Maximum Vegas” button and start the tour. This is not really a flash animation site but a flash video site. With Adobe Flash 8 and later, it’s easy to integrate video in your website. MGM did it in a special way. They shot one video animation and loops it. You can stop the video with the navigation on the lower right corner. When you do that, the video fast forward to the certain location and stops the video there. Then the flash animation comes into place and you can read the information. I never saw this concept before. This is my best site ever, a really 2008 website made with the latest technology available for websites these days.