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Joe Hanson: The Art of Names & Pronunciations In Your Job as a Master of Ceremonies



What really qualifies you as a professional compere? Is it the number of jobs you have anchored, or the tenacity and skill you have honed while anchoring a great number of events?

Well, the latter makes for a valid point, but there is one key aspect of developing yourself to be a better compere and that is the art of pronunciation. No, I do not mean phu-neh [foreign accent], I mean pronouncing names especially indigenous ones correctly!

I know someone who use to breathe heavily whenever he saw names from the east, west or even the northern part of the country on the list of dignitaries, families etc. Well, I was one of them and that quickly got me sweaty and apprehensive.

Colleagues in the industry will agree with me that this forms part of the pressure especially when it is handwritten on a piece of paper and handed over to you with the words – “MC, announce it now!!!”.

One thing that must not be taken lightly in the line of duty as a compere is the art of proper name calling. Here are a few tips that can help!

Be humble enough to ask for help
Asking has never gone out of fashion and never will, so feel free to always ask either the vendor, event planner/manager or even a family member when in a tensed situation. Better still, feel free to meet the person one and one and politely ask how his/her name is pronounced.

Yes, most times some people can be so unfriendly that they tell you – “why are you asking me” or even when they tell you and you make a mistake repeating it back to them they say “ah!!! open your ear o!!! or Mr man, listen don’t spoil my name”.

At this point, just smile as this puts the pressure at a barest minimum because come to think about it – there are a number of pressing issues waiting to greet your presence.

Write according to the sound
Doing this has saved me from embarrassment and multiple corrections while live on the job. I make sure I listen and write according to the way I can precisely pronounce.

For instance, the name – OSIBANJO can simply be pronounced as written, but that could make the bearer look at you twice! But I would write it this way – OR-SHIN-BANJO.


ABDULSADIQ ABDULRASHEED ABIDEEN – Abdul-sir-dik Abdul-rasheed abi-din.

Practice name pronunciations
Practice makes perfect, so the more you practice the better you stand to pronounce them properly!

Try these three tips and I am sure in no time, your fear will vanish!

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