New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - THIS WEEK IN... - KERRE McIVOR

It’s awards sea­son at this time of the year. In every city around the coun­try, all sorts of or­gan­i­sa­tions are cel­e­brat­ing the past year’s achieve­ments.

It’s a chance for peo­ple to be re­warded for their stel­lar achieve­ments and to in­spire oth­ers for the year ahead.

As a pro­fes­sional talker, I’m often called upon to MC in the evenings and it’s some­thing

I love to do. Who doesn’t love a party? Peo­ple are in a cel­e­bra­tory mood, and they look gor­geous with the women all dressed to the nines and the men hand­some in black tie or din­ner suits.

The for­mal dress code means I need to gussy my­self up too and that is quite the process. My hair needs to be styled and make-up ap­plied. I envy my male col­leagues who are called upon to MC. A shower, a splash of af­ter­shave, a comb through their hair and they’re done.

Not me. The lengthy process in­volved in mak­ing me MC-ready means I have, on oc­ca­sion, ar­rived at work with my hair in rollers look­ing like a Mrs Brown im­per­son­ator. The young ones in the news­room, who grew up with GHD curl­ing tongs, are in­cred­u­lous. They’ve never seen any­thing like it. But if I’m fin­ish­ing work at four, driv­ing through Auck­land rush-hour traf­fic and need­ing to be ready by 6.30pm, time is of the essence. The rollers mean my stylist, Luisa, just needs to brush out my hair rather than start from scratch.

The awards cer­e­monies in­volve all sorts of peo­ple. They’re run ei­ther by spe­cial­ist event man­agers or by in­cred­i­bly ef­fi­cient per­sonal as­sis­tants from head of­fice. Venues are hired, cater­ers con­tracted, bands booked and scripts are writ­ten.

I’m the cherry on the ic­ing on the cake. All the hard work has been done by the time I step on to the stage. And de­spite a ca­reer in pub­lic speak­ing that spans more than 30 years, I still get ner­vous be­fore every event. My heart is rac­ing in my chest as I stand in the wings and my mouth is dry. After all the ef­fort other peo­ple have put in, I don’t want to let any­body down.

Once you’re up on stage, the evening is in your hands. There’s a fine line when it comes to crowd con­trol. The awards mean a lot to the win­ners.

They need to feel special and cel­e­brated. At the same time, the cer­e­monies come at the end of a long year, many at­ten­dees are away from home, the al­co­hol is flow­ing and they want to have a good time.

It’s a bit like keep­ing con­trol of a spir­ited horse – you don’t want to keep pulling and tug­ging on the bit, but you do need a tight rein so that they don’t bolt on you. Once the evening is un­der­way and the first award has been handed out, it’s the most won­der­ful feel­ing. When it goes well, peo­ple are re­laxed and hav­ing a great time. Up on stage, it feels like you’re rid­ing a wave of good­will and pos­i­tiv­ity.

And I guess that’s why, de­spite the enor­mous, ner­vous en­ergy ex­pended, I al­ways say yes when I’m asked to MC. This week­end, it’s the Hawke’s Bay Tourism Awards in Napier and the Se­cu­rity In­dus­try awards in Welling­ton. I’m so lucky to be able to meet so many won­der­ful peo­ple and to see so much of this beau­ti­ful coun­try.

As well as read­ing her col­umn, lis­ten to Kerre on New­stalk ZB, week­days, noon to 4pm.

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