By Moxx de Vera, Professional Host and Speaking Coach

 

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Standing in front of people, in a crowd of a dozen to as big as stadium can be totally nerve-wracking and 7 out of 10 people will say that it is not their thing. Not everyone was born to speak in public and definitely not everyone was bred to do this professionally.

Public speaking is a skill developed over achievements, failures and a variety of experience. While others just see someone speaking in front to deliver a message, the speaker finds it a whole lot different on the other side. Preparation, confidence and the ability to connect will always be key to say what is needed to be said in the best possible manner.

I have been a professional speaker as a live event host for 7 years now. I started as a radio jock and have gone over a wide variety of experience in different types of media. I

grew into this role not having been able to learn this formally because there’s not much avenue to explore it with. There is no formal schooling for this skill. In the last 2 years, I realized that there’s a need to inform and educate the younger generation on how to do this. Gone were the days where everything was read in books and individuals would sit, listen and learn about something. Everything is online, on video, on blogs. So this is my attempt to reach that market, to educate and teach this as quick and as thorough as possible.

Main questions raised on starting to learn public speaking is, of course “how?”

To give you an idea on “how to,” this means you’re highly interested but have no clue, and that’s why you are reading this. Don’t worry, I am going to share with you some simple trade secrets that you are surely just ashamed to ask because you don’t want people to know you have no clue and you don’t know who to actually – ask.

  1. How do you prepare for public speaking?

Preparation is a very underrated method to succeed. This is the practice of the best and the most famous people and the newbies can’t wait to get from point A to C and forget to pass point B. Preparation can mean a whole planet of things: getting enough sleep, reading and researching for your topic, picking the right clothes, mapping out your notes, and more. Getting ahead a few days before will also do a lot for you.

Confidence starts by being self-assured. If you know what you’re going to say, what to answer, how to look and do things before people even think it, you are on your way to

the top, actually doing those successfully means you have achieved it. Lawyers don’t come into a courtroom without a strategy, a game plan and a retort to every counter-defense the opposing team may have on them. Boxers prepare physically and mentally before every fight. They try to simulate the opponents condition, fight pattern and strategy and make sure to be better than their opponent with every strand of their being. With this, you have nothing more to fear.

So how do you prepare for a specific engagement? You go through your objectives and think of how you can tie them together with your goals. If it’s a speech, you can create a script, practice in front of a mirror. For key-note speaking, rehearse your slides and prepare notes on an index card. If it’s hosting an event, research about who you’re doing it for, get to know the people involved, the crowd. If it’s a presentation, flip over your material back and forth and ask someone to listen to you if you can get the message across.

  1. How do you avoid nervousness and tension?

The body and brain works together to make a fine-tuned machine work. You think and your brain does. Nervousness is caused by lack of confidence because you lack preparation. This causes chemical reactions to your body which causes you to breathe lightly, causing your muscles to tense up, sweat builds up, your heart pounds and realizing that your body has reacted like this makes you even more nervous knowing

you are already nervous.

You must know that muscles need blood to maintain vigor. Healthy blood needs oxygen and oxygen comes from relaxed deep breaths. Do this and your whole body and mind reacts positively. You’ll think more clear and you’ll be more confident.

  1. How do you connect to your audience?

In sales, they will have to teach you a few things to succeed. Profiling, probing and

finding the common ground are few of the things a powerful salesman are good at.

Profiling – knowing your audience increases your chances to connect to them. Be relatable, be empathetic. It is rare that you’ll speak in front of a random crowd so just in case you don’t know your DEMOGRAPHICS, SOCIAL CLASS and their influences. For example, age groups between 18-21 are most likely college students. They definitely have shorter attention than adults so you have to be quick, entertaining and insightful in the first 5 minutes. Social class C-D won’t be able to relate to luxurious and glamorous ideas. A group of doctors will not have time listen to non-medical talks.

Probing – this simply means asking the right questions and zoning in to get to your goal and using the information you gathered to make your ideas stronger. Free speech also enables you to engage your audience and connect it to your point making it more impressive.

Common ground – is simply making the audience think you are one with them. That you can relate to their interests or what they do. For example, if you’re speech is about Public Clean-up Initiatives, you ask questions about what makes the audience feel uneasy when they are outside. What can make them act, what incentives? Even if they don’t answer verbally, they have something in mind which will make them itch to respond, then you’ve done your job.

Body Language – there are a lot to throw around on this topic so I’ll leave you to research on this (reading is good practice for public speaking) but best ones I teach in my workshops are:

  • Point your toes towards the person you are talking to
  • Avoid crossing (or any of your) arms from your body
  • Never point a finger, use open palm
  • Eye contact and smiling
  • Big movements mean tension
  • Avoid touching your face (this implicates lying or tension)

This last bit may not have been pointed out earlier but here are also some topics to avoid, and I strictly go by this because this will definitely cause reactions you would not want. Stay clear of topics touching on RELIGION, POLITICS, RACE, and SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS and other taboo topics that you can come up with. Again, it’s best to research on what may offend particular groups.

  1. How do you improve Public Speaking?

Organize your thoughts, topics and your message. Coming up with a game plan and a digestible flow of ideas will make your audience understand you more. Jumping from one topic to something not related will trigger your audience to change mind-set, and then you’ll have to gain momentum. Be concise with your ideas and stop beating around the bush. Start with an impactful statement and end with an impactful question/challenge to keep their thoughts on your topic.

Speaking isn’t all about charisma and your material. If you have poor diction, everything else will not be attractive. If you speak softly, people will fall asleep or become restless. If you talk slow or too fast, it causes them to lose attention. Speaking clearly, enunciating, articulating, emphasis, proper volume and tone all play a dynamic role in winning a crowd. Being an English-speaking country, we have the capacity to connect and impress on a certain level of expectation. Being able to speak the universal language gives you an edge, being able to speak it on an advanced level impresses a lot of people. Couple this with an awesomely prepared and rehearsed material and you are golden. Imagine a stand up comedian who’s got bad diction, may it be your local dialect or language, if it’s not clear, your audience will not laugh.

These are just a few

of the best elaborate tips. If you want to learn more public speaking or live event hosting, I offer a workshop that can help you become your best self.

Like me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/moxxdeverapro and send me a message. Maybe you’d also like to engage me in intelligent conversations, drop me a message and I’d be delighted to respond.

Being a host, I always get my audience involved. I engage them with the program. They are the program and their opinions will build a bigger stage for me to play in. The better their participation, the smoother my program can run.

So here’s a little clincher that I need to get an outside perspective from.

I grow my facial hair for so many reasons…actually I only (really) have two:
1. People do not take me as seriously because they think I look young(er). This is flattering considering my real age but imagine the disadvantage when I’m in front of clients. If my eyes aren’t expressive enough and not bring much wisdom, then where do I stand? This also surprises some people and get them curious eventually asking me how old I am. when I tell them, imagine the “aha!” moment.

2. I simply have chubby cheeks. With my genetically gifted body (sense the sarcasm), one can only manage so much. When all the fats have gone, my face (the cheeks especially) will still be there. The facial hair distracts the people from looking directly at it noticing my chipmunk cheeks. I was fit 2 years ago and it lasted for about 8 months more and it sucks but what can a middle-aged man do?

I’m also quite torn. Whether performing, hosting, or speaking with clients, people say that it is “corporate” to be neat, same as some women say clean and neat is always good. Then there are some who find the scruffy look more appealing, that it adds character to a person. The term “fear the beard” is not only to put terror on other people but I believe this as a difference in presence. Then again, there are my parents and wife saying that the ‘stache gives my baby facial rashes, when I kiss them it’s “itchy” on the face. It looks cool on photos, makes me look manly and adds a little something extra for my overall look. These things make it hard to decide…Plus, I forgot that it is tremendously painful to shave every after 2 days. Women who shave armpits and crotches will know this, so do men with my same dilemma. It is also expensive on razors.

So here we are. I need to know and basically just want to hear your opinions and suggestions on which is better. Lately, the facial hair has gained back its popularity and I was one of the blessed ones to be able to grow it. It is just difficult to keep up. I am the type who feels that I need to do something different with my look after (maximum) of 2 months.

Is it better grown and groomed or clean and shaved?

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An emotional, physical, mental and spiritual rollercoaster. It’s an everyday adventure. You meet and speak with different people, breathe different air everytime. An overall sensory experience.

Each year I get older, and my greatest takeaway from my life of 32 years is that I’ve wasted it in regrets. Last year, I took upon myself that I face my new year in a different perspective. I embraced my faults and weaknesses and strengthen all the good times with good memories. I make the most of every moment. I may not have had enough money to go places, do things, but I always walk away from moments with deep remembrance.

I have learned a couple of things to self-motivate. In my darkest times, the hardest challenges, you have to make choices. It is up to you to suffer or walk on. There were times I’ve dwelled but I made a choice to survive.

Each memory serves as a page of a book I learn from and These knowledge I’ve been happy to share.

To everyone who has been there for me, have stuck around because you know my worth, to the ones who have entrusted their emotions to me, to those who have had undying patience in waiting for me to learn and mature, to those whom I’ve hurt but have forgiven me, those people whom I may have neglected but are still seeing me through, to all the times I couldn’t show up and hangout with you and spend time….THANK YOU. From 32years and beyond, I give out my sincerest thanks and praises to everyone with (or even those who are not with) me for completing who I am.

Now Dear Lord, let’s get on with the next 32 years

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imageBeing associated to a public figure has its ups and downs. Being a brother to one has more. This entry is the answer to most of your questions that I am willing to share, to share no more.

I’ve been thrown a lot of related questions but that one line bowls me over and for almost a decade now, I still do not know what to answer to… “Bakit ikaw, hindi mag-artista?” (In english- why don’t you also become an actor?)

While it is fun, has lots of perks, and sharing the attention isn’t so bad. There are people who are just giddy about this fact and I dont’t want to take this away from them but at the same time, some can’t hold their excitement that my personal space has been invaded time and again.

If your brainwave is short, reading this might get you thinking I have low self-esteem or bitterness or just plain ranting. Please. I’ve gone through a lot to still experience that. For the life of me, I really do not like explaining it and neither do I want to discuss it for a million reasons but let me explain some…

1. It is an awkward disposition. If I did say I wanted to and didn’t get to become one, does it make me less or more of a person? Believe me, I’ve tried. If you’ve known me since college, you’d know how much I’ve tried. Also, admitting that I’d like to be in showbiz may make me seem like I am worthy of it. Some don’t think so…If I did deserve to be in showbiz, I probably would’ve been in it with the opportunities that I had. Which brings me to my next point…

2. I’ve been through different channels and I’ve had no support. Maybe because of some reasons I gave in #1. And again, believe me, I am not looking down on myself or have low confidence and shit. If things aren’t for you, it just isnt. I’ve been on radio, TV commercials, even on TV shows, but none of it was enough to get noticed. You need the right connections and exposure to get there. Apparently, I don’t.

3. The camera adds 10lbs. You know that sounds cliché and overused? No it’s not. When you see these actors on TV, you’d think their body is just the right proportion. They are actually smaller, or fitter or slimmer in person. Same effect to the fat ones, they are probably exactly or more than how they appear. In print, you can be photoshopped. Unless your makeup artist is also a sorcerer, that’s not gonna help you in front of the camera. Point is, I was chubby back then (probably even now) and my chemistry with the camera never took off.

4. It just doesnt work that way. You may have seen dynasties of showbiz family and how big actors can easily bring in their siblings or children into the glam world of showbiz. Not unless a prominent public figure completely surrender themselves and their privacy to the public, it is unlikely to happen. Not because your brother is an actor, you can have the same opportunity.

5. We (reader and I) might just not be that close for me to explain all this, and that is self-explanatory. You may settle for the reasons stated above. Should I have shared more, then it means I trust you with the details of my life and you are a good friend.

Do not get me wrong. I normally laugh about this and this “Million-Dollar Question” is something I get asked 2-3x average in a week and have been used to this. I’m not someone special to get this type of attention. I just feel like I have to make people understand that it’s not such a big deal compared to how they percieve the situation. Again, I don’t want to take it away from them but some just cross the line.

the reality of my everyday life: I commute on a daily basis, meaning I dont own a car. I rarely get to buy my own clothes. I get a P40 haircut and apply my own hair treatment. I don’t have the capacity to buy luxury items. I don’t get facials and neither do I have credits for an expensive fitness center. I have a good-paying job that pays the bills but is barely relevant to get noticed anywhere. I work on credits to feed my family and children. I am thankful for hand-me-down clothes and shoes from my brother. Other stuff I get to enjoy are sponsored or won sonewhere. I don’t dine out in fancy restaurants unless I get invited to it nor do I spend to get drunk in expensive bars. My latest iPhone was bought by my mom as a birthday gift but paid for half of it in installments. I am a normal guy trying to get by every day just like the rest of us as opposed to contrary belief, associated to a family name. Regardless of how much anyone earns, they are not obligated to provide luxury to anyone else. It is up to their generosity and good heart that they even share what they have, and care enough to make the ones they care for comfortable and help them live in comfort.

May I add how totally rude I find this (again) usual dialogue:

Person: where’s your car?

Me: I dont own one

Person: Really? Isn’t your brother an actor? Why doesnt he buy you one?

Me: (at this point, I normally just shrug or try to walk out of the conversation or answer in all honesty) why should be obligated to buy me one?

Person: because you’re his older brother

Me: all the more he should get me one. I could and should afford my own.

Person: (still doesnt get it up to this point)

I can’t understand why this is hard to understand? Anyway, bottomline is the Million-Dollar questions has a simple answer, things are just meant to be. Any more or any less is what God has for you and either you be contented with it or you go get yours.

For those who have celebrity friends or friends to celebrity siblings or affiliation, you get this. For those who don’t have any, please understand the person at the other end of your questions.

Whew…that quickly turned into a rant blog but I guess it’s best to educate.

Let’s slightly divert to other aspects of my profession.

Now technically, clients are my bosses. Their wish is my command-type of thing but the diversity of the new generation taught us that customers aren’t always right, and so are bosses.

When is a boss a terrible boss?

Allow me to share these insight and try to take logical points from the article to maybe understand where each is coming from and where you stand.

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Tough Boss or Bad Boss?
February 3, 2015
By Jack and Suzy Welch

Do tough bosses really get more out of their people? Of course they get short-term results, but do they really help a company win in the long run?

We’d say yes and yes! But how tough a boss seems may well depend on your own performance. There can be little debate about the fact that top performers with great results tend to worry and complain a lot less about tough bosses than those struggling to meet expectations. That may sound tough itself, but it’s reality.

Now, let’s talk about the meaning of tough. Without doubt, there are tough bosses who are nothing more than bullying, power-drunk jerks, and they’re brutal to work for. They callously push their people, take credit when things go right, point fingers when they don’t, and generally are very stingy with praise and rewards. They can also be moody, political, manipulative, secretive, outright mean, or all of the above. Of course, sometimes these tough bosses get good results. But it’s rarely for long. At any decent company, they are removed or they self-destruct, whichever comes first.

At the other of the spectrum, and equally as damaging to the business, are the “Is everybody happy?” bosses. Yes, they may be enjoyable to work for — getting paid was never so easy! — but their spinelessness typically translates into mediocre results. Why? At least three basic sins are at work:

· These “nice” bosses treat everyone with the same wimpiness
· They explain away misses without meting out consequences
· They change direction according to the needs and wishes of the last person in their office. In a word, they have no edge.

Somewhere between the two extremes, and probably closer to the hard end than the soft, are bosses who define the notion of tough the right way, and because of that manage to get strong, long-term performance from their people. It is not going too far to say that such bosses are actually the heroes of business, not the villains. They might not make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but their good results create a healthy, fair work environment where people and the company prosper, where there is job security for employees who perform well, and value for shareholders. What more could you want?

To these types of bosses, tough means tough-minded. They set clear, challenging goals. They connect those goals with specific expectations. They conduct frequent, rigorous performance reviews. They reward results accordingly, with the most praise and the highest bonuses going to the most effective contributors and commensurate compensation levels distributed down the line, ending with nothing for nonstarters. They are relentlessly candid, letting everyone know where they stand and how the business is doing. Every single day, good tough bosses stretch people. They ask for a lot, and they expect to get it.

Does that make them hard to work for? Of course. But here’s where individual performance comes into play. If you’re up to the challenge, working for a tough boss can be incredibly energizing because you achieve in ways you never thought you could. However, if a tough boss raises the bar to a point where you are out of your league, then you’re likely to hate the experience. And if human nature is any guide, chances are you won’t blame yourself. You’ll blame the “tough” boss.

The point is: There are good tough bosses and bad ones, and which is which is often in the eye of the beholder. Again, we’re not talking about the egregious cases of jerk bosses who berate and belittle their people. Everyone hates them, and they deserve universal loathing.

We’re talking about bosses who operate in the middle ground — bosses who are tough but fair, push hard but reward in equal measure, and who give it to you straight.

Weak performers usually wish these bosses would go away. People who want to win seek them out.

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Lately I’ve been walking into some places, mostly bars and it got me thinking…where the hell am I? Just a few years back whenever I go out, actually everytime I go out, I would meet people I know. This is because I had a good network of friends, or so I thought. Now, I feel like Captain America, man out of time. It’s now full of younger people and I mean young. Also before when I used to go out, the people I see throwing up were older guys, now it’s kids almost half my age but that’s beside my whole point.

Now that I got into hosting, I never thought that I could be timeless. I never thought I could cater to different ages and type of crowd. I was actually hesitant at first, hosting weddings and debuts terrified me. Before I get booked with other types of events, I immediately have to find out who I’m dealing with to set my own expectations and strategy of approach. In weddings though, you get a good range of all ages and it would really move out of your comfort zone. Speaking in front of old, middle age, teens and children is a complicated feeling. You have to keep in control of your actions and words for different age groups.

My story here was that just recently, I handled my second debut celebration since 6years ago. I just thought I’d wing it since I shouldnt care too much if these young men and women will understand what Im saying, or at least laught at my joke because we are from different generations. The most surprising thing happend and the experience blew me away. I would always perform at 100%, nothing less but I wasnt prepared for the reaction I got from the audience. I dont know if it was the alcohol or they’re just really friendly but by the end of the program, people were giving me compliments and fist-bumps. These coming from different age groups. What was more amazing is that most of the kind words came from men. Bragging aside, I have tremendous appeal usually to the old to senior women. The next few days shocked me even more. The debutant sent me a text message thanking me for hosting and told me she enjoyed it so much. Her exact words were “you totally killed it”. I’m twice her age but I do get what that meant (hah!). I was totally taken aback and had to register that for a moment. I thought I was old school, too old for the younger crowd. I realize now that old school with the right approach is really cool.

What I like most about my job as an emcee is that I learn a lot about myself everytime and this helps me to grow better. The amount of effort I put in always pay me back three-fold in experience.

So my conclusion is, we all know that age is only in the mind, sometimes in the body if you let it slip but you can be eternally young as long AS YOU WANT. You are the master of your ship so you steer wherever you wish to head onto.

For those who have experienced public speaking, have you ever shared the floor with a guest or a partner? This is nothing new to our world and you will always be asked to work with other people.

How do you know good or bad chemistry between co-hosts?

In my 4years as a professional host/emcee, I’ve had my share of the best, the worst, then there’ just the untrained. What I’ve realized is that not all people who can speak well are qualified to be a public speaker, moreover, they are not the best to co-host with.

Let me take you back a bit 4 years ago when I started on radio where I was trained by DJ Chloe (of Mellow 94.7) who I got to first partner with on hosting. Chloe was also the one who got me into radio and started me up with hosting and I cannot say it enough that I owe this career to her. Being a seasoned announcer, Dj Chloe is very well rounded. She is quick, witty, articulate and knows how to pace a sequence. She can balance her co-hosts energy with hers if her partner is low (which was usually my case when I open a program), she knows how to keep the energy up when it’s dragging, funny when it calls for and never leaves her partner hanging. I say this because I’ve experienced other co-hosts who can’t keep it tight and does their own thing.

A good partner always lets a co-host and audience in on what he/she’s onto. A good co-host is also conscious enough not to be dragged into anything and neutralizes any excessive emotional behavior on stage. To have good chemistry, one has to feel out the situation whether to lead or downplay. Some hosts that I’ve seen (not partnered with) sky rockets the energy up and if the partner can’t keep up, they’ll just keep going without any regard. What’s even worst is, when your co-host would disagree (indirectly) with you especially during an adlib, or bashes / insults the partner live. These should be managed tastefully and discussed offline. To make it work, partners should talk about what and what not to say. Ride with each other’s flow when you go off-script.

I have also been on stage with someone less experienced than me. My take is when I tend to overpower my co-host, I throw comments or open questions that will give him/her an opening to get him/her back on track. If your partner is keen, they’ll pick up from that and get with the flow.

Not looking like a team on stage is something you dont want people to see. Since all eyes and ears are on you, people will immediately notice that something is up. And for someone like me who is observant (so I can learn), I’ll sniff that one out in an instant.

My last partner on radio DJ Jaybee was a fun part of my life. We’d always laugh and have fun on air. What I say, she agrees to and vice versa, whatever we didn’t agree on, we took it tastefully and transform it in a smart banter. We give each other room to speak our mind and if one needs to stall (especially when we need to load a song on deck) we knew how to catch each other and pickup where we left off. It takes time to get to know your partner and maximize your similarities or work around the differences.

Chemistry sometimes come naturally, some take time, and some never happen. It is not something you can force. You may learn or develop the chemistry and it’s always a give and take situation.

So what are your other hosting issues? Let’s talk about it.

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From an audience perspective, one can speculate and answer this immediately. The fine qualities of a host or an emcee and how the audience perceive us is just the tip of the iceberg.

Have you ever seen what goes on behind the stage or runway of a fashion show? Chaos! This applies to even the most organized events. For smaller events, there are very few talents to coordinate, props to handle, stage coordination and direction but still a lot of things may be unexpected during a live event or show. All this is basically what hosts have to deal with sometimes.

Directors or organizers request that all talents be present during orientation so everyone’s aligned and aware of movements, queues, changes and everything else that will go on. As THE HOST, our role is to be on top of everything so the audience can be walked through the program audibly, visually with the whole experience. We’re expected to bring energy since we have initial contact with the audience. We have the responsibility to get their attention and maintain it the entire time. Entertainment is a bonus, and definitley stretching adlibs are the clincher.

Moxx the HostA great host is very fluid with sequences, mixing script and adlib with a dash of entertainment and A LOT of focus. Not everyone can wing it. It needs total awareness of the program, the premises, the pace and energy. You don’t just read off a script, you don’t just blabber what comes to mind. You also have to be tasteful and classy enough to throw a line that audience of different ages, race, nationality, religion and sex would be able to accept. Some events may have a specific target group which is easier but there are still some differences you have to consider. A great host also has to have that commanding presence, a confidence that will set him/her apart. A smile that is contageous and sincere goes a long way but you also have to have something more to give like smart or witty lines.

Movement is also a factor. Standing stiff and knowing where to put your hands also determine a confident host. If you’re the animated type of host, big movements are fine but this sometimes signify panic and tension. When your hands start expressing more than your words, it is distracting to an audience. Gliding comfortably around the stage when needed makes the audience’s visual dynamic. If you have a big stage, a great host might use it depending on the type of event he/she is doing. Managing a co-host on stage is a different story and will tackle this on my next blog.

A crowd as big as 1000 eyes are watching and a great host would be able to make the illusion that he/she is looking into each and every one of them. Connecting to everyone (verbally and emotionally) is a big responsibility but THAT is the main goal. In experience, a smaller crowd to address is more difficult because you have to manage your energy. The connection you make to a crowd of 20 needs a more powerful approach and you know within yourself that your main goal is to make a difference with everyone, and you would think it’s easy to attain?

Put yourself in our shoes for a moment…

A great host is confident but not arrogant. He/she should be comfortable and enjoys this job, otherwise you come off rather incencere.

After all this, a great host needs to conserve his energy still and manage not to lose his priced possesion for the job, the voice. After a good 3 hours (average), a host has spent their voice and energy. I have learned different remedies to make recovery faster and just like athletes, its science.

The Host or Emcee may not matter as much as their main acts of a show or event but you will notice the difference between the good, the great and the bad ones.

I wake up for this, looking forward to my next gig. Eagerly waiting to meet strangers that won’t remember me. Smiles that fade an hour after. I wear my best clothing that should’t outshine the celebrants or the main attraction. We are the first and last person you normally see see in these events.

What makes a great host? The one with heart.

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