Get it off the page! How a celebrant can engage their audience
At Celebrant Training UK, we teach the importance of getting the script ‘off the page’. It doesn’t matter how brilliant a writer you are, or how warm your personality is, if you leave the words on the page your audience won’t be captivated. What do I mean? How do you do this?
Broadly speaking, there are four primary ways that can help a celebrant do this.
The first and most fundamental way of transporting your script and therefore your audience is through the emotional intelligence or emotional frequency you bring to your ceremonies. This isn’t to be confused with being ‘bright and bubbly’ or an extrovert or overly sensitive, but to do with reading your client, your audience and having an innate emotional fluency which has you understanding the human story. A dry delivery is as off putting as an over-the-top jazz-hands performance. If you come from a place of authenticity this will shine through not only the words you speak but the manner in which you deliver them.
Well-crafted words which are based on imagery
Although it is possible to take a dry and boring script (hopefully this refers to filling in at little notice for another person rather than your own writing!) and bring it to life because of your own skills and qualities, a well-crafted script will be based on the various nuances of human emotion as told through your storytelling. Creating imagery rather than regurgitating facts makes all the difference to the quality of a script.
If I go to a ceremony as a guest, I do NOT want to see the top of the celebrant’s head or rim of their glasses (ditto a vicar or other officiant). I want, first and foremost, to see their face. I want to read their expressions. What’s going on in their eyes? Are they feeling this love story or eulogy?
Anyone can stand up and read a script (even if they’re riddled with nerves). As celebrants, we are not there to read. Our job is to officiate. This means we are there to make ongoing eye contact and to glance down at our script and not the other way around. There are various techniques which can be learned to help improve this ability.
The script might be beautifully written and crafted with excellence but if I don’t see the person’s face because they’re reading it rather than engaging with the audience, then so very much has been lost.
Pace, pitch, pause
Pace, pitch and pause is a combination of the above. The judicious use of punctuation, sentence structure, word choices, as well as emotional fluency and eye contact all come together beautifully here.
At Celebrant Training UK, our focus is on one-to-one private celebrant training so that we can work with each student and fully develop their skills and amplify their qualities. Our certified celebrants can get their words off the page.
Veronika Robinson has had the immense privilege of being a celebrant, internationally, since 1995, and has officiated across all rites of passage. Her passion for ceremony, ritual and excellence in the craft and practice of celebrancy extends to her role as co-founder and co-tutor at Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training and as editor of The Celebrant magazine. She is also an author, novelist and workshop facilitator. Veronika has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing which she uses to benefit her students and their script writing.
Paul Robinson is the vocal and presentation coach for Celebrant Training UK, and teaches our Heart-led Celebrants proven and valuable techniques for their celebrant role. His expertise as a vocal and presentation coach is unparalleled.