A Konnect Africa Interview with Joyce Daniels the Talklogenic and Master of Ceremonies par Excellence!

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Joyce Daniels, Joyce Daniels, Joyce Daniels. Greetings rain in from every angle as the lady who is synonymous with the fine art of Public Speaking and ‘Compeering’ in the South-South and South-East regions of Nigeria, West Africa strides through the hallways of the Hotel Presidential, Port-Harcourt en-route yet another speaking engagement. She will be compeering events where Governors, captains of industry and the crème de la crème of the book industry in Nigeria have gathered at the Port Harcourt Book Festival, Rivers, Nigeria; one out of many others.

The charming, vivacious lady with the eponymous Speaking enterprise shares her tale of discovery and of finding her niche in a saturated industry.

Enjoy!

 Joyce Daniels

KA: Your tag phrase used to be the ‘Lady MC’, now it’s ‘Talklogenic?’

Joyce: The Lady MC was too limiting…I do much more than host events. Back then when I started, it was apt, but not any longer.

KA: The woman behind the brand…

Joyce: I was born on the 31st of January into the Oamen family.  Growing up was major fun; I am the fifth of seven children and so it was a full house with loads of friends at home; I wouldn’t trade my memories and my family for anything.  I am from Edo State in Nigeria. My husband hails from Kogi State though, so you tell me, where am I really from?

I grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; my parents actually met in Port Harcourt- and I stayed there till I was old enough to leave.

KA: Education…

Joyce: My primary education was at the Staff Nursery and Primary School Federal Government College Port Harcourt; I started off my Secondary education at the University Demonstration Secondary School University of Port Harcourt and completed it at Federal Government Girls College Abuloma, Rivers State. My University education was at the University of Port Harcourt where I studied Human Anatomy-I put in for Medicine but my score wasn’t high enough-. In retrospect, I may have done things differently but I have no regrets whatsoever. However, I have never gained employment as a result of my course of study. Human anatomists usually work in a morgue or as support for Paramedics, and of course you could choose to remain in the academic environment.

KA: Those Service Years…

Joyce: I completed my National Youth Service Corps [NYSC] deployment at the Department of Human Anatomy in the University of Maiduguri, Borno State in 2005 and I totally enjoyed it. It was fantastic except for a crisis-the first in 25 years- which occurred February 2006; it shook me up, and I thank God I survived unscathed. Borno has always been known as the ‘Home of Peace’ and I personally felt that the perpetrators should be ashamed of themselves.

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KA: How do you deal with trauma…?

Joyce: I think trauma makes me take a few steps back and think; I don’t break down and disintegrate, I start thinking of the next step, thinking through ideas to salvage what is left of the situation. I am just wired that way, and I make a conscious effort to stay that way. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger and even if it breaks you, you can choose to put yourself together again.

KA: The Genesis of Joyce Daniels the MC…

Joyce: I have always been a talking person. The first event I compeered was the first lady’s children’s concert in 1991 organised by Miriam Babangida. I came with a group from Lagos to dance, and when we got there, the organisers decided they wanted children to compere the event. Our dance director subsequently chose me to compere the event with three other children; we were so excited at the chance to speak in public before our peers.

In Secondary school, I was President of the Debate Club and Vice President of the Press Club, so talking has always been there. I have served as the Master of Ceremony [MC] informally for friends and family severally. In 2005, a friend of mine picked me to compere her wedding and I almost went out of my mind! I was so scared, but they insisted and I had to get my wits together. The wedding was to take place in Abia State-a predominantly Igbo-speaking community- and I decided to learn a few words of Igbo language to fit in. After that, I started to consider it as an option but I didn’t really think it would work.

I got a job immediately after Youth Service as a Business Manager and worked for a few months. I got restless though and left Port Harcourt for Lagos, believing that whatever I would do would come from my inherent skills-my mouth, hands or feet- I suffered a little in Lagos as there were days when I had to go on a compulsory fast and trek long distances to be at an event- and I didn’t think I should remain dependent on my parents. I hit my first job in 2007 by chance at a friend’s house. The MC scheduled for an event failed to show and the organisers needed a replacement. The event was the launch of Sleek hair and make-up in Nigeria, and it worked out well! I wasn’t paid in cash because I was quite unknown but I got awesome benefits- I became a Sleek Rep which paid off financially; I got all the make-up I needed for years. It was a terribly good deal for me.

I got my next job that day for the next weekend and I was paid N50, 000 [about $300] to speak for two hours, and it was unbelievable! After I was paid, I kept peeking into my bag to remind myself that this had actually happened. After that, I knew I would stick with it. I got one job, then the next, and the rest is history.

I get jobs through referrals and I advertise on Facebook. I would charge about N200, 000 [$1,250] for a regular wedding; corporate events would be a tad more expensive.

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KA: Training…

Joyce: I never had any professional training on compeering, but I have learnt on the job. I have been blessed to work with professionals in the business and I also read a lot. I use humour, but I am not in the comedy industry, so I don’t get carried away.

KA: Big jobs…

Joyce: Well, the Port Harcourt Book Festival, the Rivers State Investors Forum, and I compeered for the Abia State Governor when he was honoured by Champion Newspaper.

KA: More than an MC…

Joyce: Much more; I train corporates in High Impact Presentations. I am a Dale Carnegie Trainer-we resolve business problems related to public speaking which includes sale success training, employee engagement training and much more. There are five facilitators in Nigeria and I am one of them.

KA: If you weren’t talking…

Joyce: I will be acting, and I do makeovers, strictly on referrals, and I love to sing and dance.

KA: If I want to be an MC…

Joyce: I do have a number of, -permit me to use the word- ‘protégés’ and they go with me to as many events as possible to watch and understudy which is a very good way to learn. The saying goes ‘Copy, but copy right,’ so you can copy the good sides of an MC and add to your own flavour. You would also need to read up as much as you can find, practise and get feedback.

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KA: On stage fright…

Joyce: Stage fright is part of the business, but you have to get past that. Yes, I have been tongue-tied a few times but I think my audience thought it was part of the script. People expect the best from you so they interpret even those tongue-tied moments as a well-timed pause. To prevent future occurrences though I give myself pep-talks and try to get feedback from people who saw my last performance. It is good to thrive on good comments, it helps everybody. A wise man said that ‘one of the deepest needs of mankind is the craving for appreciation.’ When someone says I am good, I take it at face value.

KA: On choosing a path…

Joyce: Be true to who you are. When you are true to yourself and when you are professional at that truth, I think you will do well, and finances will be taken care of eventually. I still do free jobs for people now, usually on a trade by barter basis or as a way of saying thank you and other reasons.

KA: Best thing in your wardrobe?

Joyce: Nothing in particular; I try not to be too attached to anything.

KA: On going au naturel…

Joyce: It was part of a total lifestyle change; The Joyce healthy lifestyle regime. I stopped eating late, cut off soda drinks and started using natural Shea butter and coconut oil, and I went off relaxers too. This is a permanent change for life.

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KA: Joyce Daniels in 5 years…

Joyce: Joyce Daniels should have successfully launched and run the Joyce Daniels ‘Talkademy’ which would churn out-in particular- professional MC’s and then maybe, public speakers. By God’s grace it should kick off in April 2014 in Port Harcourt. There are other things, but I don’t want to talk about them yet.

KA: What’s your take on life?

Joyce: Life is whatever you make of it. Do what you can, where you are with what you have and stop complaining about what you don’t have; what are you doing with what’s in your hand? I live by these principles.

KA: Inspire a young African in one sentence…

Joyce: if you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving!!!

What do you think of Joyce’s story? Do drop a comment below and let us know!

Jennifer and Joyce
Jennifer and Joyce

© 2013 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.

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