Here’s an article I did on emceeing. . .again, not totally humor writing, but if you ever find yourself in the emcee position, well, . . YOU’RE WELCOME.
So you’ve hired a professional emcee to add some zing to your event! Great idea. But just remember that you now have a quasi-partner, if you will, in running the event, so you need to work with them. Here’s a few things that they probably won’t tell you, but are vital for you to know:
They prepare. . . a lot. The easier it looks, the more they’ve prepared. That includes practicing names, researching the group, and joining up with the meeting planner ahead of time. Much of their banter might look off the cuff, but be assured that’s only because they are professionals who have done their homework. As such, make sure you assist them with that preparation and give them what they need. Don’t leave it to the night of the event and hope for them to whip up some witty material on the spot.
They want the meeting planner to give them some control. If you tell your professional emcee to thank the band, then please know that they will thank the band. You don’t need to stand in the back and signal them by pointing to the band. As a professional emcee, they’ll also understand your need to keep the show moving, get the introductions right, and keep the audience engaged. Feel confident that if you’ve met with the emcee in advance and given him or her your objectives, timeline and script, then they will be able to take it from there without a minute-by-minute consultation from you. So relax and let them run the show so you don’t have to.
They’re thrilled if they can have a little input into the script. As a professional emcee, they’ve done this a lot. They’ve seen well and, more importantly, badly run meetings and they just might be able to make some valuable suggestions. If you’ve been running the same meeting for a number of years, it’s harder to see things differently. So solicit the emcee’s input. You don’t need to take all (or any) of their suggestions, but they just might have a more creative way of keeping the crowd quiet or moving the program along.
They don’t want the audience to drink too much. Period. As such, they probably don’t see an open bar the way you see it. You want to thank your attendees by giving them free booze, but more intoxicated means more unfocused, and that makes it challenging for the emcee to keep things moving. Limit the open bar to just an hour or so in the beginning , and you can satisfy the audience and the emcee.
They don’t want the audience to interact much. You may think it’s fun to see them banter with the crowd, but the professional emcee really wants to keep things moving. A really great one makes the crowd feel a part of the show, without them actually being a part of the show. Don’t encourage the crowd to shout things out or “play” with the emcee. They would rather use their own talents to assure a successful event. Getting inside the professional emcee’s head before the event will help insure you get lots of kudos after it’s over. Get on the same wavelength now to make your event memorable.