Someone asked me recently “What is a master of ceremonies?” (AKA “emcee” or “MC”). I can sum it up in 4 words – Keeps The Event Flowing.
Okay, there’s a LOT more to it than that BUT if you haven’t explored using a Master of Ceremonies for your conference or event then you may be missing out on a GREAT resource. And, while this is a comedy writing blog, you MAY be asked to host an event because you’ve gotten so funny . . . so here’s 5 things that you need to do as the Master of Ceremonies.
Sure good food and drink, excellent content, and fun decor are important for an event or conference, but if attendees don’t feel included or have to watch someone who doesn’t want to be on stage – such as a volunteer or staff person – then the event can lose its pizazz.
Here are 6 Things a GREAT Master of Ceremonies will do for your event
1. Make the attendees FEEL welcome – The Emcee kicks off the event by letting everyone know what a GREAT time they’re in for – NOT listing out where the bathrooms are located. As a comedian emcee, I always do some appropriate humor based on my research of the group and the event. It you’re not using a comedian, the emcee will still create some hype so the audience members’ eyes are on the stage, not their cell phones.
2. Provide professional introductions. We emcees practice the names and know when to joke and when not to. People are proud of their accomplishments, so their moment on stage should be a nod to that with their name pronounced right and their successes highlighted appropriately.
3. Keep everyone engaged the entire time . . . even the people not being recognized. I always make sure to include some humor and comments for the people who aren’t in the spotlight. After reading off a long list of project titles for a technical conference, I recently joked to the spouses that, “this is the reason you DON’T ask how their day went!”
4. Handle the unknown. Stuff happens. The award winner steps out to the restroom or the electricity cuts out, but the Master of Ceremonies handles the stuff on stage, allowing the meeting professional to handle things off stage. You can’t do both (or at least you shouldn’t have to!)!
5. Shine some light on your sponsors. Sponsors should get more than a quick PowerPoint slide and a mumbled thank you; the emcee knows this and will highlight sponsors accordingly, so the sponsor wants to sponsor again and again.
6. Keep things rolling and on time. Speakers speak too long. Speakers speak too short. But your banquet food is coming out at a scheduled time. Professional MC’s know this and can edit or expand their remarks on the fly to fit the time.
Oh and P.S., most of us professional Emcees can also add some extras to your event such as a keynote!
If you want my article on tips on HOW to emcee your own event, send me a note.
But whatever you do – emcee it yourself or use a professional – Make it fun. Make it memorable. Make people want to come back.
Here’s my ComedyEmcee website