If you have a corporate function coming up, you’ve probably wondered why the words emcee and MC both appear throughout your planning process. So which one is the correct spelling and why are there two versions of the same word?
At A Glance
- The word MC is the abbreviation of the phrase “Master of Ceremonies“
- Emcee is the phonetic version of MC
- These words can be used relatively interchangeably as they mean the same thing
- There’s no definitive way to use the terms, so use them how you see fit!
Here’s everything you need to know about the terms MC and emcee!
See Related: 4 Body Language Techniques That Will Improve Your Public Speaking
#1. Should I Spell It As Emcee Or MC?
Spelling is one of those things that can be tricky at times. Especially when it comes to abbreviations or phonetic spellings, it can get even more complex.
That’s why so many people wonder about the right way to spell the terms emcee and MC.
Here’s what you need to know.
MC is an abbreviation for the term “Master of Ceremonies.” And the word emcee is just the phonetic spelling of that abbreviation.
So, in general, these terms are interchangeable.
However, there is more to know about these terms, and there can be some exceptions to this rule.
I’ve been an experienced corporate MC for countless years. In fact, I’ve even been called the “Tom Brady of emcees” by ExxonMobil executive Mark Green. So it’s safe to say that I’ve learned plenty about the art of emceeing, and I know a thing or two about what the term itself actually means!
As a professional emcee, my goal isn’t to be the star of the show. Instead, the speakers and VIPs should get the best treatment. And I use my platform to make the festivities prioritize what really matters.
Throughout my time in the industry, I’ve also learned what makes a good emcee and what doesn’t. And I’ve definitely learned when is the best time to use the term “MC” and when you should use the word “emcee.”
But first, you need to really understand what a master of ceremonies does.
#2. What Does A Master Of Ceremony Do?
When you hear the phrase “Master of Ceremonies,” plenty of different images could pop into your head. But, when it comes down to it, an MC has some very important responsibilities that can’t be overlooked.
E – Engages The Audience
Everyone knows that a Master of Ceremonies has a great responsibility for entertainment. This person needs to be able to keep the people engaged and laughing!
A great MC knows exactly how to create a lively and interactive atmosphere by using charisma and public speaking skills.
The best keynote speakers and comedians are true professionals who know how to use the power of clean humor. This kind of entertainment can unite any audience while leaving them laughing throughout the night.
M – Makes Announcements
Being an MC isn’t all fun and games. We have to do some real work too!
Throughout any corporate function, the MC is typically responsible for making important announcements. This ensures that everything runs smoothly and streamlines any critical communications.
Anything from introducing speakers or performers to sharing info on special activities will be up to the MC.
C – Coordinates The Program
A successful evening doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes coordinated efforts from everyone involved to make it happen!
And an MC plays a major part in ensuring any event runs smoothly. From working with the program organizer to keeping track of the schedule, they know exactly how to keep everything according to a plan.
So, what happens if something goes wrong? A fantastic MC also knows how to coordinate any changes or adjustments on the fly.
E – Entertains Attendees
Most functions have some sort of schedule filled with fun activities and things to do. But ensuring people stay entertained the whole time can be a complex task.
Luckily, that’s why many people hire an MC. A great MC knows how to keep people entertained and enjoying themselves! Whether that means they utilize comedy or facilitate some fun activities, an emcee ensures guests have a fantastic time.
E – Ensures Smooth Transitions
A corporate function is full of different activities that keep it intriguing and exciting. And an important but commonly overlooked part of organizing an evening such as this has to do with managing transitions.
Transitions between different parts of a function can be tricky to manage. But MCs often ensure that everything runs seamlessly, even through transitions.
MCs help guide guests through the flow of the event while ensuring that there are no awkward pauses or delays.
Bonus: Fun And Professional Ways To Implement Humor At Work
#3. What Does It Mean To Be A Master Of Ceremonies?
There’s not just one kind of MC out there. Being a Master of Ceremonies can be complex, but it’s needed for more than just corporate events.
The term “Master of Ceremonies” even dates back to the Catholic Church in the fifth century. It was the name of the person in charge of various religious ceremonies.
To this day, the term carries a certain level of formality. That’s why wedding professionals often choose to use this term. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to depict more informal occasions too!
For example, the word “MC” is more fitting in the world of stand-up comedy. The entire phrase “Master of Ceremonies” is a little bit too formal and long for a comedy show, making the term “MC” much more appropriate.
And even now, the word “MC” has extended way beyond hosting and public speaking. It’s also a prevalent word for musical artists. Many rappers and people in the hip-hop scene use this term frequently.
This is because hip-hop artists are also entertainers and musical performers that seek to engage an audience. They take their skills as a musician and use them on stage to ignite their listeners!
Now, in regards to the term “emcee,” this word can also be used for almost any instance where “Master of Ceremonies” or “MC” is used. It’s just the phonetic spelling of MC, much like how “OK” is a phonetic version of “okay.”
Many people often use the word MC to describe what they do. Commentators, TV anchors, hosts, or spokesmen can often be called an “MC.” There’s no cut-and-dry checklist for who can and can’t be called an MC.
It comes down to this: Anyone who uses their skills on a stage to entertain and engage an audience is a Master of Ceremonies of sorts!
When it comes down to it, there’s not much difference between the terms MC and emcee. And there’s only a slight difference between these shortened versions and the full phrase, “Master of Ceremonies.”
Words develop over time, and there’s no definitive way to use the terms MC and emcee. So use them the way you feel is right!
Keep Reading: 9 Ways To Grab Your Audience’s Attention
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.