You might think that a professional emcee only does public events. Like the kinds with a raffle or a ferris wheel if you want to get really fancy.
But emcee work can range across disciplines. Including corporate events and business meetings.
So what kind of responsibility gets added on when emceeing a meeting? And how can you be an effective emcee in the boardroom? Keep reading to find out.
See Related: What Is An Emcee?
#1. Do research on any background information
How many emcees have made the mistake of not doing their research beforehand? Too many.
Out of all the emcee tips I have to offer, it’s doing your research that always remains in the number 1 position. Because you don’t want to walk into a room and have no clue of what you’re talking about.
You’ve got a central role in the meeting. So find out what you can in advance and make sure that you prepare accordingly. And if you feel like you want to rely on a seasoned professional, consider hiring an emcee instead.
Meet with key people before the meeting if possible
If you don’t know where to start your research, start with the people who contacted you. Sitting down with event organizers before the event starts can teach you about the kind of audience you’ll be speaking to.
And besides, you want to make a good first impression, right? So grab any great tips you can from the event organizers and be as prepared as possible before entering the meeting.
#2. Know your audience members
Stepping into the event, you’ll want to know exactly who you’re talking to. Is this audience full of potential clients that the organization wants to secure?
Or are they a group of working professionals looking to network at this meeting? Understanding what your audience is after is the most important thing when it comes to emceeing.
So it’s not just about knowing the speakers and the host. It’s about knowing who’s in the room listening.
Have an idea of the audience’s understanding of the material
Furthermore, this is a perfect example of what you can ask event organizers. Ask them what they want the audience to walk away with after the meeting.
Or what sense they want the meeting to have overall. This will help you in the moment on stage and inform how you prepare before the meeting itself.
#3. Collaborate with organizers to create a full agenda
An upcoming event means keeping track of a lot of different moving parts. And that’s why it’s important to know what’s supposed to happen and when it’s supposed to happen.
Probably one of the most wonderful tips I can offer you is making an agenda for the event. This way, you know the beginning, middle, and end of the meeting.
And it won’t feel like your first time running through the event’s proceedings. Besides, the whole point of an MC is to guide an audience through the event, so it only makes sense that you know the event like the back of your hand.
Reserve the first few minutes for introductions on stage
Of course, this isn’t to say that a meeting should be run like a rigid presentation. There will certainly be time for banter.
And when introducing the host, speaker, or other guest, you’ll want to infuse a bit of life into their introductions. Just make sure that you find that perfect balance between making the meeting a magical experience and keeping everyone on track and on time.
#4. Create your own comprehensive guide to special guests and speakers
Let’s say you’ve got a lot of different speakers to introduce and you’re having trouble keeping track. Then make yourself a guide.
It’s a simple thing that you can have in your back pocket (literally) and carry with you throughout the meeting. This way, you can look at your notes in between speakers.
And make sure that each speaker or host is presented with all pertinent information. As much as first impressions are important, you’ll want to look capable throughout the entire meeting.
Ask if they want you to introduce their presentation as well
Additionally, some speakers may ask you to introduce a portion of their presentation. For example, they may want you to include certain bits of information in their presentation that they can draw from later on.
So if you’re able to, consult each person before the event. And hear them out on how they would like to be presented.
Bonus: How To Host An Event
#5. Do your best to stick to your emcee script
Sometimes when an emcee is a bit nervous, they tend to go off script. If this was any other type of event, that kind of banter might be appropriate.
But when it comes to being the emcee of a meeting, it’s best to stick with what’s professional. Of course there’s room to have more fun than any old boring board meeting.
But there’s also a limit as to how far you can and should go with your entertainment. Again, a good MC will know how to balance this perfectly.
Be prepared for interruptions though
That being said, disruptions will most likely occur. After all, have you ever attended an event where no mistakes occurred? Probably not.
But as a corporate emcee, you’ll need to be able to smile and guide everyone through the disruption with grace. Remember, it’s all about keeping everyone on track.
#6. Share key event information with the entire audience
This might seem like an obvious point. But especially for a meeting, you’ll want to make sure that the audience knows the rules and expectations going in.
It might be something as small as asking the audience to hold off on questions until after the speaker is done presenting. Or maybe it’s some other pertinent information that the host wants every person in the room to know before starting the meeting.
Either way, this is a great way to start the meeting off. So that everyone is on the same page and the event can go smoothly.
State this at the beginning to lay the groundwork for the meeting
Besides, laying down the groundwork at the beginning helps the audience feel secure. Just think about how uncomfortable it is to show up to an event and not know what to expect.
By simply stating how the events will go and in what order, you’re able to alleviate those concerns. And each person in the audience will be more engaged without that confusion in the back of their minds.
#7. Transition smoothly from one segment to the next segment
Transitions can sometimes be a little awkward. But that’s why a Master of Ceremonies is there.
So when a speaker is transitioning from their presentation to another’s, take the time to talk to the audience. Check in with how they’re doing.
And make sure the stage isn’t filled with so much dead air it feels like an empty room. And another piece of advice? Maintain eye contact to keep them engaged.
This is the time to make it fun and light
This isn’t to say that you need to fill transitions up with passionate speeches or the like. In fact, don’t do that.
Instead, engage in some emcee-audience banter. Make it light and fun so that you give the host a chance to catch their breath in between presentations and you also give the audience a chance to laugh.
You may find that they’re more engaged after having a moment of levity. Just something I’ve learned over the many years I’ve played host.
#8. Don’t forget to introduce yourself
Sometimes when an emcee gets on stage, they only speak about the host or other guests scheduled to present. And they forget to introduce who they are.
You might not think a Master of Ceremonies needs to introduce themselves. But that’s where you’re wrong.
Introducing yourself as emcee gives the audience a sense of understanding. Otherwise, they’re just listening to some random emcee on stage while trying to quiet that nagging hole in the back of their mind that’s asking, “Who is this?”
So one of my best tips? Introduce yourself. The event will feel so much better once you do.
Introducing speakers is important but give yourself a nice introduction as well
When I say that an emcee should introduce themself, I don’t mean that they should make themselves the star of the event. Just a short and sweet introduction is fine.
Besides, you don’t want to detract from the host or other speakers. Just give the audience enough information about yourself so they know you’re not a stranger.
#9. Lead the conversation to get the audience engaged
Sometimes at these types of events, the host will want audience engagement. But they’re not quite sure how to stir it up.
They may look to you as an emcee to help them out. And this is where you can jump right in and get folks talking.
Don’t be afraid to use your own voice and make conversation. Even if it’s just to get other people up and talking.
As emcee, you’re there to invigorate the audience. So help out the host and get the audience motivated to engage in the conversation at hand.
A good emcee will know how to get the audience to talk
A big part of being an emcee is developing rapport with the audience. Especially if you’re wanting the audience to engage later on during the event.
So starting from the very beginning, you’ll need to let them know that they can talk. Sometimes, the crowd is happy to just sit silently, especially if it’s a meeting.
But set the tone from the very top and let them know that their engagement is key to the success of the event. Sometimes, guests just need to know that they have the permission to speak up and engage.
#10. Don’t be afraid of some audience interaction
You might think that a meeting isn’t the right place for an emcee to engage in banter with members of the crowd. But that’s not always the case.
Of course, you’ll want to double check with the event organizers beforehand to get an idea of how they want the meeting to go. But if they are set on audience engagement, then you’ve got to help them achieve that success.
In fact, you have a distinct advantage as an emcee. Sometimes at these events, the host feels like the parent and the MC feels like the cool uncle or aunt.
Guests can get away with a little bit more with the emcee. Because you’re the one bringing in the positive vibes.
So lean into that role if you find it helps the event overall. And make sure you steer the audience in the direction that the event organizers want in the first place.
But always let the speaker or host guide the ship
As you’re probably finding, being a good emcee means finding the right balance in everything. So while you may be having fun with guests, remember that you’re here with one goal in mind.
To serve the ideals of the event organizers. It can feel like a tricky balance to obtain.
But the more you do it and the more experience you gain, the easier it will feel. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of tips to help you emcee a meeting.
But hopefully, these have helped you get an idea of what kind of a balance you need to strike. So get out there and turn that meeting into a party.
Keep Reading: How To Be An MC For An Event
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.