Work with a M.A.S.T.E.R. emcee for your next event. Here’s how you can identify a host who personifies the word “master” in master of ceremonies.
In this article you will discover the six key components of fantastic corporate, educational, sales, and non-profit event emcees.
MASTER of Ceremonies Secret #1: MAKE CONNECTION
Your event host acts as the face of your events. Your MC represents you.
When you hire a speaker, a masterful MC should model the heart and style of your company.
For this reason, you must understand this next point…
A good MC is not an “add on” to your program. Your master of ceremonies should feel like an extension of your organization. MCs who have mastered this role are connectors.
Here are three ways a great emcee will connect with your attendees:
- An awesome master of ceremonies will learn the language and style of your team.
Do you use certain “buzz words” or acronyms in your company? A smart Master of Ceremonies incorporates this inside language into his remarks. This way he can speak in front of your guests in a manner that feels congruent with your corporate culture.Your people will connect with a master of ceremonies who gets your group. Hire a Master of Ceremonies who is willing to do a deep dive into the jargon, lingo, and key phrases used by your attendees. Tip: provide him/her with this type of language before your gathering.
- A superb event host will involve guests.
The days of a passive audience listening to a lecture are gone. Work with an MC who is skilled at interacting with audience members like yours.
Examples of this kind of participation: facilitating Q & A times, ad-libbing with your attendees, giving out prizes, conducting a trivia game show about the history of your company, interviewing speakers and audience members, and more.
The key is involvement. A “connected” master of ceremonies will interact with your people. Avoid emcees who don’t bring this type of engagement to your gathering.
Remember, if your Master of Ceremonies is stiff, you event will feel stiff too. A great Master of Ceremonies will help your attendees feel involved and included in the program.
- An experienced MC will put the spotlight on key people in your group.
Wonderful MCs have a keen sense of “relationship radar” when it comes to knowing and highlighting the key leaders, partners, vendors, donors, VIPs, and customers in your audience.Suggestions:
• Have your master of ceremonies invite board members to stand and be recognized.
• Your Master of Ceremonies can thank your event sponsor and invite her up to the platform for a round of applause.
• If your Master of Ceremonies is entertaining, she can do a funny interactive segment on stage with your new CEO or COO. This can help your people find a more personal connection with your leadership team.
MASTER Secret #2: ADVANCE THE PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM
In my own work as a master of ceremonies, I know it’s not about me. I see myself as a “mission realization” Master of Ceremonies. What does that mean? I want to help an organization—and the events organizer!—fulfill the mission of the events.
When I host an event, I follow these 10 Steps to make the events stay on task …
A super event host will advance your agenda by:
#1: LEARNING about your company and WHY you are having the events
#2: DOING RESEARCH about your group long before the night happens
#3: Having PRE-EVENT PHONE CALLS with you to understand your program focus and goals
#4. DISCOVERING the big takeaway(s) you want your attendees to experience
#5. AVOIDING distractions, controversies, inappropriate language, and other event “downers”
#6. KEEPING the events ON TIME so guests remember your big WHY
#7. REINFORCING the THEME of your program
#8. ACCENTUATING the positives about your company
#9. LEADING the crowd toward your company’s objectives
#10. ENDING the program in a thoughtful (and thankful) manner
MASTER Secret #3: SET UP THE OTHER SPEAKERS and VIPs
This is one of the central tasks of the master of ceremonies. He/she should put your program and the other presenters in a great light.
But first, let’s talk about how first time amateur emcees often mess this up. Here are some big mistakes weak emcees often make.
Mistakes Bad MCs Make:
- Speaker introductions with too many words. Don’t confuse a bio with an intro!
- Going for laughs during as they introduce another person. A great MC makes the upcoming speaker look important—not silly—before they come up to the platform.
- Walking off the stage before the upcoming speaker comes up to shake hands. Professional emcees know that an empty stage creates a dead spot in your show.
- Forgetting to give a good “outro.” What is an “outro”? It is what the master of ceremonies says about the speaker after she shares her message. Example: “Thank you Christina Chang with our HR team…that was wonderful. Let’s all give her another round of applause.”
- Forgetting about the next speaker’s sound/staging needs. A polished MC is like a great chess player. He’s always thinking about the next key move.
Example: If the CEO is about to come up and needs a podium on the stage before he speaks, a solid Master of Ceremonies makes sure the CEO has that lectern on the platform before making the onstage introduction.
Now, let’s look at some powerful ways a fantastic master of ceremonies will help your speakers and VIPs succeed.
Your ideal MC will…
- Highlight 3 or 4 positive credibility-boosting things about the speaker being introduced:
- Who they are
- What they have accomplished
- How they are connected to the company or organization
- Why this will be wonderful and relevant for the attendees
- Recognize the contributions your leaders are making. Example: “John, that was an incredible talk. Thank you. Did you know that sales are up 45% since John became our VP of Sales & Marketing? Let’s show him our appreciation.”
- Build enthusiasm in the attendees about who is coming up to speak.
- Praise the other presenters and company leaders. This does two things: It reminds your group that they are part of a vibrant tribe. It also makes your speakers and leadership team feel more empowered—and acknowledged—on the platform.
- Look for ways to verbally “call back” and honor the presenters at the end of the staged event. Example: “It’s been a great night! Can we take a moment and thank Monique, Taylor, Brian, and Melanie for inspiring us this evening?!” (The MC then leads the attendees in applause).
MASTER Secret #4: TRANSITIONS MATTER
A magnificent master of ceremonies is a master of transitions. It’s music to an emcee’s ear, when the conference producer says, “Hey, nice job with that smooth transition.”
For an excellent Master of Ceremonies, a good segue is a thing of beauty. Transitions are the spaces-in-between. When I emcee an event, I like to speak with the program producer or event coordinator about these crucial transitions, long before the attendees arrive at the venue.
Questions a Master of Ceremonies should consider about specific transitions:
- What is going to happen in the ceremony room as attendees arrive, before the program begins?
- How are we opening the show?
- Will someone introduce me as the MC or will there be a V.O. (voice over)?
- Am I making announcements at the top or end of the program?
- When can I give the attendees a stretch break? Between speakers? Between sessions?
- Are we showing video clips during the ceremony?
- What is the best way for me to set up this video and keep the event moving?
- How should I transition from that emotional—or low-key, or funny, or intense—previous speaker before I bring up our next speaker?
- How and when will I recharge the guests?
- Do we have the presenters seated near the stage so we can keep the program m-o-v-i-n-g?
- How shall I close the program and dismiss our attendees?
- The wrap-up: What do I tell attendees to do next (or where to go)?
If you are emceeing a meeting, here’s a tip for great transitions:
Listen first. Then reflect back to the audience what they are feeling at a particular moment. If you sense they want to applaud a speaker for an extended time, help them do it.
If you sense that attendees are getting bored or restless, lead them in a standing/stretching exercise.
If you are following a moving story, impact testimonial, or emotional video, give attendees a moment to take it in. “Wow…that was powerful. Let’s take a second to let that sink in. (Pause) That was so uplifting. Thank you, Madeline…”
Big Tip: As the meeting organizer, the BIG secret to great transitions is simple, but often neglected. Go over your working schedule (I call it a “run sheet”) with your MC prior to the meeting.
In fact, make sure all of your presenters have a printed copy of this timeline!
MASTER of Ceremonies Secret #5: ENCOURAGE
The fifth ingredient of a marvelous emcee is his or her ability to encourage your group to laugh, think, applaud, take action, appreciate, and feel glad they attended. What you are looking for is an MC who knows how to uplift your attendees.
Here is another acronym you may find helpful here. Oh no, not another acronym! Yes, you’ll love this one.
The right emcee at your ceremony is one who uses her head and lots of HEART: Humor, Encouragement, Attitude, Reliability, and Team spirit.
A fine emcee knows how—and when!—to tell a good joke. Select a witty (but warm-hearted) MC with style. Someone who will keep your attendees feeling great…with feel-good humor.
The best emcee for your community gathering is the one who will keep your audience engaged. Your conference MC must know how to make attendees feel included and involved while listening to what’s happening on the platform and making adjustments.
This one is tricky. You are looking for an MC who exudes confidence for sure. Yet, you do not want an arrogant master of ceremonies. What is the ideal attitude?
Your MC should bring a spirit of gratitude, enthusiasm, and energy to your conference.
What good is a super-talented MC at your gathering if she arrives late, won’t take your pre-event call or cancels on you?! Masterful MCs are consistently great. This means they understand that in “Show Business” the word business is the longer, and more important word.
If your master of ceremonies can’t get on board with what your company stands for, hire someone else. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: There’s no “I” in team.
MASTER of Ceremonies Secret #6: RAPPORT
This last one is arguably the most important of all.
Here’s another word for it: Likeability. Your audience is silently asking themselves: Am I going to enjoy this meeting? Will I like this host?
An MC who bonds with people quickly is an invaluable asset at your ceremony. And that’s why a splendid master of ceremonies can help you turn your meeting into a masterpiece.
I hope the insights, tips, and suggestions in this blog have inspired you to partner with a wonderful event host.
Now go and create a magical meeting!
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, major donor weekends, sales conventions, annual meetings, gala celebrations, and award shows. He is the author of the forthcoming book: How to Be A Great MC which will be published by Markin Books, and founder of CleanComedians.com.