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75% of people get nervous speaking in public. If you want to stand out as an emcee, you need to come prepared and ready to wow your audience. To do that, you need to thoroughly and completely outline the event from start to finish. That’s what a run of show is for!

At a glance

  • A run of show is a complete outline of the entire event, with all the important details clearly laid out. It establishes the foundation of any event.
  • This document is essential to ensuring the event is successful and runs smoothly.
  • It will contain information like contact details, loose talking points, and a general timeline.
  • Online events will need a detailed run of show to ensure that attendees stay engaged.
  • For an in-person event, be sure to contain all the information needed for a smooth event.

A cue sheet is the foundation of the event planning process and will encompass all parts of your upcoming gathering, from establishing talking points to providing information about panelists. Any great MC knows the importance of crafting and successfully implementing a run of show.

Keep reading, and I’ll let you in on everything you should know about a run of show as an emcee.

See Related: 9 Corporate Event Themes Your Team Will Love

#1. What exactly is a run of show?

If you want to host a successful event, you need to understand how to build a solid foundation.

Proper planning and preparation is the key to any excellent event. So, if you’re looking to emcee an upcoming function, don’t underestimate this process.

The foundation of event planning is the run of show. This template is a living document that thoroughly outlines the entire event from start to finish.

a man speaking on stage happen free run stage speakers create happen entire team production cues#2. Why is a run of show important?

As an emcee, it’s up to you to do more than just keep people entertained. Though this is, of course, an essential aspect, you also need to play a part in outlining the event details.

You don’t want to rely on people’s memories during the entire evening. This front-to-back breakdown of the event will help establish parameters.

If you’ve ever seen a haphazard event run off the rails, it was likely because there wasn’t adequate planning involved. That’s why a run of show is so important!

It’s the key to making sure an event can run smoothly.

It ensures that everyone, from the event planner to the production team, is on the same page. And that’s priceless for event planners!

Bonus: 6 Motivational Themes To Include At Your Next Corporate Event

an audience listening to a keynote speaker event production schedule event's progression happen create google sheet#3. A run of show in the event planning process

Each event is unique. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all, meaning that you can’t rely on a generic cue sheet to get by.

That’s a good way to ensure things fall through the cracks.

You need to be attentive to the demands of your particular event. And you should also keep your audience in mind when laying out the details.

What should your run of show include?

Here are some common elements that should be included in your run of show:

  • Information about panelists, speakers, and guests, including contact details and other essential information.
  • General talking points or discussion topics for presenters, including anyone who may make an appearance on stage.
  • Any links to supporting documents or pre-recorded videos, so that everyone can easily access necessary content.
  • Set-up and tear-down considerations, so that the big day can progress smoothly and on time.
  • Technical elements, including audiovisual checks so that sound and lights are ready to go on the event day. Keep in mind that this aspect will be much more all-encompassing for virtual events!

man speaking into a microphone next event management show document color coding makes senseCreating a Run of Show for a virtual event

The larger the event, the more content your event run of show template will contain.

And for virtual events, you need to be extra mindful of any extra information you should include!

There’s a common misconception out there that it’s safe to bypass a run of show for online events. But that’s far from the truth.

In fact, you likely need to adopt a sleeker and more adaptable run of show template so that you can be better prepared for your modernized function. When event attendees can merely log off with the click of a button, it’s all the more important to find ways to keep them intrigued and the event running smoothly.

That’s another reason why the perfect keynote speaker is essential for your event! Even on an online platform, a great master of ceremonies will be able to guide the event to success in an interactive and entertaining fashion.

woman leading a meeting pre recorded content production staff natural progression color code own runFor in-person events

Your run of show for an in-person meeting, conference, or event will likely contain plenty of finely-tuned details.

To start with, you need to have a detailed schedule of what’s happening and when. That way, speakers and guests can be prepared.

However, it’s a good idea to also have information about other moving parts. For example, it’s likely beneficial to have contact information for food vendors (what happens if they bring the wrong dishes?) as well as for the security team (you never know when something will go wrong!)

When it comes down to it, it’s better to have too much information than not enough. This one document will be responsible for helping you organize, track, and execute the perfect event.

Don’t underestimate it!

Wrapping up

Putting together an entertaining, memorable, and smooth event is harder than it seems. With the right emcee and an articulate run of show, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a killer event!

Keep Reading: 6 Fall Employee Engagement Activities For Your Corporate Group

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 For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.