What are the secrets of being a great MC?
Being asked to MC an event can happen anytime. At a social setting, at work or for more formal occasions.
Because of my business as a professional speaker, I’m often called on to be a professional MC.
Take for example my recent experiences hosting the Real Estate Institute of WA’s (REIWA) formal annual dinner, and the presentation of the Kevin Sullivan memorial Award, the Institute’s highest accolade.
A professional MC can make or break an event.
What do people remember?
It’s not the children’s choir, the corporate video or the music. It’s not even the venue or the food.
The secret to a great event is the person who brings all of these diverse elements together and then delivers them with personality, humour and charm.
Your choice of Master of Ceremonies will have a big impact on the success of your event.
And the fact is, high profile does not equal success. I’ve heard famous name MCs tell inappropriate jokes and get guests, organisers and sponsors immediately offside.
The MC (also known as Emcee) has a very unique role to play at an event. There are many duties to perform and not everyone can be organised and entertaining at the same time. It’s a special skill.
But the good thing is, it is a learned skill.
Here is the first part of a series of articles on what I call the multiple speaking intelligences every aspiring or experienced leader needs.
In this first part, here are 10 Tips on how to be a great MC for every occasion.
1. Get A Good Briefing
Clarify with the event organiser beforehand what their expectations are and what they want exactly.
2. Work To A Running Sheet
There is a lot to remember and do as an MC. Make sure your event organiser provides a running sheet so you know what happens and when.
3. Run On Time
The major role of a good MC is to keep the event running on time. It is your role to make this happen. No one likes an event that runs over time.
You need to be firm on time. This is one element that is non-negotiable.
4. Be The Glue That Holds The Event Together
Your role as MC is to be the glue or cement that holds the event together.
You have to link, segue and make a transition directly from one section or theme to another during the entire event.
The best MCs do this seemlessly and effortlessly.
5. Focus On The Speakers and Performers
Remember the speakers or performers you are introducing are the stars of the show not the MC.
Don’t grandstand, big note or let your ego get in the way.
Let the event elements, be they speakers, performers or award winners shine.
Spend time at the venue before hand getting used to the stage, lighting and sound system.
Practice your lines out loud. Warm up your voice. Get in the moment.
Research the speakers or performers you are introducing.
As an absolute minimum do a Google search on them. Always request a formal introduction from speakers.
Most professional speakers will provide a prepared introduction.
8. Provide a Mix of Entertainment and Information
The key to a good MC is light and shade.
9. Let Your Personality Come Through and Be Yourself
Don’t be overly wooden or scripted. Let your personality shine through.
10. Have Fun
If you are having fun so are the others speakers and the audience.
Relax and enjoy the moment.