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How To MC An Event

How To MC An Event

It's fun to be an MC. Really, just set your fears of public speaking aside and let this Videojug presentation be your guide in making your emceeing engagement enjoyable for you and the audience.

Hi. I'm Simon Bucknall and in 2008, I won the European Championship of Public Speaking. At the Art of Connection, we help ambitious professionals to connect with their audience and we do it by bringing world class communications expertise into the training room to enable our clients to persuade, influence and inspire others.

How to MC an event. Well, this is one of the first engagements I had in my professional speaking career. I was asked to E23MC the national convention for a large group of financial advisers and what this video will give you is some ideas and perhaps just some advice on how you can be a better MC the next time you're up there on the platform.

Preparation is important when emceeing because you need to find out as much as possible about the people that are in the audience because the reality is it's all about the audience and their enjoyment of the day. So, what I did was put together a questionnaire to send to the meeting planner or your key client contact, whoever it is that's organizing the event, because that person can tell you a huge amount about the event that can give you some guidance on things to do and things to avoid. So, for example, questions might include things like how many people will be in the audience, what's the demographic profile of the audience, age range, gender, profession.

The more you can find out, the better. Who in the audience does everybody know? Because if there's some mean jokes in there or some relationships that you can play off, that's a great way to build a connection with your audience. A final one might be something like, “Are there any taboo subjects?” Think about it.

You wouldn't want to go into a room with a gag or a story that you think is really funny only to find that it bums with the audience because that's something that happened within the organization. In addition to the questionnaire, talking to some audience members in advance is a great way to prepare yourself for an effective emceeing engagement. It might just be two or three people but if you get the contact details from the event planner or whoever your client is ring them up and ask them about their experiences, maybe it's their day-to-day job, maybe it's the organization, how they're feeling in their industry.

It's particularly important if you're not familiar, if you don't have direct experience of that industry. In my case, I knew very little about the financial advice industry but by talking to five people, I got a huge amount of valuable intelligence on what the mood was in that market. Again, it gives you a head start so that you can connect with the audience effectively.

When it comes to the event itself, there's a couple of things to perhaps think about. The first is it's really important to mingle with people. Get to know all the audience before you go up on stage.

Of course, if you've spoken to some people on the phone beforehand, seek them out because you've already got a relationship with those people. It also enables you to build a bit of personal rapport with the people who are then more likely to be supportive of you when you're up front. Finally, have some emergency material.

You never know when one of the speakers might be late or there might be a delay whilst things are sorted out with the sound or there's a problem in the room in some way, it's your job as the MC to hold the room and you never know when you might be called to do this. So, have some emergency material. Maybe it's a story, maybe it's an experience that you've had that might be relevant to that sector, anything that can enable you to maintain a connection to keep the audience engaged if, for any reason, there's a delay.

If you manage to do those things, you'll be in great shape because the questionnaire, talking to people and having some emergency material while also mingling to get to know people before and during the event, all those things can help ensure the next time you MC an eve