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7 1/2 Emcee Tips

by | May 28, 2023

Karen emcees a National Speakers Association – North TX Chapter event

You are asked to emcee your corporate annual event. OR – you’re tapped to “run” the business holiday dinner. OR – you are chairing a Board of Directors retreat.

Here are 7 tips to emcee, “run”, or chair an event/retreat/holiday dinner/meeting/convention.

1. START STRONG & ON TIME

Begin by having someone introduce you. Not a long intro. It could even be the “Voice of God” – an omniscient voice that booms, “Here’s Karen Cortell Reisman, your emcee for our ‘Annual Grow Your Business Expo’!”. You should NOT have to get up on stage and say, “Shush….” or “Can I have your attention now?”

Begin when you say you will begin.

Introduce yourself. You might be well known in this room. However, you might have guests, significant others, new members of the team who do not have a clue as to why you’re at the lectern. Tell your audience who you are and what your connection is with this event.

2. ACKNOWLEDGE OTHERS

You are one spoke of the wheel. Thank the meeting organizers – the unsung heroes, the production crew (if there is one), and your audience – without them you would not have this great opportunity.

3. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE & EVENT BACKGROUND

Stealth bomb of all types of communication – NOT knowing your audience. It’s no different when emceeing an event. Do your homework and find out the pulse of your event and what the meeting organizers want as an outcome.

4. HAVE A SCRIPT

Scripts make you a bit stilted, but having a script in this role is OK.

Can you skip the script? Yes – IF you have speaking experience, and the group’s culture leans to informal. Otherwise, the script will be your best friend.

Do you read verbatim from this script? NO. Practice and make it conversational. It’s a crutch, not your life jacket. You may also use a teleprompter.

5. SHARE THE AGENDA

No matter how much the group likes you, your audience wants to know how long they have to sit there, when the breaks are, and what the expectations are for all.

5 1/2:  CREATE A “RUN OF SHOW”

This is a behind-the-scenes minute by minute layout of the entire event that you create in tandem with your meeting organizers.

6. MAKE YOUR AUDIENCE FEEL SPECIAL

Don’t say, “I’m nervous. But this is just a routine meeting so we’ll just start with our clip from our CEO.”

AAGH! First – don’t share your nervousness status. We don’t care and if we do care, then we are now distracted by your emotional state. Second – “routine meeting” – NO! You want your audience to feel like this is an ecstatic use of their time. Do say, “Today you are in for a treat. We have a cutting edge program starting with a special and customized video from CEO Jordan Brooks.”

7. END ON TIME

While hard to control, your credibility and the event’s credibility are enhanced when the timing flows well. The other evening I was at an awards dinner (yawn, long winded, I’m already tired… you know the drill). The emcee said we’d be done at 8pm. My “shoulder skeptic” inner voice thought, “These events never end that early or on time.” It did! I was impressed.

The last impression becomes the lasting impression.

BONUS TIP

While not on your Emcee To Do List, you can suggest to the meeting organizer to have a stellar valet service, if attendees are transporting themselves to and from the hotel/convention venue. Once over, it’s over and people want to move on.

Source: Andy Saks, President of Spark Presentations – sparkpresentations.com

© 123RF Stock Photo

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