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.
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
Whether you’re pumped or dreading your presentation, you, the speaker, must answer these 3 questions in order to engage your audience.
🎯 Question #1 to create buy-in ➜
Do you know what you’re talking about?
You answer, “Of course!” But, does your audience know that you know?
Tip: Share your credibility through stories. We call this “credibility sprinkles”.
Ex: “When I spoke to 900 home inspectors in California at their annual association meeting I asked them what ‘BS’ stood for and they shouted out ‘better service!’”
🎯 Question #2 to maintain buy-in ➜
Do you care about what you’re talking about?
You do not need to be a raging extrovert. In fact, introverts make great speakers.
Tip: You show your passion for your subject through your nonverbal actions.
Do: Smile, have good posture, exhibit effective eye contact.
🎯 Question #3 to go beyond buy-in ➜
Do you really know who you’re talking to?
Tip: Gather your intel.
Find out: Where is their pain? What makes them tick? What are they good at? Who competes with them? Where can they improve? What defines success for them? How knowledgeable are they about your topic? Experience range?
🎯 Your audiences are distracted, tired or deadline driven. AKA: Overwhelmed. Do them a favor. Nail these answers in order to share your value.
“You’ve run a very popular and expensive restaurant – that has your name on the door – for over 16 years… and it’s a competitive market here in Dallas. What do you attribute your success to?” asks the Dallas Morning News food editor to Dean Fearing.
Dean replies, “There are 3 components. First, consistency. We serve great food every day. Second, personability. I decided that I’d greet our customers at every table on a daily basis. I’ve done this from day one. Third, a great wait staff. We have a wonderful team at Fearing’s Restaurant.”
The parallels between Fearing’s top rated restaurant and 5-star communication skills
Consistency. Just like the expectations you have for a fine meal when entering a fine dining establishment, your team/board/stake holders expect you to communicate compelling content with clarity and confidence on a consistent basis.
Personability. You do business with people you know, like and trust. Let’s drill down on the word “like”. Be likeable, like Dean Fearing. Communicate with respect, listen with genuine interest and create an atmosphere of good will.
Leadership. Whether you run a billion dollar organization or you’re a solopreneur, you and your company represent and communicate your brand.
Once a year my daughter and I have an all-day spa date and one year we went to the Ritz Carlton. We began our day having lunch at their restaurant, Fearing’s. As we ate our delicious lunch, guess who came over to chat? Chef Fearing.
We are back with our annual selection of the best Super Bowl Commercial.
For starters, the Roman numerals for this year’s Super Bowl are LVII. Remove the “L” and you’re left with “VII” that = 7. And THAT is what a 30-second commercial costs these days: 7 million bucks (before adding in talent and production dollars)!
Drum Roll…. This year Breaking Good PopCorners commercial wins.
Use this list of strategies for your next board presentation, zoom meeting or project review all modeled in this commercial.
Self-deprecating humor. Laugh at yourself – it makes you more approachable. We will then want to listen to you. Our beloved Breaking Bad characters, Walter, Jesse and Tuco make fun of themselves and the original show throughout this ad.
Good story arc. Many of the ads tried too hard and became disjointed. You could not figure out what they were selling till the last second. Our Breaking Good ad reveals the product up front and the PopCorners take center stage.
Clear CTA. Eat PopCorners. In other commercials you had to really search for the product relevance & Call to Action.
Logical support material. Rather than have gratuitous celebrity placement our commercial gives us a great throwback to the Breaking Bad main characters and their van… which moves this story forward.
Strong finish. And they’re air popped, not fried. Now in seven flavors.
Real takeaways for you – find the humor, move your story forward with logic, add good support material that makes sense and create a clear message/solution. Finally, don’t get stuck in a van in the desert near Albuquerque.
Kathy and Ross Petras, brother-and-sister co-authors of “Awkord Moments” share some wise adds and deletes to your often-used phrases that will increase your executive presence.
Phrases NOT to say!
“For what it’s worth.” Replace with nothing. If it’s not worth saying you would not say it at all. Please.
“If you know what I mean.” Replace with nothing. You already know what you mean because you are saying what you mean!
“In my opinion.” Replace with nothing. It is your opinion!
“Needless to say.” Self-explanatory here. Stop saying this phrase!
Phrases that need a quick fix
❌ Weak: “I think this would”
✅ Strong: “I believe this would”
➜ Tip – Changing “think” to “believe” is a tiny tweak with a huge payoff.
❌ Weak: “I just wanted to touch base”
✅ Strong: “I wanted to touch base”
➜ Tip – delete the word “just”. Sounds apologetic.
❌ Weak: “Sorry”
✅ Strong: “Excuse me”
➜ Tip – Save apologies for when you need to own up for something you’ve done wrong. Use “excuse me” when your grocery cart runs into someone else’s cart, ETC. Kathy and Ross Petras ask, “Why say ‘Sorry to bother you,’ when a simple ‘Excuse me’ is shorter, snappier and less self-deprecating?”
Swap or delete these phrases to convey more executive presence, for what it’s worth.