3 TIPS TO HELP CHOOSE YOUR EVENT MC
The Master of Ceremonies, or MC as they’re more commonly called, plays a critical role in setting and maintaining the tone, flow and energy of an event, but this means they can also be a key contributing factor to its overall success or failure.
Who the MC is, can be just as important as the venue and catering. Picking the wrong, inexperienced or under-prepared MC can leave your audience disinterested, dis-engaged, bored, confused or worse...
So, what should you consider when choosing an MC? Here’s our three top tips for selecting and working with a great MC for your next event:
Choosing the right MC
1. Set your goals:
An MC can perform a range of roles from simply welcoming guests and announcing speakers and performers to engaging, entertaining and inspiring the audience. Depending on the type and complexity of your event, you may also need the MC to help with audience management; keeping the event running on time and much more.
For example, we booked comedian Diana Nguyen for the recent RCAA Conference. One of the MC's roles was to walk around and ring a bell when it was time to return to the seminar rooms, and each afternoon Diana managed to got 250+ people out of their seats and dancing - using her bubbly energy and passion for dancing and movement.
Not all MC’s will be suited to or capable of undertaking such a variety of tasks, so understanding what role you’d like them to play and what they're willing to do, will assist you in coming up with a more suitable and realistic shortlist to chose from.
2. Understand your audience:
To ensure your MC is the right fit, it’s important to consider the demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, industry etc.), values and interests of your event audience and appoint someone who will authentically resonate and connect with them.
For example, our director Julia was invited to facilitate a panel discussion the recent Western Chances Good Business Forum. Attendees at the event included business, community and education leaders from who were interested in supporting the not-for-profit. As a Western Chances Ambassador, past scholarship recipient and success story, Julia was able to articulate and demonstrate the benefits and outcomes of supporting the organisation by drawing on her personal experience. Current scholarship recipients also look up to her as an inspiring role model.
3. Profile your ideal MC:
You’ll need an MC who is a confident and experienced public speaker - able to command and hold a room full of people. But what other characteristics will they need?
Listing out any characteristics, skills and previous knowledge you would like in an MC is a great way to build a clear profile or selection criteria to identify and select the right person for the job.
Should they have a serious or funny tone/ personality? Do they need to understand or have experience in a particular industry or with a certain topic? Do they need to have a particular political stance? Will they need to help promote the event and attract event attendees and if so, do they have a big enough public profile or a large online/ social media presence?
For example, we knew the RCAA Conference would be an intense event featuring challenging lived-experience stories from refugees, so we needed an MC who could be respectful and sensitive, as well as lighten up the mood from time to time. (Thanks again Diana!)
Working well with your MC
So, you've selected the best MC for your event, what happens next?
1. Develop a clear brief:
An experienced and professional MC will often do their own research and seek to understand the brand or event background, purpose and goals. However, we recommend preparing and sharing a comprehensive brief and running order with your MC. This brief will outline exactly what they can expect and is required of them, as well as preparing them for any potential challenges and opportunities to look out for on the day.
Providing a full backgrounder and briefing document in advance will give your MC time to familiarise themselves with key messages, the order of proceedings and any guest speakers, celebs or VIP’s who will be in attendance.
No one likes an MC who just reads from a standard script. Providing a clear briefing before the event will also allow them to prepare any additional/ custom material and collaborate with you by sharing ideas and suggestions to help make the event more fun and unique. After all, if the MC is having a great time, your guests will too!
2. Rehearsals are a must:
We always treat the MC role like any other live performance and allocate time for an in-person run through or rehearsal. This allows us to test out any entrance/ exit points, AV and other technology requirements, transitions between sessions or speakers, and gives us a sneak peak of what the MC will be like on the day.
Rehearsals allow you to refine any clunky messaging, identify and rectify any possible issues and put in place back up plans or supports. If you have a variety of speakers, it would also be a good to get them together ahead of the day – even just briefly and online. Establishing rapport between event officials helps create a friendly environment or vibe and avoids awkward first-time greetings on the day.
Give us a call if you need help finding or booking an event MC. We have worked with a wide range of speakers and can provide expert recommendations and support based on more than ten years of event production experience.