What does a TOP Master of Ceremonies (MC) or Room Host DO? – A Checklist for Event MC’s
Last weekend I was Master of Ceremonies (MC) for a 200 person conference at a large hotel in Sydney. I presented two keynote presentations, was MC and hosted the Awards night too.
It went great but with a bit more planning could always have been better. Having run four function venues and hosted over 2000 events I knew how to run a great event but have reflected on how I could have been better prepared to MC an event to avoid any hiccups.
A HINT of potential future problems at the conference might have been that nobody from the hotel provided the obligatory safety briefing. Then at lunchtime nobody from the hotel helped coordinate or move the 200 people up and down the 4 lifts to the restaurant for lunch. In fact, the lifts were programmed to prevent them from stopping on our conference floor upon return from lunch (and there were no stairs for attendees use). Result – CHAOS – but an extra opportunity for networking!
Maybe the hotel functions department were on holidays or sick? – we had nice function staff but nobody appeared to be in charge. So it was a bit of a DIY event. We had to step up!
Here are some tips for anyone acting as an MC or Room Host during a conference.
LIST OF THINGS FOR AN MC TO FIND OUT BEFORE THE CONFERENCE STARTS
- Contact Details for venue person, AV and Video/photographer
- Evacuation Procedure and assembly location in event of emergency
- First Aid Protocol – in event of sick or injured person
- Ejection Protocol – for rowdy or dangerous guests
- Any Likely RISKS – as advised by organiser and event owner – fireworks, high wire?
- Special people & VIPs to meet or special language to use
- Run Sheet and Introductions for all speakers ensuring correct pronunciation
- Brief speakers on time allocation and how it will be managed (The windup)
- Find out the Dress code for all elements of the event (Especially offsites and dinners)
- Bump in/Bump out protocol – times for setting up and removing things
- Ensure appropriate protocol is followed for introducing Politicians and other VIP speakers
- Hashtags and preferred social media platform
ESSENTIAL THINGS YOU NEED TO DO AS MC
- Build an AMAZING relationship with AV support team (get them coffee, bring chocolates & work closely with them). If they are setting up the AV desk but NOT staying for the event – make sure you get their mobile number and location.
- Build a GREAT relationship with the conference organiser and venue person
- Have MUSIC for introducing speakers “Sting music” – provide it or ensure it is available and organise suitable Background music for breaks
GREAT CONFERENCE OPENING – ELEMENTS OF A INTRODUCTION BY AN MC
- Introduce Yourself (many MCs forget to do this) – Who are you?
- Welcome to the conference – set the tone
- Acknowledgement of Country
- Toilet locations
- Room Exit locations
- Mobile Phones and devices on silent
- Any announcements from the organiser
- Agenda Overview – the Flow of day and highlight events – especially dress codes
- Acknowledge VIPs in the room
- Appreciate your Sponsors
- Promote your Exhibitors
- Highlight your upcoming Speakers
- Introduce the FIRST speaker
THINGS THAT GREAT MC’s DO
- Continuously work closely with event ORGANISER to ensure their needs are met
- Maintain appropriate ENERGY levels throughout the day
- Use some LANGUAGE of any special delegates
- Continue EXCITEMENT for the event and what they are achieving.
- Continue to PROMOTE key sponsors and exhibitors as appropriate
- Promote the Media Wall – A wall of logos for attendees to use as a photo backdrop
- Get a Photo or Video taken of the audience from the Stage – A STAGE PHOTO
- Get some Video VOX POPS about the event from sponsors, exhibitors or attendees
- Organise attendees for an Annual Conference GROUP PHOTO of the event (if required)
- MINGLE with delegates and talk about them from stage (name drop)
- Post to SOCIAL MEDIA throughout the course of the event
- Announce and promote the WIFI access codes for the venue
- Encourage use of HASHTAGS by attendees when they post online
- Promote feedback SURVEY at end of conference
- Get people excited about NEXT YEAR’s event & destination / encourage registration
WHO IS THE BEST MASTER OF CEREMONIES?
The speaking and conference industry could do with more Professional MCs and less amateurs running conferences. Avoid an embarrassing or boring conference trainwreck – get yourself a professional – See the list of the BEST MC’s in Australia.
This article is a work in progress for my speaking industry colleagues. – Thanks to Professional Speaker & Master MC Warwick Merry CSP for his input for this blog.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES TRAINING COURSE
There is a LOT more to being a good MC than listed above. The conference industry needs MORE female and multicultural MCs.
Warwick Merry, Master MC, runs a great 8 Week Online Course to develop your Master of Ceremonies skills. Here is his link to the BEST MC Course called Get More MC Success.
ABOUT THE BLOG AUTHOR – David Staughton CSP
David Staughton is an Award-winning Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), past board member of Professional Speakers Australia and advisor to a large Australian speakers bureau.
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If you have any other tips for being a better conference MC or Room Host please call Dave on 0408375100 or contact me