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A Professional Presenter’s Guide to Effective Event Hosting

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As the presenter or emcee (MC or master of ceremonies), you have a crucial role to play in an event. You make sure that the gathering will run smoothly by controlling the sequence and timing of the different segments of the production. Without you, the occasion or conference won’t have any flow, structure, and entertainment.

Emceeing an event can be a challenging task. You’re certainly fortunate if you are born with the confidence to speak in front of other people. If not, this job can make you feel some anxiety, especially if it is your first time to play this role.

However, a bit of research, preparation, and practice can make a world of difference. Here is a guide to effective event hosting from a professional presenter to help you successfully host your next event.

Roles and Responsibilities of an Emcee

The emcee serves as the bridge between the audience and the speakers. They facilitate the event and make sure that it runs without a hitch.

As the event host, here are your important responsibilities during events:

  • You control when the affair should start and end by being in charge of the sequence of events.
  • You introduce the participants or speakers to the members of the audience.
  • You set the mood of the event by leading the audience whenever it’s time to react and appraise the participants or speakers.

9 Tips for Successful Emceeing

Being an MC entails a lot of preparation. Here are nine tips to make your event hosting successful.

1. Practice

Being familiar with your script will inspire confidence and trust in your audience. Practice reading your script. Go inside an empty room and deliver your presentation like you have an audience.

2. Start the event with a bang

People waiting for an event to begin are often restless and too eager. So the moment you come out, you have to set the tone of the event right.

Craft a captivating story to attract everyone’s attention. Introduce yourself even if most of the audience know you; there may be colleagues, friends, and special guests who don’t know you yet. Include some facts about the company or brand you represent. Familiarize yourself as well with how the event will flow and stay focused on the event’s content.

3. Bring a positive vibe on stage

Any gathering, regardless of how elegant or casual it is, will not go well if the emcee has low to zero energy. So as the presenter, you must bring your energetic and positive vibes on stage. This does not necessarily mean jumping and running around the stage, but rather, being enthusiastic and bright throughout the event.

The more enthusiastic and lively you are, the more the audience will be interested and motivated to participate. When you are excited, the crowd will be, too. They may not even notice that the event has been running for hours already. But if you are boring and dull, there is a high chance that everyone will get bored and uninterested – some may even decide to go home in the middle of the event.

4. Make each speaker look great

Though you already know some facts about the speaker, the audience has little to no knowledge about them. Usually, the success of these segments is highly dependent on the participant’s knowledge about the speaker. Making the speaker look good as you introduce them will help establish rapport and credibility between the speaker and the guests. 

5. Remember that you aren’t the star of the event

Yes, you deliver a speech on stage, and you must be the center of attraction. But this does not mean that you should be the star of the show. Your role is to keep the event running smoothly and make sure that the speakers are celebrated. Don’t hog the limelight!

6. Project your voice

While you are on stage, don’t mumble to yourself despite feeling nervous. If you do this, you won’t reach your audience. They won’t be hearing any word that comes out of your mouth even when you are using a professional sound system.

Instead, project your voice in a way that you are clearly talking to the audience. Address them like you are speaking to each guest individually. Don’t hold the professional microphone too close to your mouth; maintain a distance of at least five centimeters so you don’t muffle the words you are saying. The audio technician can control the sound level, but they can’t do anything if you do not hold the microphone properly.

Use your voice in different ways by changing the volume, pace, and pitch.

  • Volume – Your voice must be loud enough for everyone to hear everything you’re saying. Speaking too quietly or too loudly will make it hard for the guests to follow the presentation. Raise or lower your voice for emphasis. Be creative when using your voice’s volume; speak loudly to make them listen and sit up, or whisper to draw the audience in.
  • Pace – The speed of your delivery must be easy to follow. Avoid speaking too slowly or too fast. But like increasing or decreasing your volume, you can also change your pace to add life to your presentation.
  • Pitch – Play with your voice’s pitch when hosting events. Raise your pitch if you are asking a question or lower it if you want to sound severe.

Practice playing with your voice’s volume, pace, and pitch by saying the same sentences in different ways. Also, explore ways of emphasizing the main points and convey energy and enthusiasm with your voice.

7. Maintain eye contact with the audience

Making eye contact portrays credibility and helps in maintaining the interest of your audience. Also, this encourages them to have confidence in everything you say. If you have a large audience, look up and move your eyes across the room to make everyone feel seen and spoken to.

8. Breathe

Being anxious when you are on stage will affect the quality of how you speak for a long time. So remember to breathe deeply and steadily. As you deliver your speech, use pauses after each question or at the end of each section to breathe easily and comfortably.

9. Wrap up the event properly

In the same way that you need to open the event with a “bang,” there must be an effective closing remark to wrap up the event. A proper closing should include:

  • Thanking the audience
  • Recapping the day’s proceedings
  • Re-emphasizing all the key points
  • Reminding the guests of any announcements, such as where to get the speaker’s presentation slides or where to redeem coupons
  • Wishing them well and expecting them to be present at your next events

Event hosting involves a lot of preparation. Being aware of your role as an emcee and using these tips will ensure that your event will proceed without any issues. It will also help if you work with a copywriter and content creator so you can have a well-written script. The bottom line is to familiarize yourself with every section of the event – from start to finish – and bring an energetic vibe to the room. Smile, relax, and enjoy yourself on stage!

AUTHOR BIO

Hisham Wyne is an internationally recognized MC, broadcaster, presenter and moderator who helps the world’s best-known brands create memorable occasions. He regularly hosts conferences, panel sessions, gala dinners and award ceremonies for some of the world’s best brands. With 150+ events under his belt, Hisham is the professional speaker that brands and agencies turn to when wanting to interview, engage and entertain government VVIPs and Hollywood celebrities.