Having an emcee at your event was a nice-to-have prior to 2020. Now it’s a must-have. Talk to any meeting owner who has managed a large virtual event this past year using a skilled emcee and he or she will tell you it made all the difference.
An emcee ensures that an event flows seamlessly with all of its threads – content, speakers, audience and suppliers – woven together into a cohesive narrative. That’s why we like to refer to this role as a Content Weaver.
The event’s flow and energy are in the hands of the emcee. She is responsible for ensuring that the conference’s objectives are met and that the audience is engaged from beginning to end. With the dawning of hybrid events, the importance of having an experienced weaver becomes critical for success.
The Role of an Emcee
An emcee’s role often extends well beyond hosting the event itself. The right content weaver can contribute to the meeting’s design and help prepare speakers and formulate agendas. Employ a skilled emcee from event inception through execution in order to make the most of her experience and expertise, which will enhance every aspect of the participants’ experience. The emcee is there to serve the audience.
Professional emcees can not only handle the intros, outros and transitions, but they are your security blanket when things go wrong (as they inevitably do). Emcees have to think on their feet and be responsive in the moment. Bottom line: Having an emcee allows you, the meeting owner, to sleep better at night.
Check That Box
I got together with several of my professional emcee peers (among them, Kristin Arnold, President, Extraordinary Team, and professional emcee, pictured above), who are members of the National Speakers Association, to collaborate on a while paper entitled, Why Hire an Emcee? I encourage you to download and share this valuable guide with your planning teams or with anyone aspiring to become an emcee or to improve his or her skills.
Here’s a quick checklist to use when you’re hiring an emcee:
- Write a request for proposal. Provide a brief description of your audience and agenda. Add any additional information that will impact the emcee’s responsibilities.
- Assemble a list of potential candidates. Your best place to start: search the National Speakers Association database for its list of professional emcees.
- Check credentials and verify references. Ask your candidates for a list of similar events they have emceed and watch a video if recorded.
- Ask questions and trust your intuition. Ask finalists how they would handle certain situations that could arise in your event. What does your gut say about this person? If your intuition and your analysis are aligned, the odds of picking a successful candidate go up.
The white paper will give you lots of ideas on how to leverage the role of an emcee to enhance your event. As we look to more hybrid events on the horizon, an emcee will help you bridge both audiences.
How have you been successful in selling the idea of using a professional emcee to your planning committee and/or leaders?