An event or conference organiser will spend a huge amount of time and resources ensuring their company event is a success. The challenge is, that however well an event is planned, and however good your speakers are, it can still run over time, seem disjointed or for whatever reason appear disorganised. A great event host (or MC) can make all the difference to the success of your event, so you need to make sure you get the right person for the job.
Hosting or MC’ing is a craft like any other, so to make your event memorable for the right reasons, here are five of the key skills I believe a great event host should have:
Meticulous Preparation. We know preparation is everything, and this is especially important for an event host. Turning up on the day with a clipboard isn’t enough. A professional host will have a checklist that they can go through with an event organiser, weeks in advance. They will ensure every detail is covered including running orders, venue details, AV set up and speaker biographies.
Stagecraft. It goes without saying that an event host needs strong speaking skills, and a natural ability to engage the audience. The host will need to own the stage, with an understanding of when it belongs to them and when it belongs to the speaker.
Stick to Time. One of the biggest jobs of the event host is to ensure the event runs to time. He/she will have checked that they’ve thought of every element of the timing, minute by minute. They need to be flexible, whilst keeping a close eye on the clock, so that they can either find or fill time to ensure the event runs to the agreed schedule.
Keep It Flowing. As the conduit between the speaker & the audience, the host is there to make everything run smoothly from one speaker / segment to another, with well prepared and thought out remarks & links.
The Host Shouldn’t Be The Star. It’s the job of the keynote speaker to take centre stage, the host shouldn’t be the one in the spotlight. The host is the facilitator not the main event!
Whenever you're organising an event next, consider getting a professional MC, it could make a huge difference to the success of your event. You can find out more about my work as an MC here