The job of a master of ceremonies is not easy. The emcee must be able to cut, expand or change planned content on the fly, all while not breaking a sweat. It is a challenging role that needs to appear effortless to the audience.
The emcee sets the tone for the entire event, and this is why you need to find the one that is the right fit. If you underestimate the gravity of your choice, you may pick the wrong candidate and tacitly send the message that the event is not important to you to your attendees.
To make the right choice, firstly, you need to understand your target audience clearly. What age is your audience? What is their education profile, sex, and origin? Secondly, you need to be aware of your intended impression. Do you want your event to be celebratory, fundraising, party-themed, corporate, or to engage customers?
In this article, we will be looking at the qualities you should look for in a master of ceremonies based on the kind of event you are planning and the impression you want your audience to take away.
And of course, you should loop your emcee into your event planning software, so they can collaborate on the run-of-show, guest profiles and stay informed.
The 3 Key Qualities Of An Master of Ceremonies
That being said, some qualities are indispensable to any master of ceremonies. The following three characteristics should be present in any emcee for them to fit perfectly into an event.
1. The Ability to adapt language
Your ideal master of ceremonies is well-versed in the particular field of your attendees. For example, in an event for marketing corporates, your emcee needs to speak marketing jargon with ease. Speaking the language of the attendees effortlessly is vital for increasing engagement and improving the overall experience of your attendees.
You also want to pick an emcee with the right kind of disposition, a person your audience will want to interact with. A suited corporate emcee might not be appealing to the attendees of a video-game launch simply because gamers don’t care much for suits and impressive language. It’s not just about finding someone unique because unique is relative to your kind of attendees. Many emcees are good at what they do. The trick is finding the one that is right for your event.
You also want to work with an emcee who will treat the stage as their own personal space in which they are hosting guests. A courteous master of ceremonies will adjust the microphone stand for the next person on stage, welcome people warmly, only leave the stage once the person starts speaking, and walk them off the stage at the end.
These qualities are essential to any emcee. Now, let’s get more specific and look at different categories of events and the key attributes needed in an emcee to make these events a success.
Related: The Massive Guide To Event Marketing
Choosing the Right Master of Ceremonies for a Party-themed Event
A party-themed event can be anything from a birthday party to a wedding reception or an anniversary. Hosting such events has no set template simply because they all differ. Each party will have a different theme, venue, and combination of attendees. The following qualities are essential in a party emcee:
Ability to multi-task
The emcee of a party must be able to charm everyone in the event. Themed parties need multifaceted content because the attendees consist of different age groups and personalities that all need to be entertained.
The emcee’s role is to harmonize all strands of entertainment and maintain the party’s overall theme. If it is a child’s birthday party, then the emcee must-have activities for children and exciting content to keep the adults entertained. If it is a wedding reception, the emcee must be aware of each family, along with what anecdotes can be shared and what topics are off-limits.
Party-themed events are also very hands-on. You need a master of ceremonies who is willing to roll up their sleeves and help wherever they can. For example, the duties of an emcee at a wedding can also include:
- gathering guests for the photographs
- showing them their seats
- encouraging them to sign the guestbook, and
- explaining how the service meal will work.
It is also vital to choose an emcee who will remain steady throughout your party-themed event. For example, an emcee needs to control their alcohol intake even when there’s plenty of temptation. They need to be patient with demanding or rude guests and prioritize the comfort of the attendees instead of their own.
Choosing the Right Master Of Ceremonies for a Formal or Corporate Event
Finding a master of ceremonies for a corporate event is not just as easy as locating the funniest person in the office and making them the host. In a corporate event, you want an emcee who is knowledgeable and fun, who will handle the event with just the right amount of liveliness and formality to make your attendees feel important and relaxed at the same time. They must have the following qualities:
Precision with introductions
One of the main jobs of a corporate emcee is to do detailed introductions of the key speakers in the event. The emcee must introduce them in a way that feels intentional, and each introduction must be different. You want an emcee who will be able to weave in the history of the person they are introducing, such as past achievements, anecdotes involving other fellow colleagues, or their unique contribution to the industry.
Creativity with instructions
You also want to choose a master of ceremonies who will bring original and entertaining ways to tell attendees things they need to comply with for the event to be a success.
Your emcee must have the creativity to find different ways to ask your audience to, for example, switch their cell phones off or not get up while someone is speaking on stage. Creativity and humor will encourage cooperation. You don’t want guests to feel they are being controlled even after work hours.
The emcee of a corporate event must also be able to fill in the gaps. If the previous speech runs too short or the next one is too long, the emcee needs to keep firm control of the event schedule by lengthening or shortening their own content.
Pro-tip: Use ThymeBase’s teams feature and file management to share speaker details and allow the emcee to quickly ask follow-up questions. This way, you’re not conveying dozens of emails and details.
Choosing the Right Master Of Ceremonies for a Celebratory or Awards Event
Celebratory events are occasions where people are appreciated for their work and awarded the recognition they deserve. While these events have a formal undertone, the mood still needs to be relatively light. After all, it’s still a celebration.
The event program can also be long and tedious for the attendees. Thus high levels of entertainment and encouragement are expected from the emcee. The emcee must understand the following:
As the host of a celebratory event, the emcee is the light relief of the event. They must entertain attendees with appropriate jokes, anecdotes and encourage interaction. A well-known comedian or lifestyle television show presenter is generally a good choice for master of ceremonies.
The emcee must understand that their job is to shine the spotlight on the attendees who are being celebrated. If you choose a comedian or a popular personality as your emcee, make sure they can regulate their content to keep attention to the attendees. You don’t want the event to become a one-man show.
There is a thin line between humor and offense. The emcee of a celebratory event must understand this. They must be able to present comedy and celebratory comments in a way that will entertain attendees but also keep them feeling important. A dedicated emcee will do their due diligence to ensure their content is balanced with humor and formality.
Choosing the Right Master Of Ceremonies for a Fundraising Event
A fundraising event is an event where attendees are motivated to contribute to a cause. This can be anything from a gala dinner to an auction. It attracts high-profile attendees, and you want an emcee who will motivate them to give. So, eloquence, a formal presentation, and charm are paramount. The emcee must be able to do the following:
Focus on the goal
The emcee is the only one who can update your attendees on how far you are from your target. The emcee’s content, therefore, must be centered on encouraging the attendees to reach the target. They must have various skillful ways to focus the attention of the attendees on the fundraising target throughout the event.
Perform extensive research
The emcee also needs to target the right people. Thus they must have extensive knowledge of the attendees. The emcee must know how to appeal to certain people and adjust this accordingly throughout the event; everyone from your wealthiest attendee to the least must be reached by the emcee.
Witty and sharp
The master of ceremonies must also keep tabs on pledges and be clever in encouraging attendees to give. There are various ways to encourage people to give. Sometimes, telling a sentimental story about the cause does not work. The emcee must be versatile and use multiple angles such as humor, empathy, or even irony, where appropriate, to encourage giving.
Choosing the Right Master Of Ceremonies for a Product Launch Event
In an event such as a product launch, you essentially want to communicate your new product and how it is an extension of your brand.
Someone well-known as an industry leader could be great motivation for your audience to not only enjoy the event but buy into what you are launching. A launch emcee must be the following:
A launch introduces a new product to your consumers and a new message. The emcee must put the brand’s history into perspective, foregrounding how far the brand has come with its latest offering. The emcee does not need to sell the product. Instead, they need to tell the story behind the product well enough that it resonates with the attendees.
A good sport
The emcee of a product launch must also be physically involved. If, for example, you are launching a new menu in your restaurant, the emcee must be actively engaged and partake in the meals alongside attendees.
A product launch can blur the boundaries between stage-performer and audience. So the emcee must not be preoccupied with talking to people from a podium and willing to engage with attendees one-on-one.
Able to work collaboratively
A product launch event can also have multiple entertainers. The master of ceremonies must be in the center and boost them instead of just disappearing behind the stage. They must highlight the different acts and link each one to the message behind the product being launched.
The Master Of Ceremonies Is A Team Player
Ultimately, an exceptional master of ceremonies is a team player and understands that they are not the star of the event but the string that ties all the elements together. A great emcee will blend into your event and become an extension of the message behind the event. Working with the right kind of emcee is vital to an engaged audience and a successful event overall.