So you’ve been asked to Emcee your next event. Congrats!
This means you are proven to be well spoken, capable of engaging others, and doing more than just a speech, show, or performance.
It is Game On.
Here are 7 Tips to being an Incredible Emcee (no particular order):
- You are The Glue of the event – Your job in this role is to make sure everyone else looks amazing. Yes, it is your show essentially, but no one needs to know that, and you already are amazing, so you have that covered. You just make sure every person you introduce to stage is more important than you for their big moment.
- Meet with the Event Planners at least 2 times prior to the event start (over phone or in person) – Your first meeting should be to strategize and let them know where you can fit within the event and what you bring (energizers, fun activities, segues, comedy, music, stories, pitches and selling their new product launches, social media promotions, give-aways, etc). After the first meeting let them know you can’t meet again until they give you a Show Flow, or Line-By-Line rundown, of the entire event, which will lead conversation 2. From there you can sculpt your bits, routines, and schtick to work in within their event needs and be firm in what you know works best for you which will help the planners feel you have this under control.
- Research the Speakers & Performers you will Introduce – this is not a must but is wise. I have introduced world-famous people with the introduction I was handed seconds before that I didn’t realize were famous, and that made me under-prepared and semi-enthusiastic. Whereas when I have done plenty of research on who’s coming to stage, such as Googling them and realizing they had a Ted Talk that went viral, or a book that was a bestseller, I can then watch a portion of their talk, or purchase their book and read some chapters, and then I become a fan, which helps me be more excited than a normal Emcee bringing them to stage. If you appear to be a fan of the person you bring to stage everyone else will give them more approval from the get go – see Jimmy Fallon hosting The Tonight Show to watch a master at being the biggest fan of each guest.
- Clearly Understand and Embrace the Topic/Theme of the Entire Event or Session – Most events have an overall Theme, such as Inspire or Transform. How can you tailor your material to that theme? If you are a Speaker you most likely have stories that are easily able to go from, say, “the way we bring humor to a situation” to fitting into the client’s theme of “transforming our thoughts through humor”. See what I did there? If you are a Singer you could do a song about inspiration, such as “Imagine” or “Firework”, and it drives the theme of the event home, the client will love you forever for customizing. If a multi-day event, you will have General Sessions which have a certain feel, such as Opening Session may be about Ignite Their Excitement, Afternoon Session might be Business & Education, Evening Session Awards & Recognition. In other words, what are the themes and topics, or more importantly the feeling they want their audience to experience, in each session, and how do you cater to that? I have had sessions go from Explosive Laughter and Fun to the next hour being Foundation Fundraiser for Abused Women. Good to know that ahead of time so I prepare the feeling, my delivery and material, for what is to come.
- Appear as if You’re a Part of the Executive Team – This isn’t completely necessary in all cases, such as being an Awards Ceremony Emcee who’s there to make them laugh in order to get through a 6 hour recognition, but in the event you are on stage for 3 days bringing all Execs to stage and running the entire event, you need to appear as if you know pretty much everything about this company. From abbreviations (RFMA or RFMy, and how to pronounce it), to awards qualifications (Diamonds, Platinums, Sapphires, Golds, etc), to pronunciation of names of winners (good luck jumping from Spanish to Japanese to Australian to Nigerian – I think there’s a viral video of me botching names somewhere out there), to the very reference of their CEO (The Big Cheese, or Dr. vs. Mr.). These are essential to appearing as if you are a part of the back office and gives you extreme credibility and trust with attendees. This also relieves the concerned executive who’s role you have taken over and let’s them know you can handle the job so they can relax and enjoy themselves during the event, rather than running it.
- Let the Executives Know They Are The Rock Stars – It has always been a struggle for the resident executive to give up the reigns to an outsider and allow for a professional Emcee to come in. You can imagine – this might be his big moment once a year to be funny instead of firing people all day in the office. So tread lightly, but let them know you’re not taking their place, rather you are lifting their place to a new level of perception from the audience’s perspective. The challenge with an Executive running the show as Emcee is they are now relegated to answering questions from every attendee who corners them about the room being too cold, sound too loud, seats not comfy, event not fun enough, etc etc. Then Exec becomes peon. You as Emcee come in letting Executives realize they can now control their portion of the event. They don’t need to answer any questions, or see anyone, if they don’t want. Or they can mix and mingle with everyone with little responsibility. You also let them know you will bring them to stage for their one big moment, where they can do their best 5-10 minutes, or 60-min. Keynote, rather than having to keep that up after every speaker over 3 days. Once you prove your place and they realize what you take off of them, the Exec you replace will be asking your return year after year. This makes them the Rock Star every time they come to stage for that one huge thunderous applause, rather than it wearing out over the course of an event.
- Understand the Event Planner’s Vision for Social Media – This is often the last thing an event planner considers, but I always ask up front, “What is the hashtag for your event, and would you like your audience and event to trend while we’re here?” This is music to their ears, as they usually haven’t thought of it. This now becomes a huge audience involvement piece where you can have the lights come up, attendees can make faces into their selfie camera shots, and you show the hashtag on the screen. I have seen events blow up social media which generates interest and sales for the company immediately if there are over 1,000 attendees committed to posting LIVE. It’s amazing and you can help make this happen on a daily basis, but it must be your idea that then becomes the planner’s idea – be subliminal and it will be awesome.
There is so much more to say! So much more to add. HERE is PART 2 – PERFORMANCE. Excited for you to be an Emcee and know you’ll do great!
~ jason hewlett
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.
To hire Jason to speak at your next event, inspire and uplift, entertain and engage, please contact Karen Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org