"Hey Devon, this is our first time hiring an event emcee. What should we ask you?”
As the World's #1 Event Emcee - someone who's shared the stage with top speakers like Tony Robbins, and worked with top event orgainzers like Sage Event Management - I have heard this question more than once.
So, if you’re thinking about hiring an emcee for your next event, and you're wondering what questions will give you a good idea as to whether or not they're a good fit for your organization, look no further.
In this article, I’m going to list the top 5 questions every event organizer should ask when interviewing a potential emcee.
5 Questions to Ask an Event Emcee Before Hiring Them
This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything you should ask an emcee before hiring them, but it is a list of some of the most important questions. These questions will give you insight into the type of emcee they are as well as address the main logistical concerns.
Let’s get started…
#1: Are You Available on the Event Date(s)?
This may seem obvious, but many organizers (especially those who are newer to the profession) don’t open with this question. You can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by asking this question before anything else.
If they’re not available on the event date, then the rest is moot!
I also recommend asking when they usually arrive for an event. Ideally (especially for a multi-day seminar in another city), the emcee would respond the day before the event.
As a professional emcee for well over a decade, I always arrive one day early.
That gives me plenty of time to get the lay of the land and do valuable prep work, like soundchecks and whatnot.
It also gives me a chance to meet with the event organizer and go over any last minute changes.
While arriving a day early may not be necessary for every event, you certainly don’t want your emcee arriving an hour before the event starts.
So, in addition to asking if they are available, ask them when they would arrive for the event.
#2: How Do You describe Your Role as the Event Emcee?
This question reveals how experienced an emcee is and how valuable a role they can play for your event.
Of course, every emcee’s answer will be different, but it should touch on a few key elements. To give you an idea, this is how I typically respond to this question:
- Well, Mr./Mrs. Event Organizer, my first job is to manage the energy of the event. I’m not just your MC, which is Master of Ceremonies, I’m your ME, which is Master of Energy. The more energized your crowd is, the more they will learn and the more they’ll have a good time. Ultimately, you want your audience to get a lot from your event, and it’s my job to help them get that by managing their energy.
- The second job I have is to introduce the speakers, but not just using cue cards. My job is to introduce the speakers in such a way that the audience will be really excited about hearing what a particular speaker has to say.
- Some other important elements of my job include making smooth transitions from one part of the event to the next, making sure we run on time, making sure I link each speech back to the overall theme of the event, and a host of other things.
While the emcee you're looking to hire may not use the the exact same words I did, at the absolute least he/she should have an answer that goes far beyond, “My job is to introduce the speakers.” If they don't have anything to say more than that, then that should tell you they don’t fully understand or appreciate the role of an MC.
#3: Can You Share with Me Your Website and Hype Reel?
Ideally, an emcee should have an emcee reel (aka Hype Reel) just like a speaker has a speaker reel.
As an event organizer, it’s very helpful to see this reel before you decide to hire the emcee. The video should show you how the emcee interacts with the crowd and how the group responds.
However, you can take this question one step further. You can ask for an unedited video of an event they have emceed. Some emcees may not have this available, but it’s a great sign if they do.
Unedited video is even better for gauging their raw performance skills.
After all, a hype reel is a great introduction to an emcee, but it has all of the bells and whistles to make them look good. An unedited video or clips will show you their raw performance skills. It shows you how they emcee and how the crowd reacts when you take away the fancy video editing and background music.
#4: How Much?
Notice that “How Much?” is not question #1. First, you want to know if it’s worth hiring them before you bother asking about their fee.
Once you’ve confirmed that they are a good prospect, ask them about their fees. Emcees who have been doing it a while will have set prices, like a per-day fee and travel fee.
Chances are, this leads you to this next question…
#4a What’s a Good Amount to Expect to Pay for an Emcee?
Well, that’s like asking what’s a good amount to pay for a speaker—it depends on the speaker! If it’s somebody who’s just starting out with their speaking career, it could be $2,000. If it’s Tony Robbins or the The Rock it could be $100,000.
There is no set answer to this question.
BUT as a rule of thumb, your emcee should be as valuable as your best speaker.
Your emcee is the person your audience sees first, the most throughout the event, and last. They are not going to just speak on stage for an hour and be gone like a speaker.
Your emcee is the person on stage who is representing you, not themselves. So, value them accordingly!
#5: What Information Do You Need from Me?
A quality event emcee does their homework. They want to know as much as possible about the event, the speakers, and who they are representing.
As an event organizer, a great question to ask is, “What information do you need from me?”
In turn, the emcee should list needed info or ask questions like these:
If an emcee has questions like this for you, it's a good sign they're experienced and will come properly prepared.
World's Best Event Emcee
It would be silly of me to tell you how to find a great event emcee and not mention my services. My style of engagement isn’t perfect for every event, but it might be perfect for yours.
If you’d like to learn more about what I do and how I can do it for you, please visit my website for details, event footage, and testimonials.