I see a lot of events, conferences, and special get-togethers that have the potential to be awesome experiences for everyone involved.
But often, they wind up falling just short of “awesome” and end up somewhere in the realm of “pretty good”.
The reasons for this vary from event to event, but some common reasons are:
Those are just a few of the big reasons, but you get the idea.
The bad news is that MOST events end up falling into the good (or pretty good) category, when they could’ve easily been GREAT or even AWESOME.
The good news is that the solution for taking an event from average to amazing is actually quite simple…
Get an emcee!
For many, an emcee doesn’t seem like a major addition to your event, but as someone who has been involved in more conferences/seminars in one month than most people are in three years, I’ll tell you that the right emcee can be more valuable than even your headline keynote speaker.
What is an Emcee?
Before I get into why you should hire an emcee, you should probably fully understand what one is.
An emcee is essentially a professional host for your event. Common tasks for an emcee include introducing speakers and performers, opening and closing the event, maintaining the flow of the event, managing the energy in the room, and some behind-the-scenes organizational tasks.
In essence, an emcee will guide the event, and, more importantly, help your guests get the most out of your event.
Many events make the mistake of not having an emcee. Or, only slightly better, having “Bob from accounting” host the event because he’s fun at the Christmas party. Understanding the nuances of emceeing and effectively performing all the tasks of an event emcee, is something that takes years to master.
So, if you’re considering getting an emcee for your next event, here are 7 reasons to hire a PROFESSIONAL emcee for your next event, conference, or seminar.
1: An Emcee Captures (and Keeps) the Audience’s Attention
Attention is one of the most important elements of a successful event. An emcee draws the audience’s attention to the focal point and places it where it needs to be before the important stuff starts happening. This helps ensure that all your speakers, performers, and similar participants start off on the right foot with the best chance of success.
There’s always a little bit of downtime between acts. The person who was previously speaking needs to leave, and the person who’s about to take the stage needs to make their way out and get set up. Depending on the situation, this might only take a few seconds, or it might take several minutes. It doesn’t matter much, because the audience’s attention can easily drift off, and that causes problems.
During these “between speakers” times, it’s easy for the crowd to get caught up in conversations or distracted by other things going on.
An emcee captures (and keeps) the attention of the audience where it’s supposed to be… on the stage.
And a good emcee will keep the attention of the audience, even if the event is multiple days long.
2: An Emcee “Kills Time”, Without Looking Like They’re Stalling for Time.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that your event will experience hiccups. A speaker will be late, a presenter will end their talk early, or the AV equipment will break.
When these challenges occur – which they most certainly will – you’ll be beyond grateful that you chose to hire a professional emcee.
An emcee comes prepared to fill in that gap that occurs when challenges happen.
I remember once, in 2006, the person putting on a seminar came running backstage at the last minute (just because I was about to go on). The final speaker of the event was caught in traffic and wouldn’t be there for another 15 minutes. I was instructed to use that time in a way that not only added value to the event, but also made it look like we weren’t stalling for time.
So, as a professional event emcee…. That’s just what I did.
The right emcee will (amongst other things):
A good emcee is highly flexible and able to stall for time, which is critical to your event’s success.
3: An Emcee Guides the Audience’s Response
Lean in a little bit, because this is absolutely crucial.
Have you ever seen a speaker walk out to the stage to minimal applause? Or, maybe you’ve seen a speaker end their presentation, and the audience is practically dead.
Either way, it’s embarrassing for the speaker, and it’s also detrimental to your event. For an event to be successful, someone needs to set the tone and the expectation for how the audience should respond and engage with the speakers.
A KEY ROLE OF THE EMCEE IS TO HELP GUIDE THE REACTION OF THE AUDIENCE
A key role of the emcee is to help guide the reaction of the audience, so that the give-and-take between the speakers and the crowd is where it needs to be. It may sound silly, but having someone simply say “put your hands together” has a HUGE impact on whether or not the crowd responds the way you want them to.
4: An Emcee Helps With Pre-Event Organization & Event Enhancement
A good emcee will have worked behind the scenes on more events in three months than most people will over the course of three years.
One of the smartest things someone putting on an event can do is to leverage that experience by using the emcee for more than just introducing people and closing out the show.
Here’s just a short list of items an experienced emcee will likely have more insight into than you:
Since an emcee has a lot of experience, they can be a pivotal part of designing the event from the very first step. If you work closely with your emcee, they can take a look at your plans thus far, and provide professional input to take things to a new level.
Of course, it’s your event, and you can do what you want. But an emcee who has daily, weekly, or even monthly experience with events just like yours, will already know what works and what doesn’t. So, the information they have can be absolutely crucial to listen to.
5: An Emcee Helps With Time Management
This is another role of an emcee that can make or break your event.
If you’ve ever gone to a live show, such as a comedy club or similar event, and one act took more time than they needed, you know how disappointing it can be for other great acts to get short-changed during their time. The opposite is true, too. If someone stops earlier than expected, it can lead to awkward periods where no one has an idea of what to do.
An emcee helps manage each participant’s time. They can give cues to the current participant to wrap it up, move acts around to make up for slight timing variations, and more. This keeps the show rolling and ensures everyone gets their point across as planned.
6: An Emcee Helps With Energy Management
One of the most crucial roles of the event emcee is to manage the energy in the room. This ONE ELEMENT can be the difference between having a “good” event, and having an “out-of-this-world” event.
Have you ever been to an event and there’s just no life in the room? Well, in all likelihood, it’s because the event didn’t hire an emcee (or they hired an inexperienced emcee).
Let’s dissect why it’s so important to for the emcee to manage the energy of the room.
The more energy in the room, the more engaged everyone is…
The more engaged everyone is, the more they learn…
The more they learn, the bigger the impact on their life…
The bigger the impact on their life, the more grateful they are that they attended the event.
What experienced event promoters know that other don’t, is that it all starts with ENERGY.
7: An Emcee Helps Ensures You Open and Close the Event with a Bang
Finally, we get to one of the biggest (and most obvious) reasons for you to hire an emcee...
They will open and close your event in an impactful manner.
Since talented speakers and performers can typically hold the meat of the show with just a bit of transitional guidance, that tends to be the easy part.
Getting the show started can be difficult because you need to get the audience engaged right away, or it throws off the tone for the whole event. Closing it out effectively is your last chance to leave a lasting impression, and when you don’t have a professional in charge of it, it can sour the experience even if the entire event was great.
Think of this the way… If your event is a sandwich, then the emcee is the two pieces of bread that hold all the ingredients together.
You can have the best speaker lineup in the world, but if the event isn’t started with a bang and closed in a memorable/impactful way, then the event will never reach it’s fullest potential.
ONE MORE THING
If you’re looking for an emcee or you need information about how to hire an emcee effectively, contact me today for expert guidance and personalized assistance. Let's make your event an extraordinary success together!
Before You Go
If you want to know how to be the best public speaker in virtually any room you walk into, check out the world's most complete public speaking course below.