Have you been asked to MC a social or corporate event? Are you wondering if you have what it takes? Can you really be an outstanding master of ceremonies? You can find out right now. Test yourself for the following nine QUALITIES and see if you make the cut. Ready? Let’s begin.
A great MC should:
1. Have a QUESTIONING mind
Do you ask relevant questions? As soon as a professional MC is engaged for an assignment, they ask the event planner lots of questions about the venue, audience, speakers, purpose and running order. Even as the event is unfolding, they continue to enquire: Is the guest speaker ready? Who’s popping the champagne? Should we bring the launch forward because of the tight schedule? A master of ceremonies who is constantly asking questions is unlikely to be ambushed by unexpected occurrences (see point 3 below)
2. Be UNFLAPPABLE
Do you function well under pressure? Sometimes things go wrong. The microphone stops working or the guest of honor fails to turn up. Do you panic and start sweating? A great MC handles unexpected situations with quiet confidence and finds solutions to maintain the flow and energy of the event.
3. ANTICIPATE problems
Do you have a backup plan in case Plan A fails? It is great to be unflappable in the face of a crisis (see point 2 above) but you need to have thought through your next line of action so you can deal with the problem. As a master of ceremonies, sharing a humorous story to liven up a ‘dead’ moment in the program or having your notes in hard AND soft copies, just in case, are two examples of how to plan for problems.
4. Be a quick LEARNER
How fast are you in acquiring new knowledge? In one week, a professional MC may be called upon to coordinate the launch of an advertising company, chair a debate at an energy summit and host an insurance awards night. To be successful, they need to quickly become familiar with industry terminologies to communicate effectively with these different audiences. Does that sound like you?
5. Be able to IMPROVISE
Are you creative? Can you think on your feet? Improvising means using what is available to get the desired results. It means focusing on outcomes and using unconventional methods to achieve them. Like convincing wedding guests at a garden reception to use their car headlights to illuminate a dark venue when the power fails and there is no backup generator. Not an easy sell but definitely workable. If you can come up with solutions like this, you are on track.
6. Be TIME-CONSCIOUS
Do you value time? A great MC is ruthless with keeping to time. If the master of ceremonies arrived late to your wedding, would you be happy to pay their full fee or even recommend them? Successful MCs start an event on time; they agree in advance with speakers on what signals will be used to get them off the stage when the speakers have used up their allotment.
7. Be INTERESTED in the event
Are you fully engaged in whatever you do? Do you care enough? I once heard a complaint from a client about a master of ceremonies who spent his time taking phone calls when he should have been coordinating the event. Not a good sign and clear evidence that something else was more important to that person. An MC who pays attention to what is going on and leads the applause when appropriate demonstrates engagement with the event.
8. Be ELOQUENT
Are you articulate? Do you express yourself clearly? Remember, this is not about ‘big English’ or long sentences. Why say ‘That would appear to be an accurate representation of veracity’ when ‘That’s true’ would do nicely? Your aim is to communicate with meaning, not impress anyone with your verbal output.
9. Be SOCIABLE
Do you like people? And do they like you back? The work of a master of ceremonies depends on co-operation from lots of people; audiences, event planners, venue managers, security personnel, caterers, entertainment providers. Your ability to quickly form strong working relations with all these stakeholders will determine your success in the job. Being sociable is not hard. Often just smiling at your audience in a genuine way does 50% of the work for you. The quality of being sociable is the glue that will bind you to people and make every event a pleasurable experience for all parties.
That’s it. Test over. So how did you rate yourself? And if you were asked to be the MC for an event, would you do a great job? Do you have the qualities of an outstanding MC?
Let me know what you think. Please comment in the box below.