5 Characteristics of a Great Emcee

January 23, 2023 Mario Stewart

When you plan a New York event, you have to coordinate and wrangle all the best vendors to make it spectacular. And if your event requires an emcee, you have a particularly challenging job finding the best-fit candidate. Corporate events, conferences, product launches, company meetings, fundraising events, galas, celebrations, holiday parties, and private social gatherings all need an emcee. You want someone who can entertain and command attention. But you’ll also need someone who can grab the mic and be seamless under any circumstances when directing the flow of attendees, announcing dinner, or presenting awards. Before you make any official decisions to just have anyone stand in, look for these key characteristics and traits of an amazing master of ceremonies or emcees.

1. Experience Matters Most

Even if your event is casual in nature, with just friends and family, don’t bring in any emcee who doesn’t have stage or presentation experience. A poorly prepared or inexperienced announcer can tank the mood of a crowd in a hurry. And you can’t afford to have just anyone try their hand at presenting. Instead, interview emcee candidates thoroughly and ask about the types of events they’ve chaperoned in the past. Only select those who have brilliant personalities and experience hosting events just like yours.

2. Public Speaking Mastery

Inquire, too, about experiences with public speaking. A few success stories as an emcee aren’t enough to be dazzling to the crowd. You’ll need someone who understands the value of body language, eye contact, and voice fluctuation. Look for witty personalities who have warm and friendly demeanors naturally. Public speaking, whether off the cuff or from a prompter, requires a certain finesse.

3. Dynamic and Flexible

If there’s one thing event planners can count on, it’s that something won’t go as planned. And while you might be ready to tackle whatever obstacle comes your way, you’ll need an emcee who can be just as dynamic. Yes, scripts and outlines for the event flow are necessary. But you’ll need someone taking the lead when needed, outside of those initial plans. Have someone who won’t panic if the AV equipment goes down. Work with someone who can keep the crowd engaged and distracted if dinner’s running late. Flexibility is a major characteristic of a great emcee. And improv should be second nature.

4. Thorough Researcher

That being said (flexibility, that is,) don’t hire an emcee who comes unprepared. Yes, a little flying by the seat of your pants is important. But showing up to the big day without knowledge and understanding of the event, the company, the audience, or the goals is doomed for failure and, at best, mediocrity. Hire the emcee who shows up fully prepared to dominate the microphone.

5. Brings the Energy

Speaking in public is one thing. Reading from a script is one thing. But energizing a crowd - that takes a special kind of personality. Don’t inspire yawns in the audience. And don’t expect a professional delivery to elevate the atmosphere. When you’re vetting emcee candidates, ask if they have footage of past events they’ve hosted and look for the energy level.

Look for these characteristics with every emcee you bring to your events. And speaking of events now’s the time to get in on the trade show floor at The Event Planner Expo 2023! Learn more about exhibitor space at the #1 events industry conference of the year!

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