This short article gives a clear idea of what is expected of the evenT host mc
A good MC will reassure an audience who are looking for guidance and friendly leadership. The guests want to relax and not made to work too hard - so the the MC will make it easier for them to be involved in what is happening on stage.
If there is no stage manager directing traffic behind stage, then the MC is the person responsible for making sure everyone with a job to do knows what to do and when. Because it is a live situation where anything can happen, the MC must calmly steer the program through problem areas involving different people with various levels of skill.
The MC carries out their duties with humor, flair, confidence, style, charm, and wit. In other words, to inform and entertain at the same time – not unlike simultaneously tapping your head and rubbing your tummy.
This may sound like a tall order. We don't want you to think that MCing is difficult - because it's not rocket science. But like any new task, the learning curve is steepest at the start and, like riding a bike, becomes much easier quickly.
Everything mentioned here is ‘do-able’ by anyone with a desire to see a function succeed. Competencies require no great leap of faith to accomplish. Unlike singing, the performance of an MC is not regimented by a strict tradition or clearly defined by technical proficiencies like musicianship.
In other words, there is no one single way to MC an event. It's a creative task and is driven by the individual personality of the guy or girl on stage leading the group with a microphone in their hand.
THIS IS IT IN ONE SENTENCE:
Simply understand what is expected of you, do some research, design a clear runsheet, and use good microphone technique. Too easy.
Eventually, your 'antenna' will be activated. Besides running the show to schedule, you will learn to observe and assess the changing mood of the audience, anticipate what may occur based on past experience, and ensure that it comes together without any gaps or ‘dead air.’
What skills are needed?
MCs are evolved people. They have a natural affinity and curiosity about how human beings react. They are interested in the dynamic interface between groups of people and are inquisitive enough to enjoy watching an event unfold and seeing the different relationships develop within a short space of time.
A hallmarks of a good MC is to say a lot in a few words. Brevity is welcomed by everyone; especially an audience eagerly waiting for the next segment on the program to begin.
One reason why good event hosts are highly respected by many organizations is due to their ability to be both warm and personal - while simultaneously being assertive and professional when needed.
It is important for the MC to assume the leading role without being pompous or obtrusive. Like the unbiased mediator, the best MCs are remembered for their deft control of the event, rather than the power of their personality.
MCing and public speaking share the same skillset. The difference is the ego. A speaker is supposed to be the star attraction whereas the MC makes everyone else feel like a star. The best quality an MC can have is an attitude to serve.
A good MC performs the role well by making the task look smooth and easy to do. They are able to hide all the hard work that has proceeded the event. This makes it difficult for a speaker to know how much preparation is needed to do the MC role with equal grace and charm.
A high self-esteem (aka your self-image) will give you the inner confidence to be yourself up on stage. You must believe that the person you are – the personality that you present – will be sufficiently interesting to hold an audience’s attention.
Courage comes before belief; so, take heart if you are feeling a little deficient in the self-esteem stakes. We all feel unconfident at times and doubt our own ability, but a good dose of courage (sometimes in the form of a motivating self-talk) can restore our sentiment of personal worthiness.
Trying too hard often causes failure. You must start from somewhere, so go ahead and ‘fake it till you make it’ if you must.
We do not want to give the impression that MCing is a super-human task requiring an advanced sense of humor, loads of cool confidence, a set of bright white teeth and a disc jockey’s deep voice. The terms mentioned here are only words to describe a competence in that area. These skills can be learned; no one is a born MC.
MC abilities are sharpened through time on stage aka experience. So grab every opportunity you can. However, far from being ‘thrown in the deep end,’ following these Event Host MC tips with a dose of common sense will get you off to a flying start.
MC Pete Miller comments ‘When a good MC performed the role properly, the customers enthusiastically received the artistes. The audience enjoyed the performance more because the MC had aroused their anticipation, and the performers also “rose to the occasion.” The combination of a great MC and the creative performer was a wonderful cocktail. The MC had an important responsibility to present the performers in the best possible light.’
We each have a different range of skills at our disposal, and it is an important part of being human to know which skills are our strongest. Ed Phillips, a television presenter, says, ‘If you’re good at something, a crowd won’t affect you’ (Sydney Morning Herald). This is welcome news to an MC who is aware of their best onstage assets.
Peter Holmes, a journalist writing about television game show hosts, mentions many of the attributes you would expect in an MC: ‘… there is a skill involved in hosting a game show. You need the look and the sound, but also timing, grace under pressure, and the ability to put at ease everyday folk who have never taken a pick at the [game] board’ (Sydney Morning Herald).
Furthermore, Tony Squires, host of ABC-TV’s ‘The Fat’ and channel 7’s ‘110% Tony Squires’, wonderful corporate MC and ex-television critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, remarks about legendary game show host John Burgess ‘… haven’t ever noticed Burgo, really, which is his terrific skill.’ Squires was making the salient point about all good MCs – they are not the celebrity, the show is.
It is easy to forget this fact when you have a microphone in your hand; hearing your voice over a PA can give anybody a false sense of power. What the guests do not want is an MC who is there to steal the limelight.
The ability to be in charge but remain neutral is a tremendous advantage in any situation, but is crucial for an MC. This tactfulness is like a referee at a sporting event or a judge in court – you cannot afford to show bias. If the audience sense that you are weighed too heavily in favor of any one area, you may lose their trust and attention and never be able to get it back.
Australian International cricketer and television personality the late Max Walker was well known as an archetypal MC. He has written about what it is like to be a MC in a book called Ladies & Gentlemen: tales and misadventures from the microphone.
Max likens the role of a MC to that of a cricket umpire ‘A good umpire at a cricket match always goes unnoticed. But without them being firm, fair and honest the contest would turn into a shambles.’
MC Pete Miller helps you be funnier.