Written by: Andrea Ryan, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I have sung in front of over 9000 people, across audiences all over the UK & Europe, I’ve danced in front of judges, spectators, spoke at events and was always the one to do the work, wedding and party speeches. So when my former CEO asked me to Emcee at our annual conference, I accepted without hesitation.
It's not rocket science. I'm not writing this post because there's any great science to it. I'm writing this because I had no idea what Emceeing meant! I used to watch them and think that looks easy. I can do that. Oh, how I wish I knew then, what I know now...
After 2 years of emceeing, here's what I learned;
1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Get involved in the day whether you work for the company or not. Make sure you have sight of the presentation, the format of the day, and that you are involved in collating that presentation so you can guide it and give yourself talking points throughout the day.
2. Get familiar with the AV
Arrange an early meet with the AV team on the day to do a run-through. Don’t get involved in anything else; lock yourself away. Lastly, bring in the CEO and go through the main points with them.
3. Come on to music
It’s a great way to get the crowd going and you. Purposefully insert songs whenever you are welcoming the audience, fitting with the theme for the event, the brand, choose a song that resonates with the crowd and the purpose of the day.
4. Start as you mean to go on
You’re good to go. The bright lights are shining upon you. Avoid the stage shock by opening with an icebreaker, an anecdote or a joke, then onto housekeeping (phones on silent!!!) straight into your opener. Follow this with introductions of speakers on throughout the day, which leads me onto my fifth point...
5. Get up close and personal
Don’t just read from the script. Look up the speakers before the event, find out what they look like, and meet them before the event kicks off. Talk through their bios but keep it interesting. Ask them to give you an anecdote you can offer to the audience to keep it interesting.
6. Sit at the front
Make sure you are right at the front of the stage or near the lectern. Ready to go. Also, that you have a couple of copies of notes and AV have a copy of your script, if you need one.
7. Expect the unexpected
Sometimes things don’t always go to plan. Someone is in your ear or waving at the back of the room, saying that person isn’t here yet, we need 10 more minutes. Though spontaneous, you can still prepare to some degree. Take more time to talk about a segment coming up, ask the audience thoughts on a particular topic. Worst case, bring the next segment forward or go to another speaker. Then sort the remainder of the day whilst they’re on!
8. Run Forrest run
You need someone to keep you informed of what’s happening, a runner. They need to keep you accountable for time in line with the itinerary. Someone to be at the side of the stage for any competitions you are doing and to run a mic through the audience if necessary.
9. Mingle darling
Use lunchtime to reassess and pivot for any situation that may have arisen and adjust your script. Go out mingle with the crowd. You then have some material for when you go back in after lunch, you spoke to so and so or someone said something interesting, that gives a little more variation from your script.
Usually, there is a photographer at the event. This is a prime opportunity to get some headshots and full-length shots for your portfolio. Also, don’t forget to ask for any there were taken on stage of you. These will be great for your website or socials.
It may be a while before you are asked to emcee given the current climate but, when the time is right, you’ll be good to go!
Andrea Ryan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
I'm a transformational life and business coach for women. I support women to enable their journey of self-discovery and drive change through their personal journeys. Professionally I help female entrepreneurs align their mental and emotional journey with business guidance and mentorship. I have had a 15 year executive career, heading up business and marketing strategy, brand management and leadership in the disability employment sector, sport and as an award winning business development director in a mental health Not for Profit. Spending 3 years on the Australian National Committee for UN Women as a Committee Member and as a consultant to Human Right start-ups, I am constantly seeking board and volunteer roles that offer me the opportunity to utilize my skills to give back and contribute to the wider community. Quoted in Marketing Magazine Australia as the 'Accidental Marketer', I have a flair for the creative, which fuels my passion for supporting women to step into their power, thrive in their careers and become leaders who will instigate change to make this world a better place.