Tips to MC a work event

I’ve been MCing a number of events at work lately, and I’ve found a few things that help me. Leading events can be a lot of fun. I’ve found them to be great experience for public speaking and involve less preparation than a presentation.

Calm nerves

  • Introduce yourself to audience members before the event, in order to have some friendly faces in the crowd.

Learn names

  • If you’re introducing speakers, talk to them beforehand. Learn how to pronounce their name, their title, and what you need to include in your introduction. Practice saying their names and intros.

Make speakers comfortable

  • Ensure speakers know the audience, who else is speaking, timing, etc. The more prepared and comfortable the speakers are, the more smoothly the event will run. Give the speakers water and beverages well beforehand.

Promote on social

  • If the event has a hashtag or is on social media, be sure to mention it.

  • If there’s a hashtag, it should be easily visible, whether on posters or on the bottom of slides.

  • Speaker Twitter handles should be visible on slides.

Know the time

  • The MC is responsible for the event running right on time. I like to make sure there is a stopwatch or timer displayed for the speakers to know how long they’re talking for. I’ve also made motions to speakers if they’re about to go over.

Make the ask

  • At the end of the event, give the audience no more than three call-to-actions, such as speaking to a recruiter or signing up for something. More than three, and the audience won’t know what to do.