I’ve been getting on Stage professionally for over 40 years, first as an Entertainer and for the last 20 years specifically as an MC and Event Host.
My work has taken me all over the world, but there are many things I had to learn the hard way. Before the Internet and YouTube made things a lot easier, we had to learn things “on the fly.”
I really wish someone would have shared these 5 Event Hosting Tips with me way back then when I was starting out! Here is our Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners
Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners Tip One
Two Questions you ABSOLUTELY must ask your Client so you can do a great job.
Now, when I say Client, it could be many different things. The client is the person who has asked you to take on the role as Event Host.
It could be your Boss, your Headmaster at School, The President of an Association or Group you belong to or perhaps it is a paid assignment.
The two questions you must ask are … WHY and WHAT!
“Why are you having this Event?” AND “What are you hoping to Achieve?”
Now it might seem obvious what the event is – A Gala Night, A Prize Giving, An Open Day, they are all fairly typical Event Hosting assignments, but understanding the real reason lets you do a far better job.
Understanding what the CLIENT perceives as a successful event is vital! If you can help your Client achieve that, then they are going to be happy.
Once you know the deeper reason for the event, you can then tweak the things that you say.
You can Frame the Message in your opening remarks, you can give appropriate “Calls To Action” etc. And you can keep your focus on the elements that you know the client is going to be most concerned about.
What you perceive as just a Gala Dinner at the end of a Conference, the Client might perceive as a great chance to reward the company’s biggest customers who are also going to be there and to build better ongoing business relations with them.
An Open Day at a Factory or Industrial Plant might be more about easing tensions in the local community over traffic and parking issues, rather than just a chance for the public to see what goes on behind the gate.
So always ask those two questions, WHY & WHAT, to give you a deeper understanding of the Event and to determine how the client will measure a “successful event.”
Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners TIP Number Two
Meet as many audience members as you can before you walk on stage!
I developed this technique many years ago when I was performing on Luxury Cruise Ships around the world.
Cruise Ship audiences can actually be quite tough going. They are often quite elderly, there are often language problems with foreign guests and frequent cruise ship passengers have seen a huge number of acts.
On one particular cruise I was scheduled to perform on a very difficult night. There was a big new musical opening on the main stage with a very well-known performer taking the lead role. I was in the smaller theatre space and knew I wouldn’t be getting much of an audience at all. I think there were about 20 people there for my show. But interestingly I had already met about 10 of them before the night. Interesting!
The next cruise I did, I set out to test the theory. I deliberately introduced myself to people around the ship in the couple of days before my show. Once again, at show time, I recognised most of those people were not only there, but were sitting near the front. I had made a connection.
So, how do we do this in the Event Hosting context?
One technique is to position yourself by the entrance as people are walking into the event or perhaps you can walk around an outside area before the event starts. Just say Hi and introduce yourself to people.
And there are many very good reasons to do this.
#1 You can direct people to sit close to the stage if there is free-form seating. This always creates a better atmosphere than if there are rows of empty seats at the front of the room.
#2 You make a few friends before you walk On Stage.
People might nudge their neighbour and say – “there’s the MC, I met him before.” Or they might have already mentioned it to their partner “I met the MC, he seems nice.”
And they will be on your side, which is always nice.
#3 If you are facing difficulties onstage, perhaps they are unresponsive or uncooperative, you can focus your attention on these people, as they will be paying attention. This is also a technique I teach for coping with Stage Nerves!
And #4 and this is a big one … you can mention them by name during your remarks from the stage.
“I was talking to a few of you earlier, John, Chris and Jane over there
and they were telling me about some of the exciting things the company is doing right now.”
Or “some of the challenges!”
This is a really strong connection point to the audience!
And you can say something like that, even if you didn’t discuss that topic with any of the people you mentioned, because each of them will assume you talked to the others about it.
This is powerful, don’t overlook it.
Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners Tip Number Three
Always do a Sound Check.
Never assume everything is set up and ready to go.
Once again there are 3 Reasons to do this …
It will check if the Microphone is On and ready to go
It will make you more comfortable
It will allow the Sound Person to adjust the Sound Level to your voice.
We have a very popular article and Video all about using Microphones and a link to that will appear below.
LINKS Article On Microphones or Video on Microphones
Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners Tip Number Four
Try and Meet ALL the Speakers, VIPs or Entertainers that you are going to Introduce BEFORE you bring them onstage.
Now this isn’t always possible but try and do it.
Again Three Reasons
# You can Check how they would like to be introduced
# You can Check how their NAME is Pronounced
# And Importantly … You can Check how long they think they have got On Stage!
You can compare this to your Notes and see if there is an Issue.
It is one of the Major Challenges for an Event Host. Keeping Events On Time
To help you, we have a very popular Video linked below all about this topic.
LINKS Keeping Speakers On Time Video
Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners TIP Number Five
Keep It Short
You Don’t need to write long winded Introductions or Openings
You Don’t need to tell funny stories
and you Don’t need to agonise over what to say.
Especially if you are a Beginner Event Host!
You’ve probably seen some great MC’s and Event Hosts over the years, telling stories and jokes and being quite at ease up there on the microphone.
You don’t need to aim for that first time. They have probably had years of practice!
I’ve seen many Beginner Event Hosts ruin their simple job by trying too hard.
Convoluted stories and introductions, inappropriate jokes or using funny props that must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
For your first few attempts … Keep it Short and Tight
And You’ll be fine.
Remember – Less is More
Event Hosting Tutorial for Beginners – In Summary
1 Ask What & Why
2 Meet as many People as you can before you get On Stage
3 Always do a Sound Check
4 Meet all your Speakers and Entertainers before you get On Stage
5 Keep It Short, especially as a Beginner Event Host