If you say you are going to start the session at 1pm, try very hard to start at 1pm.
As soon as you start delaying the start time of sessions, people start to factor this into their thinking. They think they have time for just one more quick phone call, a trip to the toilet or to get another cup of tea. They’ll still be trickling in 5 to 10 minutes later. Starting promptly in the first few sessions will set the trend.
A few other things that you can do –
- Have some fun prizes or giveaways to the first people back
- Lucky door prize draw, but the person must be back in the room and seated
- A loud piece of music that is fun and encourages action
- On screen countdown Timer
- Have some People Movers
- Loud Bell or Gong
Humour is a great tool for an MC and everyone loves an MC who is funny, but not everyone is funny.
Many MC’s feel the need to try a bit hard in the humour department and the strain can show. It doesn’t always work. If you are not naturally funny it’s best to be very careful.
Researching some appropriate quotes and some interesting facts and figures could be a better approach than attempting some jokes that you’ve never told before and probably the audience has heard before anyway, especially if you found them online.
Be an interesting person, warm and cheerful and well prepared and this will work just as well.
It’s all very well thinking that most of what you will be doing in your role as a conference MC is standing up the front introducing people and making announcements, but the reality is your job is much broader than that.
Managing the the event – talking to catering, AV, Speakers, PCO, Hotel Staff, entertainers & delegates will take up a lot of your time. The sooner you understand this is a vital part of your role the better.
There are two schools of thought about delivering important information at banquets and dinners.
Do you do it early when people are focused, sober and paying attention or later in the night just before they leave?
My suggestion is always do it early and if possible repeat it later.
Info like – when the bus leaves or sessions start in the morning.
Don’t just do it at the end, some people will have left, others will simply not be paying attention.
Like a good Boy Scout always be prepared to fill in if disaster strikes.
Perhaps the CEO is late for his speech, the Keynote speaker does 20 minutes instead of 60 or there is a power failure and no equipment works.
Have your emergancy material ready.
- Have your own Keynote ready to go at a moments notice
- Have a Trivia Quiz ready
- Prepare a set of Table Topics for Discussion
- Run a quick Q & A session
- Have a collection of Puzzles for people to work onhttp://www.timothyhyde.com/puzzle.html
Expert MC Tip – Give More Value
Once you are confirmed for an assignment as MC give as much value as you can. Go beyond what is expected of you, you’ll be remembered for it. I quite often offer to interview Guest Speakers or the Conference Organiser via Phone, Skype or live and make this available on the conference website. There are many easy ways to do this.
If you’d like a quick tutorial on doing this, let me know and I’ll put one together for a future episode.