A lot of people dream about getting work as an Emcee or Professional Master of Ceremonies.
And it certainly sounds like a dream Job … Fancy Hotels, Exotic Locations and travelling in the pointy end of the plane. But is there a simple roadmap to get you there? A Fast track approach?
In this article we outline 7 Steps that anyone can do, to get work as an Emcee.
(Note – In this article we sometimes switch between the usage of the terms Emcee, MC & Master of Ceremony. They all really mean the same thing.)
Firstly, what do I know about getting work as an Encee?
I’ve been a professional Master of Ceremonies / MC for over 25 years. My work has mainly been focused in the corporate sphere, though I have also done my share of festivals and community events. Over the years I’ve run large corporate events all over the globe and yes some of them were in exotic locations. A resort on the beach at Waikiki Hawaii, in exotic Cambodia, bustling Hong Kong, under Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa and in various incredible New Zealand and Australian venues. I’ve met and introduced Prime Ministers, famous Sports Men, Celebrities and Authors.
It is hard work, both the job itself and the marketing in getting to that point. For beginners it can be a somewhat lengthy and frustrating process, but I think these 7 Tips and proven Strategies will help you forge ahead in getting work as an Emcee.
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 1 Get On Stage
A large part of the learning process about being an Emcee can only be learnt live on stage. Like learning to ride a bike you have to be on it to get better. So for beginners you must start getting onstage. The sooner you start doing this the better.
But how? I always suggest you start by looking at any groups you belong to that need MC’s for their meetings and events. These might be community, interest group, sports, political or religious groups. And the quickest way to get really involved in them is by then joining the committee or leadership team. Stick your hand up, put the chairs out and tidy up, you’ll soon get noticed and opportunities will present themselves.
If you aren’t involved in any groups like this perhaps it’s time to consider it. I really honed my skills as an MC by taking on the role of Membership Officer for the National Speakers Association for 3 years. I would do a quick spot at each monthly meeting, soon got noticed and was then asked to do a few MC roles as well. My business took off from there.
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 2 Your Resource Book
One of the most vital yet easiest steps is next. Starting to compile your MC Resource Book. This is a book where you start collecting – stories, jokes, phrases, activities, quotes etc that you hear, read or see. These are the bits that you can then slot into your MC work for years to come. You can add Introductions and different ways to say Thank You. It is going to take a while before it starts to grow large enough to be really useful but trust me, it is worth it’s weight in gold when it does.
How you keep it is up to you. I always have some sort of idea capture device or notebook with me at all times, so I tend to keep a file on my computer and then update it from my notebook every month. I print out the main Resource Book with me once a year and take it with me to assignments and can refer to it there and also keep notes in it about how things went. Also when you have an MC assignment coming up, you can flick through the book and see which things are appropriate.
Note – If you would like to cut 25 years time off collecting ideas for your own book, why not download a copy of ours? Resource Book Details Here
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 3 Research
Once strategy 1 & 2 is under way, you can start more research about the skill of being an MC and the market itself. Learning the art of MC work is an ongoing process. Even after 25 years I still buy and read every book that comes out on the topic, subscribe to many newsletters and watch various Master of Ceremony You Tube videos each week. Our MC Resources page lists some of the most popular ones that I highly recommend.
The other area of research you should undertake is to scope out other Emcee’s working in your city. This is going to give you a good idea of where people are working and how they are positioning themselves. Spend some time with your search engine. Another approach is to get involved with our LinkedIn or Facebook group. Check out some of the profiles there and see how others are doing it.
Note – Please don’t copy chunks of peoples promotional material or web copy! Just because they seem to work in a different city than you, it’s a really bad thing to do and you will be found out. (Working together with other MCs is an advanced strategy that I’ll explain in the Boost your MC Business article.)
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 4 Position Yourself
With so many people trying to get MC work plus the competition you’ll face from sports stars & TV celebrities for big events, now is the time to focus on a niche. I always suggest that you pick one area that you will dominate rather than be the MC that does everything.
You might for instance just focus on Weddings, or on Sports events. We have a many people in our community who just do one of those two areas. Or perhaps Corporate or Trade Shows, both very lucrative and niche fields. I always feel that a booker for a large Corporate Event is usually going to pick a specialist Corporate MC in preference to an MC who does mostly Weddings. And of course the opposite applies. Both MC’s might actually do an excellent job but the buyers perception is what counts in obtaining the booking. The sooner you pick and develop a niche the better.
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 5 Get Testimonials
The gathering of Testimonials or Social Proof as they call it now is an important next step. This is an on-going process and you should be getting at least one after each assignment you do, even the free ones. At the end of each assignment whenever anyone says anything nice to you, thank them and ask for it in writing.
Also, always follow up your contact or client a day or so after the assignment. I used to say words to the effect “as you can imagine word of mouth and referals are my best advertising. I know you are a busy person but if you could take a few moments to write down how you feel the evening went and what it was like to work with me, that would be really helpful.”
If you do this consistantly you’ll soon have a large bank of testimonials that you can use in your promotion.
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 6 Establish Presence
Once you are more focused you can then establish a presence that reflects that niche focus.
A Business Card is first priority, with a simple positioning statement and contact phone number / email. That’s really all you need to support the onstage time you are now getting from Step 1.
A web presence via LinkedIn could be next and a Facebook Business Page.
Lastly your own web page that you can refer people to. Depending how much money or time you have to invest in the project there are many ways to achieve this, from free to paid.
Note – don’t get too hung up on web pages, social media and web presence. One of Australia’s busiest corporate MC’s never had a website or promo material for many years, just a business card. Doing a great job is your best advertising!
Get Work as an Emcee – Step 7 Your Circles of Influence
By now you should have at least one or two MC assignments under your belt, even if they are for free. You’ve probably been handing out a bunch of cards and hopefully a few people have also been looking at your website. It’s now time to look to your Circles of Influence.
Your Inner Circle is your Family and Friends. Do they know about your new passion? Tell them what you are doing, explain who your ideal client is, who you would like to talk to. You’ll be surprised how many other people you can connect with in this way. What clubs, associations & institutes do they belong to? Who do they know getting married, or in sports promotion etc. Note – don’t overdo this. It’s not a Multi Level Marketing hard pressure situation. Just get them enthused as well and armed with some promo material.
Then approach your Outer Circle! Who are these people? I call them “the professionals.” Have a think about the people you pay money to on a regular basis. The plumber, your dentist, lawyer, doctor, accountant. Perhaps the guy at the Post Office or the butcher. Do the same thing with them. Tell them what you’re up to and enthuse them. They will feel a little bit obliged to help you! A lot of professionals belong to large associations related to their industry. They all have meetings, conferences and conventions. My dentist was a real networker and would often set up meetings for me with his connections.
So that’s it. 7 steps to get you headed in the right direction. Each step builds on the ones before and I guarantee if you follow each one you will make progress and get work as an Emcee. I’ll be discussing some more advanced business boosting ideas in an upcoming article .