Five top master of ceremonies tips

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Essential MC tips

There are so many master of ceremonies tips that I could give you that it is hard to know which ones you will most need.

However, here is a random sample of our master of ceremonies tips. I have ensured they cover a range of topics about the duties of an MC as well as including tips on master of ceremonies speeches.

This will certainly give you an idea as to how much there is for you to know in order to carry out the duties of an MC successfully.

If you don't find everything you are looking for here, we have over 110 pages of master of ceremonies tips for you in the MC e-book.

May you benefit from these tips and be brilliant!

Master of ceremonies tip 1: Be relevant

My first tip is that you must be relevant as the master of ceremonies.

For example, there was the time I was the keynote speaker at a very formal corporate conference. The Master of Ceremonies had taken a copy of my brochure, and rather than concentrating on my business experience or my qualifications, he just talked about how impressed he was that I had been happily married for such a long time. It was totally irrelevant to the occasion. How could a master of ceremonies be so bad? I was talking about presentation skills not marriage guidance.

I was so embarrassed and the audience was totally disinterested. It made it much harder for me to start speaking as he had put off my audience.

Thus, my first master of ceremonies tip is to be relevant and in tune with the needs of the audience.

Master of ceremonies tip 2: Don't bore the audience

Many times I've sat through master of ceremonies speeches that have been simply boring, boring, boring. They have been so bad they have killed off any enthusiasm the audience had for the speaker or guest who followed them. That is not what the master of ceremonies is meant to do!

My heart has sunk many times as I have watched the master of ceremonies bore everyone before I speak. I've been left to walk out on stage and work twice as hard, as the keynote speaker, to pick up the energy.

The master of ceremonies is meant to help speakers not make it harder! On one occasion the audience was so bored they started leaving before my speech.

In summary, my second master of ceremonies tip is to keep the audience onside and awake!

Master of ceremonies tip 3: Vary what you do

Variety is important for a master of ceremonies.

For example, when you want people to applaud, whether at a wedding, a conference, seminar or birthday celebration, you can invite applause in many ways.

The master of ceremonies needs to find different ways of saying "Please clap!".

Here are four possible ways of saying it. Firstly, "Let's show our appreciation'". Secondly, "Please join with me". Thirdly, "How wonderful to have all of you with us on this special occasion", (and you start clapping without saying please clap. Finally, "Put your hands together for".

My third master of ceremonies tip is to vary the way you say things so you are not repetitive.

Master of ceremonies tip 4: Keep people to time

This master of ceremonies tip is a big one. As the master of ceremonies please keep people to time.

The way that you do this matters. It doesn't need to be subtle or sophisticated it needs to be clear and easy to follow.

In my experience, subtle cues can be very confusing for a speaker who is trying to engage an audience and remember a speech at the same time. Speakers can't divert their attention from the audience or their speech notes onto the master of ceremonies. That would break the flow.

As the master of ceremonies you need to understand what it is like to be the conference speaker, or the seminar presenter or the person giving the wedding speech. The master of ceremonies is there to support the other presenters not confuse them!

Once when I was the keynote speaker at a conference of 500+ I had the master of ceremonies try to attract my attention from the far left side of the auditorium. I didn't know she was trying to signal to me, nor to tell me that I only had 5 minutes to go. For all I knew she was working on another aspect of her MC duties and getting people to bring up the awards for the next section. I ignored her. In order to pay the master of ceremonies more attention I needed to completely stop speaking and turn away from the audience to find out what she meant.

When you are the master of ceremonies agree beforehand how timing will be managed, so the speaker knows what signs to look out for and what they mean. Being a master of ceremonies isn't easy - well being a brilliant one anyway!

My fourth master of ceremonies tip is to keep everyone to time by having a clear timing system.

Master of ceremonies tip 5: Dress up

This master of ceremonies tip concerns what you wear. It may be obvious to you, but for some it isn't. Don't risk being dressed too casually, dress up rather than down, if it isn't obvious what to wear.

For example, when I was the regular master of ceremonies at a folk music club, I dressed as an average but smart audience member, so they felt I was one of them. I was still smart. This is what is important, that you dress in a way that the audience can relate to but you stay smart as the master of ceremonies.

I choose what I wear very carefully for any event I am speaking at whether as a master of ceremonies or the keynote speaker. If I am in any doubt as to what to wear I always dress more formally then I may need to. I then make sure that I have layers of clothes on, so if, for example, I am wearing a serious jacket and I find that nobody is wearing their jackets, then I can take my jacket off and look less formal in a top.

I often also carry spare clothes in my car. Thus, if I am the master of ceremonies at a conference and I find all my corporate clients are dressed in jeans and T-shirts I'll often have in my car a very smart pair of jeans into which I can change, if I need to.

My fifth master of ceremonies tip is to take care with what you wear, and risk being too formal and smart rather than too casual and tatty. Above all dress in a way that the audience can identify with.

There is a great deal for you to know as the master of ceremonies and there are many more master of ceremonies tips for you to learn. I recommend you read the MC e-book "The beginners guide to being a brilliant MC" to get a more comprehensive range of master of ceremonies tips, so you can be an excellent master of ceremonies and make your event special.