The Master of Ceremony Speech

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The importance of knowing your audience

Are you going to be a master of ceremony and give a speech? If so, there are some important rules that you need to follow.

Of course, your master of ceremony speech will vary according to the situation in which you are speaking. The master of ceremony speech for a wedding will be quite different from the master of ceremony speech for a seminar or conference. However, there is a key principle that applies across all those events.

The master of ceremony speech must be relevant

One of the most important aspects to focus on in your master of ceremony speech is relevance. Whatever you say must be relevant to your audience.

If your master of ceremony speech is to wedding guests your focus will be upon the bride and groom, love, marriage, and the families involved, for instance.

In contrast, if you're giving a master of ceremony speech for a conference you will focus upon the company, the professions involved, or the product being launched.

Whatever the focus of your master of ceremony speech it must be relevant.

I remember going to one conference where the master of ceremony speech was irrelevant. It was entertaining and it was funny but it had nothing to do with the audience, at all. In fact, I suspected that the MC didn't even know who he was talking to and had not researched his audience.

The problem with being irrelevant in a master of ceremony speech is that the audience switches off. When you are presenting the last thing you want is an audience that is tuned out and falling asleep. It can cause you to die on stage!

Master of ceremony speech for a conference

When you are giving a master of ceremony speech for a conference often you are facing a large audience. The content of your master of ceremony speech may therefore be different from that of a smaller audience, as there are far more people to take into consideration.

My tip, therefore, for a master of ceremony speech for a conference is for you to find something that all members of the audience have in common.

I was once the master of ceremony for a conference of 900 people. I found that the audience predominantly had the same religion in common. Therefore, in the small speeches that I gave between the main speeches, I made sure that I had found some funny stories and comments that were relevant to their religion. They went down very well, much to my relief!

Master of ceremony speech to unite the audience

Obviously the audience has the conference in common but there may be more than that. They may all come from a particular profession, or from a particular country, or from the same socio-economic standing, or from a particular university or even a religion.

They may have in common something such as their love of dogs, or the same football team, or they're all concerned about the environment or gun laws.

When you are giving a master of ceremony speech for a conference it is this that you may focus upon in your speech so that you help to unite the audience. Your MC jokes, if you have them, may also focus upon this common audience theme.

Integrate references to this commonality into your speech or into an audience activity. For example, you might encourage audience participation by saying, "Put your hands up if you are a dog lover ...", or "If you have travelled from New South Wales today", or whatever the common theme is.

Master of ceremony speech for a seminar

If you are giving a master of ceremony speech for a seminar the main difference between that and giving a master of ceremony speech for a conference can be the numbers in the audience. I have spoken at many seminars and they are often much smaller and have a more intimate group of say 40 or 50 people.

What this means is that in your master of ceremony speech you can pick out more members of the audience to refer to or cover a greater number of themes that bring the audience into your speech.

For example, your speech might acknowledge seven different groups in the seminar audience. They may have come from seven different towns and you acknowledge this. Or they may represent different professions or trades or have different levels of experience or knowledge.

How would it sound? You may something like this, "A big warm welcome to all of you who have driven here from Augusta, and to those of you who've flown from Melbourne, Broken Hill, Brisbane, Darwin and Albany. I hope you had a great journey and are ready to have a dazzling time at the seminar."

What is important for your master of ceremony speech for a seminar is that you research the audience.

There is a lot more to say on this topic, but I can't include everything about being a master of ceremony at a seminar in such a short article. The good news is, there are lots more ideas on what to say in a master of ceremony speech and in your introductions and thank yous, in our e-book on being a brilliant master of ceremony. I recommend you read that next.