How to Be an Effective Master of Ceremonies

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Welcome your crowd like a pro.
Welcome your crowd like a pro. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The master of ceremonies, or MC, is the person responsible for acknowledging a crowd of people at events such as large dinners, charity functions and other special events. Your job is to deliver information to attendees where your energy sets the tone for the event. Your main duty is to speak, usually in public, so to be effective, you’ll need confidence.

Know your material. Go over what you’re expected to say and do with your event producer or coordinator. Get or create your own script and timeline so you keep everything in order and know how much time you have to deliver.

Speak slowly and clearly. Project your voice even when you’re using a microphone, taking the time to enunciate your words. Make your own cheat sheet for pronouncing words and names you are unfamiliar with. Sound it out with your contact to verify you’re saying things properly so you don’t make embarrassing mistakes when you have an official audience.

Acknowledge your attendees and state the cause for the event to welcome guests and make everyone feel at home. Give an overview of how things will go and what guests can expect. Introduce yourself, any special speakers, guests and programs.

Provide your own personality and voice inflections while you’re working so that guests can feel your energy beaming outwardly. Avoid rambling or nervous flailing about when there is a lag in time between the script. Use your natural energy to steer the show.

Engage your crowd and give your audience a little attention here and there. If you’re an MC at a wedding, you may want to rile up the guests to anticipate the bride and groom’s entrance or on-site activities. For a large-scale event, such as an awards benefit, you may be running an auction or announcing awards and have a little time to deviate from the script.

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