Here’s a nice article from my friends at ICMI www.icmi.com.au on the benefits of engaging a professional MC. (read ‘like me!’)

TO MC OR NOT MC

by ICMI on Tuesday, 5 March 2013

To MC or not MC? In today’s World of conference’s and events, deciding not to engage a professional M.C. can be detrimental to a successful outcome. If this sounds a little melodramatic, picture this – The conference has begun, the first speaker is speaking and you are then advised your second speaker is running 30 minutes late. What do you do? A good professional Master of Ceremonies (MC) will be able to fill this spot until the speaker arrives. Could the in-house MC do this?

Gone are the days when the company Managing Director hosted the Awards dinner or conference. Clients today spend literally tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on all aspects of conferencing and events, and it is imperative that goals are kicked in every area. MC’s today are not a luxury but a must for all conferences and events looking to impress delegates.

So you have never booked a professional MC before? Why change!

I have clients tell me “our events have always been successful in the past, why do we need to pay for a professional MC?” As one of Australia’s top corporate MC’s, Darren Isenberg says, “Just because some clients say ‘We’ve never had a professional MC before and everything went well” doesn’t mean they don’t need to consider changing. MC’s, like mobile phones, are one of those things you don’t realise how useful they are until you get one!”

So what does an MC really offer?

A good professional MC will:

  • Keep the audience engaged – Using a variety of techniques, a professional MC will ensure the audience is engaged in the program (usually ensuring they are having fun). They’ll also give the conference or event focus and they can vary the energy flow over the event.
  • Make the event meaningful – A professional MC will be able to draw links within the program, bring issues to life and can create a real learning atmosphere.
  • Maximise outcomes and investment – Conferences and events cost money, lots of money, so it is important that the outcomes are met and there is return on the investment. A good MC will assist this process.
  • Provide knowledge and experience – Finally a professional MC can assist organisers in creating a productive program or event which meets client expectations. An MC with experience will know what works.

What should you look for when booking a professional MC?

So you have decided to engage a professional M.C. for you event….Congratulations! What should you look for? A professional M.C. should:

  • Be able to demonstrate a great array of experience. If you are running a 3 day conference, has the M.C. been involved in one or more of these before and if so, what did their client say. Why not ask to speak with the client?
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of what your objectives for the event are.
  • Be clear on how their fee structure works
  • Most importantly take the headache away from you and provide a sense of security knowing that whatever happens on the day, the M.C. will be experienced enough to deal with it.

How do M.C.’s add value to your event?

Most people don’t understand that professional M.C.’s actually bring a lot more to an event other than just being there on the night. Brett Rutledge, another very popular corporate MC in Australia and New Zealand, believes that “An MC for a conference is like the pilot of 747. You don’t pay the pilot of a 747 to fly the plane as computers fly the plane. You pay the pilot of the 747 to save your arse when the computers fail!”

Brett added that “most importantly, an MC can be Independent, that is, they can say things and at times challenge the audience when an in-house person could not”.

It’s all very well to hear from MC’s, but what does a client say? Suzanne Hart, Director of Suzanne Hart Events said, “Any professional conference that wants to run smoothly and on time needs to engage a professional MC…The very good MC’s are great at ensuring the program moves along, they’re able to think on their feet and deal with unexpected situations. Finally they’re critical in linking the key elements of the program together. A consistent face at a three day conference can add enormous amount of value”. Suzanne did point out however that it is very important for the organiser to provide a detailed brief for the MC.