While having a dynamic keynote speaker or entertainment lined up is crucial for corporate events, the master of ceremonies (emcee or MC) also plays a pivotal role. As the de facto host, the emcee is the voice and face that guides attendees through the entire program. An emcee who nails this duty keeps things running smoothly and engages the audience from start to finish.

If you’ve been tasked with emceeing an upcoming corporate event like a conference, sales meeting, awards gala, or another company function, follow these tips and best practices:

Do Your Preparation Homework
Well before the event day arrives, obtain a run-of-show schedule, speaker bios, scripts for any presentations you’ll introduce, and any other important details or background information. Study this thoroughly so you are fluent on every aspect of the agenda and key players involved. Reach out to organizers to clarify anything that’s unclear. This preparation is essential for you to serve as a knowledgeable guide.

Get on the Same Page with Speakers/VIPs
Connect with the keynote speakers, executives, honorees, or other important guests and presenters ahead of time. Confirm how they wish to be introduced, what monikers or honorifics to use, and how to properly pronounce any tricky names or terms. Make sure you understand their roles and any specific remarks you’ll need to tee up. Establishing this rapport upfront enables seamless transitions.

Arrive Early and Do Technical Checks
Ensure you arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare before the event kick-off. This allows you to:
-Check in with the AV team to conduct microphone/audio tests
-Confirm lighting cues and stage instructions
-Get a feel for the room’s layout and traffic flows
-Warm up your voice in a quiet space

Exude Energy and Confidence
As the emcee, your role onstage is to act as the poised, composed “ringleader.” This means using confident body language like standing upright with your shoulders back and chin up. Speak clearly and slowly into the microphone, projecting your voice using inflections to convey energy and enthusiasm. Make eye contact by scanning the room, and smile warmly to exude an upbeat yet professional demeanor.

Guide the Journey and Control the Pace
Throughout the event, use opening lines to tee up each segment by providing context around what’s upcoming and why it’s important. Don’t be afraid of brief pauses for applause, laughs, or audience interactions. Cut off rambling speakers, make smooth transitions between sessions, and provide entertaining commentary to keep things moving ahead if there are any delays or lulls in the schedule.

By following these emcee techniques, you’ll command the room and elevate your organization’s ability to execute a professional, polished corporate affair. This makes you an invaluable asset for facilitating events that create strong first impressions and leave attendees feeling inspired and engaged.