If you’re planning a conference, wedding, awards ceremony or other big event, you’ll likely need someone to act as the host or emcee to keep things running smoothly. But what exactly do you call this role? The title used can vary based on the type of event and the specific responsibilities. Here’s a look at some of the common names for event hosts and the duties they typically handle.

Master of Ceremonies (Emcee or MC)
This is one of the most widely used terms for an event host, especially for more formal affairs like fundraising galas, award shows, and conventions. The master of ceremonies acts as a sort of “ringleader” who opens the event with remarks, introduces speakers/presenters, provides transitions between segments, and keeps the agenda moving along its schedule. Emcees may also need to ad-lib, make announcements, or entertain the crowd during lulls with humor, anecdotes or audience engagement.

Event Host
For more casual gatherings like parties, networking mixers or product launches, the person presiding over the festivities may simply be called the “event host.” In addition to duties like welcoming guests and delivering opening/closing comments, event hosts often mingle with attendees, facilitate activities like icebreakers or games, and ensure guests are taken care of from a hospitality standpoint.

At panel discussions, Q&A sessions or debates, the emcee tasked with guiding the dialogue and keeping the conversation on track will often have the title of moderator. They introduce panelists, ask questions, enforce time limits for responses, and may also field audience inquiries. Moderators have to be skilled at managing group dynamics.

Presenters and keynote speakers can also often act as de facto hosts when delivering longer stretches of remarks or multimedia presentations on the main stage of larger-scale events like conferences. In addition to their speech or keynote content, presenters are responsible for keeping the audience engaged throughout the presentation segment.

During more intimate gatherings like small meetings, workshops or retreats, an event host might be called a facilitator. They ensure productive discussion flows, participants stay focused on the agenda, and skilled facilitation techniques like brainstorming or idea clustering are properly utilized.

For sporting events, competitions or ceremonies with a parade of speakers, the individual introducing each act, speaker or honoree is typically referred to as the announcer. These hosts have voices with strong projection and diction as their main role is clearly delivering names, titles and background information over a mic or PA system.

No matter what specific title an event host goes by, their ultimate role is to act as the face or voice representing the event. They are responsible for keeping activities running on schedule, providing clarity and direction, and creating a cohesive, professionally executed experience for all attendees and participants.