Picture this. We walk into the event room, I and two of my friends, to hear the Master of Ceremonies (MC) welcome guests with a pitched voice that makes the microphone he was using rather redundant. “Goodness, we are going to need to visit an ear specialist!” said one of my friends, as we all giggled and took our seats.

It soon became apparent that listening to the MC was a painful experience. Not only were the screeching noises a constant irritant, but he was also off topic. We kept wondering if we were in the right room. It was not until they called out the guest speaker’s name, that we did settle in our seats. MCs can easily break or make an event. Invited guests look up to them for information, light-hearted banter and reassurances that things are going well. Admittedly, this is not an easy assignment, especially when humour clashes with the crude and inappropriate.

The local market has a variety of MCs, but getting the right one who can create memorable moments can be a challenge. But here are some useful tips. Before you choose one, get to know him/her and have a good idea of what they can do. A background check is essential, because you are placing the direction of the function/event in their hands. Remember, you are responsible for planning, but once in motion the MC CONTROLS the event.

An MC who is not articulate spells disaster! You want a memorable event; not one where guests clearly show their boredom and a desire to flee the scene. One needs to carefully brief the MC beforehand. They have to understand the purpose and different goals that are involved with the event. For instance, if it’s a fundraising, the guests need to feel good about giving money for a worthy cause. The MC has a crucial role in creating the right atmosphere. During the brief, the MC must also know the programme of activities for the event to avoid any possible embarrassments.

An event without proper guidance will inevitably be disorganised. Keep in mind the guests are always watching even when you think they aren’t. Also it’s your duty as the host to know the kind of people you are inviting. When the MC is briefed about the kind of people that are attending the event, it helps him/her achieve the necessary rapport with them.

Finally, as an event organiser, try as much as possible to make sure the MC understands your expectations of them. Above all, hire an MC who is quick on their feet, not easily shaken by the unexpected and well turned out, such that your guests can’t help looking at him/her.

About the Author: Immaculate Namanda

Immaculate has a solid grounding in account management. She knows the market, with skills in strategic positioning, media and client relations together with project coordination and management. Prior to joining WMC Africa, she headed media relations, brand positioning, strategic writing, CSI initiatives and events management at the Alam Group.

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