How to MC an Event

You were asked to be the Master of Ceremonies (MC) of an event.  When you agreed to do it, it seemed like an easy task all you need to do is to introduce a speaker or two, tell some good jokes and thank everyone for coming.  Piece of cake, right?   Not so fast … there are several considerations before you reach for the microphone.

These are some pointers to help you get started and perform without a hitch.

Start by doing some research:

  • What is the date, time and location?
  • What is the nature or theme of the event?  Ie: retirement, wedding, 25th anniversary celebration
  • Who will be in the audience?
  • Who will you introduce?
  • Are there any sensitive topics that you should avoid?
  • Will there be entertainment during the event?
  • Speak to the people who you will be working with and develop rapport.
  • When preparing the introduction of each speaker or act:
    • Request a bio or backgrounder
    • Take the audience into his/her world
    • Intrigue the audience by the speaker’s topic
    • Impress the audience with their accomplishments

You have done the research, now it is time to work on the flow.

  • Practice what you will be saying in advance of the event, but most importantly, practice the flow.
  • Write down what you will say and do.
  • Practice, practice and practice some more, including a walkthrough of the event Ie:  walk up to the podium, set your notes down,  look at the audience and count 1-2-3, introduce the first speaker, shake their hand (if appropriate), thank the speaker, and so forth.


  • Start by introducing yourself and how you fit in with the event.  Ie:  best man of the wedding party, manager of the employee who is retiring, or Chairperson of the conference
  • Give your opening remarks, provide some humor related to the event or a funny story and develop a connection with the audience.
  • Reference your notes and do not rely only on your memory.  The brain is a wonderful thing.  It starts to work the moment we are born and stops when we are in front of an audience!
  • During each introduction, strive to make a connection with each speaker or act.
  • Lead the applause.
  • Shake their hand (if appropriate) and lead them to where they will be speaking.
  • If they are going overtime, spin your finger in the air as an indication to keep it moving.
  • Think about what you are going to say and do next.  Always plan the next step and what action you will be taking.  By knowing what each person or act will be doing, you will not be blindsided.
  • Keep the event flowing smoothly.
  • If something happens that was not in the plan – just go with the flow, maybe make a joke out of it and keep the agenda moving.
  • Add practiced good natured humor and entertainment.

After the speaker(s) are finished

  • Lead the applause.
  • Thank them and present them with a gift (if appropriate).
  • Direct them in the general direction of the stage exit.


  • Wrap up the event by mentioning some of the highlights.
  • Thank the event organizers, volunteers and anyone else who was in attendance or took on a role.
  • Sit back, relax and reflect on what went well and how to strengthen the next one.

A few tips:

  • The MC is not the main act – but a conduit between the audience and main reason for the event.
  • The MC’s main role is to keep the flow of the meeting going smoothly and entertaining the audience.
  • Add some good-natured humor.  It is best if you are the subject of your own jokes – rather than someone else.
  • Only tell a joke if you would say it in Church to your Grandmother.
  • Start and end on time!
  • Dress appropriately for the event. 
  • Absolutely no alcoholic drinks.
  • Have fun!

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