Hiring a corporate host is for a conference is a great way to bring up the experience of the event participants. Many companies who host large employee gatherings or customer summits skip the professional master of ceremonies. They think by using a company executive they will save money and make their event a better “Commercial” to those in the audience. But the best live events are not commercials… they are experiences. An corporate event host can be the key to engaging people.
The Master of Ceremonies / EmCee is too often overlooked as a key to success for the event. Often celebrity speakers cost more than $25,000 for an hour. However, planning committees think the same fee level for two or three full days to for a professional corporate host is too much money. The reality is the hiring of an emcee can be the best investment.
Celebrity Speakers Might Be Overrated
Just because the economics of an event allow for famous celebrity speakers, this is not always the best use of your conference budget Every conference is different, and the decisions of who to hire to speak should always be made around “is the what is best for the participants”. Often a professional speaker who is not a sports star, politician, or Amazon Best Selling Guru can bring more value.
The investment in hiring a corporate host will vary from speaker to speaker. You want to make sure the person you select to be the EmCee of your event has experience, as the skills to be a keynote speaker and those to be the master of ceremonies are not always the same thing. The real skill of the host should be in setting the tone for the conference. A great event host will make the corporate event less boring (lets face it, all meetings have a little hint of borning). Having an experienced host who can set the tone for your event and keep the energy and the “vibe” of the event strong is often the best use of your speaker budget.
Some celebrities are not really great speakers, and many are not as prepared as you might hope. An article from the AssociationsNow blog (from 2014) has some relevant points about not making mistakes when choosing high profile people to speak at your conference.
(*Full disclaimer. I am a professional speaker and master of ceremonies who is NOT famous. Thus I see this through my own lenses. But I am not saying you should hire me…. check out this list of Recommended Professional Speakers for some ideas on people who will “WOW” your crowd and not cost more than a new BMW).
Corporate Host Becomes Part Of Your Event Committee
The best corporate host and EmCee will do more than show up and tell people how to find the bathrooms. An experienced master of ceremonies will get to know your company or association, and will understand who is in attendance. They will customize their words to match your unique event. If the event is internal, they will help you facilitate team building activities. If it is a customer / users conference they will make your company look great, without being from the sales department. The corporate host is there to put the best face forward.
If your corporate host should be easy to work with and bring fresh ideas to the table. You want your committee to “Try New Things”, but too often new seems scary, and there is a lot riding on your annual conference. A master of ceremonies who has hosted several events will have a healthy dose of ideas they have seen gone well at other conferences. Many meeting planners and committee members only see a few events a year. As a speaker and MC I seen nearly 1000 meetings. The ability to brainstorm with the planning committee is the added value you get from working with speakers and hosts who are working often.
Finding A Corporate Host
The best way to find an experienced corporate host / master of ceremonies is to ask the professional speakers who your hire to speak at your event. If you are using professional speakers who are presenting often, they get to see it all. They have seen armatures serving in this role who blow the introduction more times than they can count. Thus when they work with an EmCee who brings good energy and makes the conference thrive, they remember.
Another way is to ask other companies and associations who they have used multiple times. While few companies want the same keynote for back to back conferences, it is common for corporate host to come back for several years. A few strategic inquires and you will find there is a short list of professionals who are doing the work in this role.
Contact Thom Singer For Your Corporate Host Needs
Thank you for reading my blog and visiting my website. I have been working as corporate speaker and master of ceremonies / EmCee for over ten years. I created the “Conference Catalyst” program to help make meetings better. As your corporate host I bring energy, fun, and content that helps people network better at your event.
While some MCs are jugglers, magicians, or professional comics, I am a seasoned business executive who made the move to speaking in 2009. I am fun, but not silly. I am playful, but not goofy. My humor is real, but I am not a touring comedian. I bring upfront preparation combined with on-site spontaneity.
And in a world crowded with millenials and baby boomers, my generational experience is from the GenX middle.
When we work together I will do all I can to make your conference the best event ever.