March 27, 2019

6 Great Traits to Look for When Hiring an Event Emcee

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Have you ever needed to hire an emcee and not known what to look for? Have you instantly broken out into a cold sweat in the realization the choice you make could make or break your event?

At that very moment, you might think to yourself:

  • I’m not an emcee nor do I want to be.
  • I have no clue what an emcee does.
  • I’m not even sure how an emcee should act.

There are probably some other choice thoughts in your mind at that point as well but, I will let you sort those out on your own. 🤣

Stress less!

In this article, I’m going to show you exactly what to look for when choosing a great event emcee for your next conference or business event.

A conference emcee must be a servant.

Let’s start with an important mindset that should be embraced by every great emcee.

The mindset of a servant.

George B. Thomas Emcee

When looking for a great event emcee, make sure they focus on the fact that they are there to serve the audience, to serve the event planner (that might be yourself), to serve the speakers, the production staff, and anyone else that is part of the event.

It also leans into a state of no ego but, I will talk about that in a bit.

Pro tip: An emcee with an ego spells disaster!

You see, being a servant means your emcee will be helpful, they will be caring, and yes, if you are really lucky, they are humble as well. I will talk deeper about all of those traits later in this article. But, the bottom line, is you want someone who is easy to work with!

Being a servant means at a moments notice your emcee is ready to work. They are ready to make others comfortable. They are ready to give of themselves for the betterment of the other humans around them.

If your emcee is missing this, they may come off as someone who is being loud, egotistical and self-serving from the stage. Nobody wants that. To be frank, having an emcee like that ca ruin your event for years to come!

A conference emcee must be human.

What does that even mean?

The emcee you choose needs to be approachable. You will want them to mingle with your audience as they enter the room.

Emcee must be human


George & Dexter at #SMMW19

You will want them to roam the halls as part of “the tribe” that is attending the event.

You will want them to listen and engage in high level and intimate talks with audience members when they present themselves.

What you don’t want is to have them just be seen on stage and them magically disappear never to be seen again. The emcee you choose needs to spend less time in their room or backstage and more time with what matters, the people.

If your emcee is with them they become part of “them”. If the emcee becomes part of them, they let the emcee into their tribe. If your emcee is part of their tribe, they want your emcee to be successful.

You do want your emcee and your event to be successful, don’t you?

When I’m talking to most people and they ask me what I mean by being the most human possible, I simply say… Don’t be a douchebag. People laugh, but they get it.

A conference emcee must be helpful.

For the emcee to be great they need to be helpful. To be helpful, they need to know their stuff.

Make sure you have pre-event meetings with the emcee and staff to allow them to know everything of importance. Make sure they know the schedule, the special events, the right people, the hashtag, the rules. Everything!

In other words, for the length of the event, the emcee needs to be an expert on the event itself. If you want your emcee to take this one to the next level, ask your emcee if they can become or equip them with information that makes them an expert on the surrounding town as well.

Help them know where some great restaurants are, the perfect cup of coffee, the best transit options, and more.

Remember above, I said to be a servant?

Servants know a lot about how to take care of the needs of those they are helping. Is the emcee you are thinking of hiring willing to go the extra mile?

A conference emcee must be caring/empathetic.

The emcee you hire can never look at someone like they just asked a stupid question.

They can never be tired and or sidestep an opportunity to help a speaker, audience member, or fo course you!

They have to care deeply about the event, about the people, about the brand you are building right in front of thousands of people.

The emcee has to think from the perspective of the audience and or the speakers.

  • It might be their first time in the country.
  • Maybe it’s their first time in that state or city.
  • It might be their first event or even the first time to this event.
  • It might be their first time on a stage that big.

While you and your emcee might be an old hat at traveling, setting up event agendas, navigating around thousands of other humans.

Others are not. A great emcee acts like a pro but thinks like a beginner.

The event emcee needs to have the ability to put themselves in “the audience” shoes/mindset.

They need to navigate with empathy and caring making sure everyone around them is have a great experience.

A conference emcee must be humble.

Do I really need to say this? Yep sure do.

Humility is an ultimate strength of any great event emcee. It’s making others feel strong because they are. It is being strong in yourself because you are. It’s focused less on self and more on others.

Frankly, to be a servant, to be caring and empathetic, the emcee has to have humility nailed down.

Maybe Webster says it best.

Being humble is having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.

When your emcee has the ability to make others feel more important, they get intoxicated with their own greatness and associate that feeling with being part of the event.

A conference emcee must be joyful.

Don’t get me wrong, a conference emcee or master of ceremonies can be happy. But, that is the lowest bar in my honest opinion.

What trumps happiness? Joy!

Being happy runs out over time. It is easy to fall into normal from a state of happiness.

You don’t want a normal emcee at your event! You want a great one.

Joy or being joyful is a state of being that just is and is everlasting over time.

When the emcee has tapped into their joy it is because they are leading with love.

Love for the audience, love of what they are doing, love of serving, love of being an amazing emcee in the moment.

A good measurement of knowing if joy is winning in your emcee and audience experience is by listening to what people are saying. Listen for words or statements like:

  • He or she is like a lighthouse.
  • The emcee’s light shine bright!
  • He or she made me smile and I don’t know why.

Pro tip: Pay attention to social channels for these and other phrases about your emcee and other speakers. With an emcee, you have time to course correct if things are not happening just the way you like.

If you hear statements like these, it means that your audience is tapping into the emcee’s source of joy and filling their own cups without even knowing it’s happening.

Are there other things that make a great event emcee? Yes!

But, these traits are the foundational pieces, the twenty percent if you will that will take you from breaking out in cold sweats to hiring an amazing emcee for your next event.

If you need more help with finding a great emcee, you can always hit me up on social or email.

I love to answer questions and help humans be and do the best they can!

Also, if you need to hire a great emcee, you could head over to my event emcee page and see if I’m a fit for your upcoming event.

Either way, now you know the traits that any great event emcee should have and what traits you should be looking for as you think about hiring them.

Good luck, and may your event be the most amazing event ever!

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