Briefing Your Master of Ceremonies

Your company conference, office party, or any other business function is not only a costly affair in terms of outlay, but a huge logistical task requiring months of planning. Whether it’s a showcase for your clients or a treat for your staff, it remains a massive PR exercise that could impact your business in many ways in the future.

Why on earth would you then take a short cut on the one person who can make or break your event – the Master of Ceremonies?

Guidelines on how to brief your Master of Ceremonies

If you’ve succeeded in selecting the right MC for your function and he or she has been properly briefed, you can relax, let your hair down and enjoy the evening too, along with everyone else. The more professional your MC, the more likely he or she will insist on a proper briefing, preferably a week or so prior to the event (30 minutes before is hopelessly inadequate!). The following checklist will give your MC peace of mind, and ensure that he/she does not feel inclined to give you a piece of his/her mind:

  • Is there access to the venue in advance? If so, when?
  • Is there a sound system, and where will the audio speakers be positioned?
  • Will there be a lapel microphone, headset or hand held (if hand held, is there a stand)?
  • Will a lectern (with a light) be provided?
  • What other entertainment has been laid on for the evening (a band, DJ, dancers, video clips, fire-eaters, magicians, flying elephants…) who are they? What will they be doing. What should the MC know about them in advance?
  • Who are the speakers, why are they speaking and for how long? (some information that the MC can use in his introductions is very important)
  • An itinerary of scheduled times (It is the MC’s job to use his discretion and not be too rigid – so the itinerary serves as a guideline)
  • The profile of the audience (for example percentage of overseas guests. If so from which countries?)
  • If it is a company event, as much relevant information relating to the company’s business including their website address.
  • Logistical information – or failing this, the name and contact details of the person responsible for the venue and/or catering on the day/night.

If you decide on a celebrity MC, which is a popular trend, find out how experienced that celebrity is at MC work. You may wish to interview some of his/her past clients. You want someone who puts your event well ahead of their ego.

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