I was asked this the other day:
Question – If you had to pick one thing – What is the #1 difference that could make or break any event or party?
I have an anwer for this but I like to ask my clients the same question to get their response. Their overwheliming response:
Answer – The Master of Ceremonies.
I agree. Not just because I am one, but because on further consideration it makes a whole lot of sense.
But one thing has more impact than any other on your event: The person who hosts your event. That’s either the Master of Ceremonies (MC) or the Band Leader. This is the person who is most crucial to the overall experience of your guests and the success of your event. He sets the tone and becomes the voice and soul of your party.
You can have great music, great food, and an awesome stage and light show. The MC is the one who either brings it all together in harmony or by his actions detracts from the occasion.
It’s very difficult to get that back once the wrong tone is established. Many clients seem to already know this concept when they contact us, but it’s important for new event planners and makers to understand this point.
Like Eddie Murphy’s character in Dreamgirls singing you can “Fake Your Way to the Top”, that’s how many MCs in this industry work parties.
Of the thousands of calls we get from clients, you may be surprised to learn that nearly 70% describe an experience of DJs or MCs they’ve seen as “loud and obnoxious.” In fact that’s why they are calling us. They had a different experience seeing us or someone told them about how we do it differently.
They go on to describe how the MC “yells” through the microphone at Mitzvahs and Weddings. It’s not surprising because many MCs have learned their craft by using the microphone as a “yell-stick”. The “yell stick” refers to a hyper style of “if I raise my voice and energy enough you will have to go where I want you” kind of approach.
It’s not surprising its sort of the skill set needed for the job, and companies have interpreted that as success. So many companies train their people to bring the “Big Energy!” Either they have the old radio announcer’s hyped talk-at-you style, or a more street approach, which is often a yelling, hyping, cajoling their information and motivation into the mike.
While it does raise the level of energy and even excitement, the vocally manufactured version can be tiring and exhausting to hear. If the guests don’t believe the MC at some point they begin to tune out. Some guests may participate but others want to retreat.
I believe subconsciously everyone always feels the difference, even if they can’t tell the difference. Ultimately if it’s a forced or manufactured energy and it has the effect of potentially turning people off rather than connecting them to the event and feeling really good.
5-10% of the MCs go the other way and are lower key on the microphone. They are inoffensive but they also make very little impact on the overall heightening of an event.
This leaves 10% that are what I would describe as the great MCs. These guys/gals are present, attractive, responsive and know how to create clean and seamless segues from moment to moment or course-to-course which is the real telltale sign of a great MC.
Just as it takes a martial artist many years sometimes decades to be considered a master, it takes a true experienced artist practice, time, training, feedback and direction to be an excellent Master of Ceremonies.
It takes a big level of commitment from MCs to get to that mastery. For most guys it’s a fun job to do there’s a lot of power and control. They get to work on the weekends have fun and pick up a paycheck.
But if their commitment goes only that far they will always use what’s worked for them. For instance many MCs who may be presented with a difficult crowd may have no qualms about saying something negative on the microphone to get a better result, “You can do better than that!” if guests are not clapping hard enough or “If you’re not on the dance floor right now you’re doing the wrong thing!”
A gifted MC will always make your guests feel wonderful and never put anyone down. He may have fun with humor but only if it can create laughter and entertain the guests making them feel more at ease at your affair.
He sounds like a real human being and you believe him. He talks to your guests. He can lift the energy of the party with his voice and body when it feels right and let you feel the touching moments as it happens.
He shares real moments in honest ways. He can go out and dance with your guests; he can create a full room of dancing without even speaking.
He can get great shots for your photographer and videographer. He inspires the best in your guests without it being about him.
He coordinates with perfect ease with your caterer and produces seamless segues from one point to another.
Celebrate your life every day.
Michael Sage Schindler