How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies

How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies


Event hosting or emceeing is a glamorous profession to have. You will get to meet people and attend events, and most importantly gather experiences that you wouldn’t get in any other profession. But even just as a skill, being a good event host comes in handy in almost any field. As an entrepreneur, you might have to pitch to your investors in an event, as a musician, you might conduct personal gigs, the list goes on and on.

Like all things, emceeing is easier said than done. Being in the spotlight and radiating confidence is not always easy, and you have to have enough practice as well as the propensity for the stage. Well, in this article, we will discuss some of the ways you can gather those skills and hopefully, become a better event host.

The beginning: Starting the event

Most emcees, even professional ones, have difficulty getting the game going. The introduction to an event is very important, and just as hard to tackle. You will have to grab the audience’s attention, show yourself in a positive light, and at the same time, introduce the point of the event itself to your audience.

Sound intimidating? I get you, but trust me, by the end of this, you will feel much more confident in your abilities. To get you started, here are some lines you can refer to during the introduction.

There are a bunch of ways, depending on the kind of event, that you can start hosting. This is largely dependent on the event of course, but here are some of the common ways that work.

1. Start with a joke

How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies

            This is the classic icebreaker. You can crack a joke right at the beginning of an event, without any introduction whatsoever, and then move on to introducing yourself and the event. Here are some things you should keep in mind being event host:

  1. Remember to craft your joke as per your audience. You can’t joke about a 60s film at a hip-hop festival!
  2. The joke should be short and sweet, you don’t want to keep the audience waiting.
  3. The punch line should require minimum thinking, try to make the joke as general as possible.

2. Start with a conversation

How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies

This way is relevant if you are hosting an event with someone else. You can meld this with a joke too and lighten the mood at the same time.

  1. Make lighthearted and preferably funny conversation
  2. Make sure that it sounds natural, practice ahead with your partner (or not!)
  3. It should be relevant to the event or at least blend into the introduction of the event.

3. Start with an anecdote

How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies

A personal story can also be an amazing way to get started. You can hook your audience with an interesting anecdote before moving on with the introduction.

  1. Keep the anecdote as short as humanly possible
  2. Make sure to tie it to the event
  3. It should be preferably funny and light-hearted.

4. Start the old-fashioned way

This is relevant in more formal events, maybe a business meeting or an investment pitch. You start with a greeting and introduce the event right away. Some audience what you to cut through the bullshit and get to the chase, this is for those events.

  1. Start with a power word and move on to the address. (“Wow, what an amazing audience we have here, Good evening and……)
  2. Don’t forget to address the audience early on.
  3. Again, you need to seem natural.

Introductions, address, and Opening lines

5. Example address/ introductory lines

If you are starting the old-fashioned way, you can skip right to these introduction lines. Otherwise, they usually come after the starting conversation, joke, or anecdote. You should be careful to craft your beginning in a way that it melds into these opening lines.

I have included templates here, but don’t think that you are restricted to these, let your creativity shine through!

  1. <Energetic> “A big hello to everyone here.” <pause> “What a wonderful group of audience we have here on …………”
  2. “A very good morning to all you beautiful people gathered here on …………”
  3. “Ladies & Gentlemen, <emphasis> welcome! This is the ………”
  4. <Conversation with partner> “{Partner host name} ladies and gentlemen, what a man/ woman. Welcome to ………”

Notice that all of these lines use superlatives are short and full of energy. When you craft your own lines, be sure to keep in mind these three aspects of a good introduction.

6. Introducing yourself

How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies

To introduce yourself, you have to cherry-pick the aspects of you that are relevant to the event. A host introduction can be done in one line:

  1. “I am………and I will be your host for this event.”
  2. “My name is ……… and I am honored to walk you through today’s event”

Or if you are with a partner, you can take turns introducing each other instead. This will sound much more natural and should be preferred. AS with the previous section, A template for this can be

  1. <Conversation with partner> “{Partner host name} ladies and gentlemen, what a man/ woman. Welcome to ……… I am ………, and we are here to take you through ……….”
  2. “I am ……… and I am joined today by {Partner’s name}. We are here to ……… “

7. Introducing the event

After you have started with the event, you can go straight on to introducing the event. And the introduction of the event should answer the following questions

  1. What is the event about?
  2. What is the significance of the event?
  3. What will be covered in the event?
  4. What should the audience expect to get out of the event?

The introduction to your event should answer all these questions. Obviously, this does not mean you just list out the answer to these events. But your introduction should provide a comprehensive glance at the event, and keeping these questions while crafting the introduction will help.

The body: Introducing speakers and grabbing your audience’s attention

The body will mostly consist of event subjects like speakers, performers, or even a presentation. As a host, it is your responsibility to properly introduce all the subjects of the event in a way that the audience will get an idea of what’s happening. At the same time, you need to keep the event interesting so that the audience is well entertained.

8. Introducing speakers/ performers

How you can be a better event host: 14 emcee strategies

Speakers in an event often forget to introduce themselves properly. You as a host, however, should be the bridge between them and the audience. When introducing subjects, you should keep the following in mind

  1. Why the speaker/ performer
  2. What is the speaker/ performer going to do (Brief)
  3. How they are relevant to the audience
  4. How they are relevant to the event

9. Techniques for grabbing attention

Keeping the event interesting is probably the hardest and the most primary part of being an emcee. As a host, you will apply a variety of skills and personality traits to perform such that the audience is continuously entertained. Some of the ways you can do this are:

  1. Use superlatives: words like best, great, amazing, and so on
  2. Keep it lighthearted: Crack periodic jokes
  3. Ask the audience to interact with you, or the event. You can do this by introducing games, asking questions, and so on.
  4. Questions! You should make use of as many rhetorical questions as possible. This has an immediate effect on the audience and will attract them towards the event.

10. Emcee games

Though it is best to limit Emcee games to trivia in large events, you can play games in smaller private or business events. These games will serve as an icebreaker and keep the audience engaged.

  1. Invite the audience to the stage and ask them to play small games like charades or ask simple and funny questions.
  2. Play a trivia game, ask questions related to the event, and call on the audience to answer.
  3. For smaller events, you can even quiz your audience on something and separate a prize for the winner.
  4. You can even do a scavenger hunt if it is a private or a very small-scale event.

11. A word on Quotes

Quotes and Shayaris are another way of keeping your audience interested. Don’t overdo it though, ever. Quotes can be really annoying if you just pile them up, use them sparingly but make them impactful.

Obviously, quotes depend according to the event, and you should look them up yourselves. I have listed a few very famous ones below, but you should only take them as a reference and research your own quotes.

  • “One of the things I think you need to be a good emcee is silliness. And I’m basically a silly guy.”: Doug Davidson

– This is a classic example of how you can both paint yourself in a positive light and add a bit of humor.

  • “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day”: Vincent van Gogh

– You can use quotes like this to transition into say a nighttime event. Again, research on your own on what fits your event.

  • “A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”

– You can use quotes like this to host, say a comedy show.

12. Asking for applause

Event host

Asking for applause is both a way to show respect to speakers/ performers and at the same time engage the audience. You should aim to find openings for asking applause, even when there aren’t any performers. This could be asking applause for someone in the audience or for your partner— anything works.

Some templates for asking applause are given below:

  1. Let’s give a round of applause for…
  2. Give it up for…
  3. Put your hands together for…
  4. Let’s hear it for…
  5. Another round of applause for…
  6. What a man/ woman! Can we hear for………

Ending and a must-follow wrap-up

Now, we will discuss the last part of the event. The ending of an event should always be strong, powerful, and should leave the audience thrilled.  You should summarize the event, and leave the audience wanting more.

13. Templates for ending an event

These templates are quite common and should be used only with modification. Once again, I ask you to just take reference and not copy the words ditto.

  1. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s……
  2. Hope you will put into practice the …… from this event (Educational events)
  3. There’s no point in coming to ……… unless you do something with ………
  4. We hope with all our hearts that the …………

14. Things to remember while emceeing

This is a pretty long article, and you might lose track of what to stick with. Below are the things that you absolutely cannot forget while emceeing. Keep them printed on your mind to upgrade your event hosting skills.

  • Engage the audience often.
  • Don’t overdo anything: jokes, quotes, excitement. Your hosting should be a balance
  • Keep introductions and transitions short, but informative.
  • Remember to always be positive and radiant.
  • Your job is to uplift everyone, you can’t do that by being small and timid.
  • SMILE never forgets to look positive and happy, even if there’s something sad transition back to positivity quickly. (Obviously don’t smile if you are telling something tragic though! Just don’t carry that emotion forward.)

A word on formal events

All of the strategies above will for the most part apply to both formal and informal events. However, there are some differences that you should be aware of.

  1. There should be less joking and more straight on the take in a formal event.
  2. You won’t be playing many games in a formal event, try to keep it on point.
  3. You can get off with less energy informal events, but don’t make it the norm.
  4. The language you use may be toned down little informal events.
  5. Use more superlatives informal events, but fewer exclamations. So you should use words like “best”, “amazing” but go a little low on words/ phrases like “Wow!”, “What a man!”

Final thoughts

In the end, emceeing, like all other things, comes down to practice. You can practice these skills in front of a mirror, or in front of the family. At events, try to be experimental while staying on track. You will definitely learn more that way.

Again, remember to be confident and don’t get discouraged if an event goes wrong. There’s always next time. You should aim to make each event better and grow thematically. Emceeing is an amazing profession to be in. I wish you only success and lots of glamour in the days ahead!

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