How to Choose the Right MC - A Strategic Approach

How to Choose the Right MC

A Strategic Approach

Choosing an MC might seem complex.

There are so many different types of talent to choose from – celebrities, sport stars, Olympians, industry experts, ex-politicians and entrepreneurs.

You face multiple pressures: your boss demands a particular high-profile comedian as MC, you want a stellar event that outshines everything you’ve done before, and you need to stay within budget.

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Stop, and breathe! Before you start thinking about who will be MC, take a step back. Consider your organisation’s objectives for the event, how your guests will benefit from attending and then look for an MC who fits the bill.

Event Goals

From the very start, it’s important to be clear about the event purpose and what your organisation hopes to achieve from it. Here are some examples of specific event goals:

  • 25 years in business anniversary to reward staff and strengthen relationships with key customers and influencers
  • annual awards night to celebrate company and individual achievements, to create a positive organisational culture and maintain employee retention rates
  • bi-annual sales conference to motivate salesforce to achieve targets
  • Melbourne Cup Day celebration to build relationships with key customers
  • raise $1 million for charity and promote the organisation as a strong supporter of the local community and people in need
How to Choose the Right MC: Event Goals

Specific goals help you determine the appropriate format, content, messaging, tone, and the right MC to lift your event from merely passable to an absolute knockout!

Budget can’t be brushed away and forgotten about. It pays to be realistic about how much you can to spend on the MC, because they don’t normally come cheap! Generally speaking, the higher the MC’s celebrity profile, the higher their fees.

It might be worth pulling back on other event costs – such as decorations or goodie bags – to invest in a well-matched MC who can truly transform your event.

Can't get the MC you want?

If you're really stuck and the budget just won't stretch to your preferred MC, read our article on what to do when you can't get the MC you want.

Audience goals

Understanding your audience demographic is absolutely paramount to choosing the right MC. Demographics are the quantifiable characteristics of a population, or in the case of an event, a group (Wikipedia).

What can you ascertain about the people who will attend your event?

  • Are they all from the same industry?
  • What is the general age, income bracket?
  • Are they mostly male or female, or a mixed ratio of both?

With this in mind, you can work out how guests will benefit from attending and plan the event accordingly, in particular the choice of MC.

An audience of predominantly male engineers at a new product launch will have needs, wants and expectations that differ starkly from guests attending an awards night; the savvy event manager distills the audience demographic to shape the choice of MC.

Choosing an MC: Audience Goals

Find the MC that fits

With event objectives, audience expectations and budget firmly in mind, it’s time to draft a shortlist of MCs that fit the bill. We say shortlist, because chances are the MC you want will not be available, so you’ll need to approach a few before you finally lock one in.

To create the shortlist, consider the MCs’ characteristics and how well they fit with your event, your audiences and budget:

  • Personality
  • Delivery style
  • Language
  • Flexibility to work with your corporate objectives
  • Industry expertise
  • Facilitation skills for panel discussion and audience interaction
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To illustrate, here are two examples of good audience-MC fit:
  1. A large investment bank is holding a gala charity dinner. It is a formal event with high-priced tickets, to be attended by high-earning, educated, senior company directors from the banking, finance and legal sectors, with a mixed ratio of male and female.

    The MC is a very high profile celebrity with seamless delivery style and highly accomplished skills in entertaining and ‘working the crowd’ to encourage hands in pockets for donations and auction bidding.

  2. A high-end European fashion company has recently opened stores in Australia, and wants to build relationships with key customers at a Melbourne Cup Day celebration. Guests will be predominantly 30-50 year old, mixed male and female, high disposable income, active on the social circuit and fashion early adopter/influencers. The audience draws inspiration from celebrating in style with friends and colleagues in a prestigious setting, and discovering new season fashion trends from Europe.

    The MC selected is a witty, lively female TV presenter who is also a respected style icon.
Master of Ceremonies: Jessica Rowe

Lift your event game with the right MC

For annual events, such as award nights and incentive conferences, it’s a challenge to keep reinventing the wheel and outshines the previous year’s event. Ever-shrinking budgets only compound the pressure.

By thinking strategically – and outside the square – you will find an MC that fits your event objectives, audience demographic and budget to take your event to the next level, year after year.

Next steps

About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

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