What To Do When You Can't Get The MC You Want

What To Do When You Can’t Get The MC You Want

5 min read
5 Steps to Take Now.
Perhaps you had a light bulb moment about the perfect MC for your next corporate event. Or maybe your boss is fixated on a particular sports hero or popular TV personality.

For a variety of reasons – they’re unaffordable, unavailable or even unwilling – you can’t lock in the dream MC. Read our insider tips for what you can do.

5 Steps to The MC You Want

1. Manage Expectations

It’s a fact of event management that you’ll need to ask multiple talent before finally securing an MC. This is because most candidates have heavily booked schedules: personal diaries, professional obligations and film/television commitments which require them to block out large chunks of time.

Managing expectations of key stakeholders can be a challenging but crucial element when selecting an MC for your event.

To avoid disappointment, we recommend drafting an MC shortlist, nominating first, second and third preferences and so on.

To avoid disappointment, draft an MC shortlist, nominating first, second and third preferences and so on.

Next time your boss or colleagues get excited about a particular talent as MC, it’s a great idea to use the shortlist approach and quickly plant the seed that there are no guarantees for the first choice.

You might try saying: “Great idea, let’s see if the talent is available and within budget. I’ll also put together a shortlist of alternative MCs based on our event and audience goals. How does that sound?”

This way, event planning stays on track and the stress is taken out of finding an MC to take your event from bland to grand. And your boss will love you for it!

2. Money Doesn’t Always Talk

Some people find it difficult to accept when a high-profile individual turns down an invitation to MC, even though they can pay top-dollar. It’s hard to imagine that anybody would turn down that sort of money!

It comes down to being aware of the talent’s multiple commitments.

On the other hand, people sometimes expect MCs to waive their fees for charity events. Your cause is undoubtedly terrific and helps many people in need, as do 99.9 percent of all charities.
If the event MC you want is unaffordable, unavailable or unwilling, here are 5 steps you need to take. Click To Tweet
Most MCs do take on a certain amount of pro bono work, often for charities with which they have an ongoing affiliation. Celebrities are frequently asked to host charity events, but there is a limit to how much they can squeeze into their schedule, let alone work free of charge.

3. Explore All Options

There’s no need to tear your hair out if you can’t book your preferred MC. There are so many different talent types, of varying celebrity status, who have excellent MC skills to match your specific objectives.

Comedians, actors, newsreaders, community leaders, industry experts, sports stars, Olympians, ex-politicians and entrepreneurs are all possibilities. As long as the MC resonates well with your audience, you’re on the right track.

No need to tear your hair out if you can't book your preferred event MC. Here's what to do. Click To Tweet

4. Meet the Speaker Bureau: Your New Best Friend

The good news is there are businesses that specialise in sourcing MCs for corporate events. Most MCs are managed by agents and Speaker Bureaus, which are a wealth of information to tap into.

Meet the Speaker Bureau

It’s not a good idea to attempt directly contact the talent yourself, because they are far less likely to accept a gig from somebody they don’t know vs a speaker bureau they know and trust. Speaker bureau staff have invaluable insider knowledge gleaned from years of speaker management experience.


Once you’re clear on event objectives and audience needs, simply pick up the phone and brief a bureau. They’ll happily recommend MCs to fit, manage the booking process and brief the talent once they are locked in. This frees up your time to plan other aspects of the event.

5. Working With a Speaker Bureau

Although it may be tempting to hedge your bets by contacting multiple speaker agencies to request the MC you want, it’s really not a wise approach. Imagine 10 agents all putting calls into the same talent, with the same brief for the same event. The first or second call might be ok, but after that it’s irritating to the point the talent often decides not to take on the job at all.

Insider tips on what to do when you can't get the event MC you want. Click To Tweet

It’s far more efficient to find an experienced, reputable speaker bureau to become your strategic partner. They’ll get to know your company and the type of events you run, so they can be proactive with advice, recommendations and bookings. It will save you lots of time, and ensure the best MC for all your corporate events.


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About the Author

Alison Clarke

Alison is the founder and director of Enhance. It turns out she has a flair for connecting talent with clients. A classical pianist graduating from the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Alison spent a decade performing on the international stage, was twice awarded scholarships to the Chamber Music Residency Program in Canada, and was invited to International Musician’s Seminar Prussia Cove. She now manages talent and events worldwide.

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