Hire your MC/Facilitator before or at the early stages of planning your event. You are bringing this person in to help engage, connect and support your participants with the content and objectives of the conference. So, use their experience early in the planning. They will have worked with a variety of different organisations and meeting formats and could provide useful support in the design phase of your meeting.
2 -Plan, Rehearse, Plan, Rehearse some more.
Ensure that there is time and commitment from your speakers, along with your MC, to rehearse on the stage they are speaking on (or something similar) This really is a must for those speakers who don’t do this regularly or for a living. Stages, microphones and slides on a big screen can all be a new or daunting experience for some. Making them feel comfortable in this environment along with meeting your facilitator will help your speakers relax and provide better content on the day.
3 – Support for your non-professional speakers – It’s not easy for them!!
Ask your MC/Facilitator if they will support rehearsals (i.e. the above) and pre- conference preparation with your non-professional speakers. If your facilitator is on site, this is something they can include as part of their fee. When starting out, this wasn’t an obvious inclusion for me. But having seen how improved and more confident the non-professional speakers were with some coaching, I now include it in all my proposals.
4 – Tech. Check.
Ensure your facilitator/MC has time on stage to rehearse with AV and any tech your conference participants are using. Whether is be spot me, glissr or slido (and I’m sure there are many more awesome tools out there – watch out for a blog on them!) make sure that your facilitator is well versed with how you’re planning to use the tech. If something goes wrong, she will be either the person on stage, who the speaker looks at when it goes wrong or that the audience glance at. Knowing something isn’t as it should be and being able to keep your participants engaged or speaker on track is crucial to the success of your meeting or event.
5 – Remember we are human too..
Don’t forget to feed your MC! With impromptu rehearsals, checking social media, picking up or writing observations from the last session and dashing to the toilet, your MC (like you) doesn’t have much down time. Along with the tech team, and the event planners we are on the go all day. Slightly trickier as we are also front facing the entire time. So please do check we’ve been fed or spare a thought at crew catering and add a sandwich in for us!