I am a self confessed Talk Show – Chat Show – Podcast geek. I usually listen to a Podcast or TED Radio Hour over lunch, or cooking dinner or when I am out walking. I listen both for pleasure and work. I love hearing other people’s stories or eavesdropping on a great conversation but also I am always on the look out for interesting speakers on all topics. I am lucky that my work can sometimes be my hobby too.
One of the Chat shows I am thoroughly enjoying at the moment is Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. Anyone who enjoys good interesting conversation should tune in here. One of the reasons it is great is the calibre of guest, but what makes it really compelling and brings me back time and time again is Alec Baldwin’s wonderful interviewing style. He asks good questions and listens to the answer, he doesn’t rush, he knows what we want to hear, he engages with the interviewee and brings the listener along on the journey. And you can hear he’s really enjoying himself too.
Similarly, a good chair, MC or interviewer can change an audience’s experience of a conference entirely. Remember – people turn up at conferences because they want to hear the speakers, network, learn something new and ENJOY it . That enjoyment factor is often overlooked in the planning but it is what gets people talking, and this is where the ‘MC factor’ can make a big difference.
With the right MC or Chairperson, an event or conference can go from being just a series of speakers to a terrifically engaging, compelling and memorable conversation. And what event organiser doesn’t want that? Having experiencing first hand what works and what does not work at conference and events, having a professional MC or Chairperson leading is something I feel passionate about .
Six things to consider when choosing an MC for your event:
1. Has he/she experience chairing similar events? e.g. the scale of the event, the type of audience, the format
2. If there is a panel discussion, are they good at hosting Q&As?
3. Does the MC’s profile fit the event profile? e.g a business conference may be best led by a business broadcaster
4. If there are statesmen/women or dignitaries attending, does the MC know the official protocol?
5. Are they good at managing time at events? This needs to be managed very skilfully.
6. Make sure to have a briefing call or meeting so that the MC knows the objectives of the event, what success means to you, learns about the speakers and has the opportunity to think about how they can help build momentum and audience engagement on the day.