• A great MC: the key to successful virtual events

    posted on 07/10/2020 by Frances Keane

    Knowing the right questions to ask, having and communicating a clear overview of what’s being said, being able to think on your feet — these are some of the core qualities of a successful MC.  And for thousands of events that have had to go online during the pandemic, the MC is now more in demand than ever.

    An experienced MC is fast becoming the key to a really successful online event, or at least those involving multiple elements and/or speakers. When briefed well, the right MC is able to keep things on track and on schedule, build and sustain forward momentum and squeeze every last insight from proceedings and then feed it back to both speakers and audience.

    But what is it about Covid that has brought this role to the fore?

    Connecting the dots – and people too

    I think it has a lot to do with that most innate human drive – the desire to connect with others.  With speakers, contributors and audiences now operating remotely, we’re all missing the micro-interactions, energy and ‘people power’ of live events.  Online events demand a different kind and level of focus.  A skilled MC will craft a meaningful whole from the constituent parts of an event (comprising, say, a panel discussion, keynote and Q&A) that might otherwise feel fragmented.  More importantly, they bring people together by guiding them through the experience.  In this respect they’re a bit like sherpas; they’re so familiar with the terrain that their only focus becomes getting you to the summit, where you can share the view, together.

    A host of skills 

    Given the particular skillset involved, it’s probably no surprise that  journalists, presenters and broadcasters with strong track records on TV and radio are some of the best at it.  Here at Personally Speaking we have a host of them (pun intended), including Mark Little, Matt Cooper, David McWilliams, Sarah Carey, Sarah McInerney, Shane Coleman, Ivan Yates, Aine Kerr, Colette Fitzpatrick, Richard Curran and Claire Byrne.  Outside of journalism we also have Susan Hayes Culleton, who has even been known to come up with a poem at the end of an event summing up the day!  Just search by name or for MC on our home page to view these and more.

    I think that online events are here to stay, even if only as part of the mix of live/virtual.  So the MC role will continue to be important long after this pandemic ends (and please let it end, soon).  Amidst all the disruption and uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought, it’s been both a  surprise and a bonus to observe this important role being reinvented and adapted for the ‘new normal’.

    ‘Every cloud……”. Right?

    If you are interested in using an MC, phone 01 475 0360 or email frances@personallyspeakingbureau.com or joanne@personallyspeakingbureau.com