21 Tips on How to Be a Good and Effective Emcee / Master of Ceremony

*Update (launch of eBook): So I have received many many emails from people looking for advice on how to emcee their events. So after sharing with so many people, I have decided to compile my decade of emcee experience into an eBook, which you can find out more here.

So you are here on this page because you are soon going to be an emcee for an event. So how can you be a good and effective Emcee (Master of Ceremony)?

I remember the first time I went on stage to emcee an event. I was 17, and I was forced to do it as part of my school assignment. I was afraid, I stumbled over my words, and the butterflies were running amok in my stomach. However, it was definitely an experience to remember, and I have since used that and other good/bad experiences to improve my stage presence.

When I have fun as an emcee, it is really such a magical experience that I can’t wait to get back on stage. However, emceeing does carry its risks of failure. If you do not prepare well, you run the risk of failure and it can be a really painful experience.

What is the role of an Emcee?

An emcee is the host and facilitator of the event. The event can be a wedding, a party, a seminar, a conference, a corporate event etc. As long as you are holding the microphone on stage, you are the emcee.

The role of an emcee is to warm up the crowd to prepare them for the program ahead. The emcee sets the tone. You are there to make the main stars of the show look good. You are also there to make sure there are smooth transitions between different segments of the program so that it flows smoothly. Should there be any hiccup, the emcee will have to ensure minimal disruptions to the program.

How to be a good emcee

Now that we have ascertained what the role of an emcee is, here are some insights based on my thousands of events in which I have emceed, and I hope it will help you in your event emceeing.

1. Prepare for an effective event opening

When people are waiting for an event to start, they are usually restless and raring to go. If you come out without an effective opening, it will set the dull tone for the entire event, and trust me, your event will not go down well.

Research has shown that people decide if they like you within seconds of meeting you. So now imagine you are on stage facing hundreds or thousands of people. You have that window of seconds for the first impression to make those people like you. This will set the tone for the entire event.

Think of the Olympic games and the elaborate opening ceremony to kick start the games. Now think of an “elaborate emcee opening ceremony” to kick start your event!

2. Bring on stage positive and energetic vibes

The last thing people want to hear from an emcee is a dull and low energy presentation. Imagine you are at a conference and the emcee comes on with zero energy. The speakers that the emcee introduce will also bring with them low energy, and so will the crowd. With the entire tone of the event at such a low energy setting, your event will not go well.

So as an emcee, always bring with you positive and energetic vibes on stage. You do not have to jump around on stage (unless the occasion calls for it), but you will have to sound bright and enthusiastic for the program ahead.

The more energy you have, the more engaged the audience will be, and if you’re excited, your audience will get excited. But if you’re dull and boring, there’s a good chance your audience will also be bored.

tips on being a good emcee

3. The emcee sets the tone for the event

In addition to point (2) above, while the emcee is not the star, the emcee will set the tone for the event. There are times to be serious, and times to have fun. If the emcee is all over the place, there will be no focus. It is thus important to find a good balance to set the tone for the event.

A good emcee will be able to read the crowd and set the correct tone for the entire event.

4. Control the timing of the proceedings

The emcee will have the ultimate control of the event proceedings. While there may be a stage manager to help manage the schedule, but by being on stage, the emcee will have control over what happens.

Always ensure that you are on top of your time management. If one segment overruns, see if you can recover by cutting some time off another segment.  If one segment is too short, you can drag the next segment out. Ultimately, you will have to ensure that the event starts and ends on time.

5. Always introduce the speaker’s bio

While you will already be acquainted with the speaker before introducing him on stage, members of the audience may not know who the speaker is. Often, the success of that segment will depend on the participants knowing the credentials or background of the speaker. This background knowledge will play an important role in establishing credibility and rapport between the speaker and participant.

Remember to make the speaker look good.

If you’re hosting a high level Presidential or Ministerial event, always be sure to get the title correct!

Tips on good emceeing

6. Remember that you are not the star of the show

When the emcee is on stage delivering a speech, there is a part of the role that requires the emcee to be the center of attraction on stage.

However as emcee it is not your time in the spotlight.  It is important for the emcee to understand that he/she is there to keep things moving and to make sure the speakers on the program (or the award recipients) are celebrated without hogging the limelight.

7. Remember to introduce yourself

You will be surprised, but many emcees do not remember to introduce themselves. If you do not or forget to introduce yourself before the start of the event, this will leave a nagging hole in your audience’s understanding of the event proceedings. They see you, but don’t know who you are or why you have been chosen for this central role in the event. So while you are talking up on stage, they might be wondering why you are up on stage to begin with.

If you are very confident that everyone in your audience already knows you, still, introduce yourself anyway. There may be friends, colleagues, special guests, and spouses in your audience who do not know you. And those who know who you are may not really understand what you do, or how and why you became the emcee for the event.

8. Always be addressing the audience (project your voice)

The worst thing an emcee wants to be doing will be to mumble to him/herself while on stage. Sometimes when one has stage fright or feel nervous on stage, this will tend to happen. If you mumble or talk to yourself  on stage, you will not be able to reach the audience effectively. They might now be able to hear you even if you’re using the microphone.

Always be addressing the audience, like you are talking to each member of the audience individually. Project your voice into the microphone such that you are talking to the entire audience. This will come hand in hand with the next point (9), where you will have to maintain eye contact with your audience while projecting your voice.

Tips on how to be a good emcee

9. Maintain eye contact with your audience

Together with the point (8) above: In order to establish credibility with your audience, making contact helps to maintain an audience’s interest and encourages them to believe that you are genuinely interested in talking to them. If your audience is a large group, always look up and sweep your eyes across the audience.

A helpful tip would be to think of the audience as sitting in a “Z” formation. Start with the top left of the audience for a few seconds (while looking up from your script, if any) before looking right for a few seconds, then move down to the bottom left followed by the bottom right, in what is a “Z” around the room.

You can break your “Z” by starting from the middle or the back of the room to vary your eye contact.This will look like you are addressing the entire audience.

Together with projecting your voice and maintaining eye contact, this will give you the “intimacy” and credibility with your audience. On the other hand, a poor emcee will appear to be speaking to an empty room.

10. Bring pace to your delivery

Make sure that the speed of your delivery is easy to follow. If you speak too slowly or too quickly, your audience will have difficulty following what you say.

A tip to add life to your emcee presentation is to change the pace of your delivery. A slightly faster section might convey enthusiasm. A slightly slower one might add emphasis or caution.


P. S. If you think this article has helped you, you can support my work by buying my ebook. I share lots of advanced tips on how you can better emcee an event. Click here!

Buy Emcee eBook


11. Share key event information

Before an event starts, the audience will be wondering about the proceedings of the event. If you do not answer these questions, they tend to become distractions that prevent your audience members from giving you their full attention.

In your first few minutes on stage, put them at ease and set their expectations by giving them the full agenda for your event. There may already be a printed event schedule on the table in front of them, so just be sure to remind them that they are able to refer to the schedule if they have any questions about the timing of certain segments.

12. Breathe steadily and deeply

Always remember to breath steadily and deeply. If you are anxious about being on stage your breathing will become fast and shallow. This will affect the quality of your voice and your ability to speak clearly for extended periods of time.

If you are nervous, try to take a few deep breaths before you make your way onto the stage. Make a conscious effort to slow your breathing down and taking in more air with each breath. During your delivery, use pauses after questions or at the end of sections to allow comfortable breathing patterns.

Always remember to breath steadily.

how to be a good master of ceremony

13. Avoid cold drinks or spicy food before/during your time on stage

Ice cold drinks will constrict your throat and affect the quality of your voice. If you need to quench your thirst, drink a warm (not hot) cup of water to relax your throat and ease your speaking voice. If not room temperature water will do the trick.

Also remember to avoid spicy food as it can cause phlegm and will affect your stage delivery. Increased mucous in your throat can cause you to repeatedly clear your throat and sometimes even block your voice all together.

Other foods that cause phlegm include dairy products, caffeine and alcohol, so be careful with your vocal cords if you tend to get phlegm after consuming these items. 

14. Practise Practise Practise

The more familiar you are with your emcee script the more you will be able to inspire your audience’s trust and confidence. Practise reading through your script to yourself and if possible, stand up in a room and deliver your presentation to the walls. Familiarise yourself with your script so you are in control all the time should any eventuality happen.

Get used to hearing your own voice filling a room. Familiarise yourself with the hard to pronounce words and phrases in your script. Play around with different speaking volumes and see how well you can hear your own voice.

This preparation will go a long way your role as an emcee on stage.

Tips on being a good master of ceremony and emcee

15. Smile, even if you don’t mean it

Your nonverbal body language is as important as what you say on stage while emceeing.  If you smile at your audience, they are likely to smile back. And a smile engenders good feelings and a true connection — even if the smile is forced.

When you are forcing a smile, you are still genuinely trying to make a positive connection, so most people will read the nonverbal cue as positive.

But if you can, smile genuinely like you mean it. This will give a happy and positive vibe to the audience and they will reciprocate and be more receptive to you.

16. Dress the part

Different events will have different dress codes, and the emcee will have to look the part. 

If the audience will have on suits and dresses, wear your best suit or dress, and make sure your clothing is clean, well tailored and well ironed.

If the audience will have on casual wear, wear your best smart casual wear, again making sure your clothing is clean and well ironed.

17. Be prepared if you (or anyone else) make a mistake

No matter how professional an emcee is, the fact is everyone makes mistakes. Even my many years of professional experience on stage do not shield me from making mistakes.

And mistakes actually make people appear more human and come across as more relatable. But, when we become uncomfortable with slip-ups and gaffes, then our audience becomes more uncomfortable as well.

So the goal here is to recover nicely should there be a blunder on stage. Always be prepared with a back up plan like a joke or a nugget of information that you can keep on hand to use should there be a gaffe on stage.

The key to being a good emcee is to always be in control at all times no matter what happens.

How to be a good emcee on stage

18. Apologize should a major mistake happen

The worst mistake in the history of emceeing was made by Steve Harvey, when he announced the wrong country as the winner of Miss Universe 2015.

After that bad mistake, he came on and man up for his mistake and apologized. He started off with four words: “I have to apologize.” In his case, this was a severe major mistake that needed an apology to put things into context.

If you (and you will) make a minor mistake like mispronouncing a few words, just carry on with the program or the emcee script. The best way forward often is to keep your cool and get on the with the programme. There’s no need to freeze or apologise profusely. The audience are mainly there for the programme!

If you made a mistake on stage, console in the fact that the worst mistake that an emcee can make (in history!) has already been made by Steve Harvey, so fret not! 

Keep calm and emcee on!

19. Arrive early to do a sound check and ensure everything is in order

I’m usually one of the first to arrive at an event venue so that I can get myself into the right frame of mind, look around and be familiar with my surroundings.

It is important to arrive early so that logistical (if you require chairs or tables on stage) and technical  (e.g microphone sound check) matters can be be done.

Always do a sound check before the event starts so that you can tweak your voice EQ (to ensure you sound good), ensure the sound system is working good as well as to hear the acoustics of the room. 

Also, meet the client/stage manager/event manager/venue manager to run through the program and discuss your concerns regarding anything that you think needs attention. An event is a team effort and everyone needs to be on the same page.

Arriving early will also give you the emcee time to settle down and observe the crowd to help you adapt your style for emceeing later.

20. Transitions between different segments of the program (Dead Air)

A good and effective emcee will always ensure a seamless transition between different segments of the program. For example, after a speaker finishes his speech, an emcee will immediately come on to thank the speaker and introduce the next segment of the program. In some cases, a light hearted banter might even be appropriate between the emcee and the speaker at the end of his speech.

It is paramount that there is no “dead air” on stage during the program. Dead air is bad air on stage. 

As an emcee, it is important to always be on alert to ensure that there is no dead air. For example, if a video was supposed to play and for some reason the video didn’t play, the emcee will have to step in to recover the dead air.

Remember, dead air is a big NO NO!

21. Prepare the closing for the event

Just as there has to be a good opening, there has to be a closing to wrap up the event. A skeleton for a good closing is as follows:

a. Thank the audience

b. Recap the proceedings for the day

c. Re-emphasize key points

d. Remind the audience of any announcements (e.g where to redeem parking coupons, or where to get the presentation slides of the speakers)

e. Wish them well 

Just like the Olympic games opening ceremony, there will be an elaborate closing ceremony to close off the games. Now think of an “appropriate closing ceremony” to close off your event!

How to be an effective emcee

So there you have it, 21 tips on how to be a good and effective emcee! The most important thing is to have fun on stage! I always have fun when I’m on stage, and I hope you enjoy your journey as an emcee or Master of Ceremony.

Relax, smile and enjoy yourself! The more you embrace your emcee (master of ceremony) role with joy and excitement, the more fun you’ll have and the more fun your audience will have.

Have fun and emcee on!

P. S. If you think this article has helped you, you can support my work by buying my ebook. I share lots of advanced tips on how you can better emcee an event. Click here!

Buy Emcee eBook

If you need to reach me:


P.S. Keep in touch with me by following me on my Facebook page here.

About The Author

Related Posts


  1. Sally April 11, 2016 Reply
  2. Marivic October 11, 2016 Reply
  3. MC MINDE October 24, 2016 Reply
  4. SITTIE BADRIA M. DATU-DACULA February 6, 2017 Reply
  5. Adora Escartin March 4, 2017 Reply
  6. Ambrose ndubi March 18, 2017 Reply
  7. Udeme Julie-blessed March 27, 2017 Reply
  8. Usi_Bee April 2, 2017 Reply
  9. OYETUNDE BABATUNDE Mike April 8, 2017 Reply
  10. dominic olorunmola April 13, 2017 Reply
  11. SHADRACKMWAKYOSI April 24, 2017 Reply
  12. Ana April 27, 2017 Reply
  13. Deo AKUGIZIBWE June 5, 2017 Reply
  14. leonard June 16, 2017 Reply
  15. Ambassador STANLY June 25, 2017 Reply
  16. Nancy M. Dizon July 5, 2017 Reply
  17. Justin Nzioka July 23, 2017 Reply
  18. Coral Paul July 28, 2017 Reply
  19. Andrea G Templo July 28, 2017 Reply
  20. Kuguma Eriya August 10, 2017 Reply
  21. Olumide September 12, 2017 Reply
  22. Sumit Kumar September 14, 2017 Reply
  23. Leniza Magdua September 21, 2017 Reply
  24. Emaido Affia September 30, 2017 Reply
  25. Jay Mar B. grecia December 6, 2017 Reply
  26. Juliet Parado December 28, 2017 Reply
  27. Class Louis February 23, 2018 Reply
  28. Caitanya March 9, 2018 Reply
  29. Monica March 25, 2018 Reply
  30. Natasha Shah April 23, 2018 Reply
  31. trix June 10, 2018 Reply
  32. Ma. lea Tagulao June 21, 2018 Reply
  33. Maldo July 5, 2018 Reply
  34. Abdullah Umar Abubakar July 7, 2018 Reply
  35. ces sabayle July 26, 2018 Reply
  36. Noemi August 9, 2018 Reply
  37. Belinda Afulugencia August 21, 2018 Reply
  38. Jaldine August 27, 2018 Reply
  39. Koos Smith September 16, 2018 Reply
  40. Alex October 15, 2018 Reply
  41. KELVIN YAANI KASH ABBEY October 17, 2018 Reply
  42. Nenette Paway October 25, 2018 Reply
  43. Harley Dave November 3, 2018 Reply
  44. ITA MOSES UNO November 3, 2018 Reply
  45. Emma November 5, 2018 Reply
  46. dollypee November 20, 2018 Reply
  47. Singer Afe Paul November 24, 2018 Reply
  48. Justus Richy November 24, 2018 Reply
  49. Salami Joshua. o December 4, 2018 Reply
  50. Segun M Olukayode December 4, 2018 Reply
  51. mercee December 7, 2018 Reply
  52. Emile NSHIMIYIMANA December 23, 2018 Reply
  53. Mc Panta PO December 31, 2018 Reply
  54. Samson Mutsvanga January 5, 2019 Reply
  55. Janette G. Veloso January 6, 2019 Reply
  56. Mrs.Rosa M. Jackson January 10, 2019 Reply
  57. VICTORIA PRAISE ABRAHAM February 23, 2019 Reply
  58. Long March 18, 2019 Reply
  59. inmaculada March 31, 2019 Reply
  60. johnson juma oseko April 16, 2019 Reply
  61. Joelius Escalona July 9, 2019 Reply
  62. Ife October 10, 2019 Reply
  63. Olakunle October 10, 2019 Reply
  64. Torry lere October 16, 2019 Reply
  65. MissT October 17, 2019 Reply
  66. Esther Sarah October 31, 2019 Reply
  67. Dominic ndege November 21, 2019 Reply
  68. Rey Sebolino December 6, 2019 Reply
  69. Fitina December 6, 2019 Reply
  70. Estelle Van Zyl December 8, 2019 Reply
  71. Jemimah Durojaiye December 15, 2019 Reply
  72. Emmanuel December 16, 2019 Reply
  73. Kamayi Guillaume December 19, 2019 Reply
  74. Emmanuel Uthant December 30, 2019 Reply
  75. Emmanuel Uthant December 30, 2019 Reply
  76. McOla February 5, 2020 Reply
  77. Rabbi k mensah March 6, 2020 Reply
  78. Emanuel Amiri May 6, 2020 Reply
  79. Maccony July 2, 2020 Reply
  80. Delani Latha July 16, 2020 Reply
  81. Mc Samloco de Comedian July 16, 2020 Reply
  82. Bénite Amani Bikungu September 9, 2020 Reply
  83. kendi christine September 18, 2020 Reply
  84. Leonard T Ussher November 1, 2020 Reply
  85. Stalin Chimota November 16, 2020 Reply
  86. Kalaivani Kandhan December 7, 2020 Reply
  87. Ekwere, Abraham February 15, 2021 Reply
  88. Renato Ciano March 3, 2021 Reply
  89. Mc Nozy +255753 304 66 April 17, 2021 Reply
  90. MC Egalitarian June 10, 2021 Reply
  91. Meenu minj July 24, 2021 Reply
  92. Raji Mosunmola August 15, 2021 Reply
  93. Prince Dikon August 21, 2021 Reply
  94. Nash September 5, 2021 Reply
  95. Prah Ebenezer October 23, 2021 Reply
  96. Kyolaba Irene November 20, 2021 Reply

Leave a Reply