27 Apr 2018

The importance of having a professional MC host your event | Michael Pope | MC

A quote by Michael Pope

Michael Pope is best known as the TV industry’s first choice as Audience MC. Since 1990 he has been first to the mic at hundreds of TV studio recordings; a skill he brings to his work as a corporate entertainer. Whether it be as Conference Facilitator, Awards Night MC or a training session in public speaking, Michael can break the ice, set the scene and maintain energy and focus throughout any event. He is the consummate master of ceremonies, adapting his performance to any situation with the fastest wit going around.

In this article, the MC discusses the importance of having a professional MC host your next event.

Is shiny always best?

“I want the bright shiny ones”, cried my daughter, just before she stormed off to her room.

But something inside me just knew she’d be disappointed…

You know how every parent wants to help their child with their school project? I’m no different.

Daughter Kate* wanted to make a space rocket* – out of paper – which was pretty cool – but she wanted it to be held together by pipe cleaners*. You know the ones; bendy, shiny, colourful ones – as seen on TV*?

So as a good dad – I let her help me a little, and it was going well until it came to holding it all together. She insisted that the pipe cleaners were perfect for the job.

“But I really think this thick masking tape will do the job much better,” I suggested.

“But I want the pipe cleaners. They make me laugh when they wiggle”.

“I’m sure they do”, I agreed, “but are you making a rocket or something to laugh at?”

“Everyone else is using them!” she argued.

“Yes sweetie, but are they wanting to use them to hold together this really big awesome rocket? You know, masking tape was made for this purpose”.

“I don’t care. I told everyone I was using gold and silver pipe cleaners, and they are only coming to see it if I’ve got PIPE CLEANERS!!!” She was starting to yell now – so I thought I’d better change tack.

“But Katie, what about the great colouring you’ve done on the rocket?* And see the flames you’ve got coming out the back?* And what about how tall it is* – it’s almost as big as you! You’ve got such a lot of things going on, I really think it would be a shame if you tried to hold it together with pipe cleaners and it all fell apart. See this masking tape; it’s been holding rockets together for hundreds of years. That’s what it does every day of its life – and it knows what to do if …I don’t know… a big wind comes along… or a cat starts to climb it*.

“Absolutely!” And so we stuck the brightest, shiniest, most expensive pipe cleaner right on the top for everyone to see – secure in the knowledge that it was all held together by good old masking tape*.


Daughter Kate* – Read: Client

Space Rocket* – Read: Event

Bright shiny pipe cleaners* – Read: TV Celebrity

As seen on TV* – Read: As seen on TV

Great colouring* – Read: Great venue

The flames out the back* – Read: Industry related speakers

How tall it is* – Read: Everything else you’ve organised to draw a crowd

A cat starts to climb it* – Read: A cat starts to climb it

Good old masking tape* – Read: Experienced corporate MC.

So, now to the demands of a conference

As an experienced MC of corporate events for near on 30 years, I get it when a client wants a ‘name from TV’ to be a part of their event. And there is nothing wrong with that. Hell, I was one myself there for 10 minutes. But it should be recognised that just because they are on TV – and appear as hilarious as you’d like them to be, and everyone knows them – getting them to carry out the many and varied duties of an event MC may just not be their forte.

There is a big difference between the intimate space of a TV studio – where an editor’s skill has saved a career many times, and the demands of a three-day conference for 600 people.

Even the jocularity of breakfast radio is really a dinner party conversation with too much sugar.

Now don’t get me wrong. Everyone wants to see ‘that guy off TV’, so sure, get them as a closing keynote (if they have something to say). Or as an after-dinner entertainer on the Awards night. I get it that some people may commit to the event due to the draw of a name. But remember, the duties of an MC go far beyond merely being funny.

Professional MC Richard Laible lists the following among the roles and responsibilities of a good MC:

Engages your attendees with high energy & smart segues keeping your goals at the forefront
Provides personalised and entertaining introductions of speakers, segments and topics
Imparts housekeeping with humour and enthusiasm
Gets the audience to really listen to your message
Opens the event each day in a fun, upbeat, and highly interactive manner
Maintains a dynamic and engaging flow and pace to the activities and agenda
Sustains audience involvement and interactivity
Does their homework on your company, speakers, messaging, and more.

Do you have some masking tape in your kit? Or only a handful of pipe cleaners?

Learn more about Michael here.

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