How to be a great Master of Ceremonies – with Chris Mei

January 4, 2017

Share this article

What does it take to be a great M.C.? What should you look for when you hire an emcee?

Many novice meeting planners don’t realize how important the emcee is to the success of the event. The Master of Ceremonies is in charge of timing, pacing, and making the audience feel welcome (just to name a few things).

Cindy Ashton and I interviewed Canada’s Master of Ceremonies Chris Mei on our first episode of The Speaking for Profit Podcast. It’s still one of my favourites. Click the player below to listen.



There are so many highlights in this episode it was difficult to pick one. I do love what Chris has to say on the less talked about skills of being master of ceremonies at a big event.

So the number one part of being a a good master of ceremonies is don’t take over the show. It’s not about you – you are there to facilitate the rest of the event.

Number two is you have to be greater than just a “rip and reader”. You need to be invested in the event.

There’s so many different ways event planners can look for a master of ceremonies. You can go the cheap way, and that is to get somebody to volunteer their services from within a committee or something like that.

Or you may go to a local radio station, pay some advertising, and get somebody to come on out and which is actually how i got started.

But if you want success year after year, you really you need somebody who’s going to buy into the vision of the event because, if you’re going to put that much time effort and money into putting together your charity fundraising gala, or an awards ceremony, or whatever you’re putting together – if you don’t have somebody committed to the program, committed to the product, then you’re short changing yourself. You’re only going to be as good as that person ship steering the ship.

To be a great Master of Ceremonies there are some crucial things that very few people think about. You have to be somebody who’s good with time management, because when a committee puts together an event and they have people paying hundreds of dollars for a seat or maybe thousands of dollars for a table and if you tell these people it’s going to start at this time it must start at that time.

But it’s actually even more important to end on time because the people that are in the audience want to get home. They may have hired a babysitter or they have a work day the next day, or they have somebody waiting for them. So ending on time is crucial

Here’s one thing that I always tell to committees that reach out to me.

It is your your your goal is to have a great event, but your greater goal is to be able to sell tickets the next year right you have time yeah so if people get have the people have the experience that it was ill run it started late it ended late the chances of them turning around and buying a ticket the next year lessen dramatically.”

Listen to the episode for more of this great interview with Chris Mei. We also discuss Chris’ acting role as The Penguin in the Movie Billy Madison as well as his memories of working with Adam Sandler and Chris Farley.