Does your event need an MC?

Ellerslie Events

A ‘mistress or master of ceremonies’ (MC) plays a vital role at events, but should you do it yourself or do you need a professional host?

Event MCs Wilhelmina Shrimpton and Carolyn Taylor are no strangers to working at events here at Ellerslie

If you’ve ever been to an event where you pitied the host who was either visibly anxious or not entertaining, you’ll recognise the advantages of having a professional MC.

And if the thought of public speaking at your event makes you jittery, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 75% of people rank public speaking as their number one fear.

But is it worth going to the expense of hiring a professional MC to speak at your event?

Well, one school of thought is that if you’re wanting to pull off a great event and might not think twice about paying a graphic designer to design your event logo, a florist to arrange your flowers, a venue to host your event and a chef to produce food for it… then it makes sense to also pay a ‘professional speaker and event host’ to not only keep your guests entertained and informed, but who can help ensure your event flows seamlessly and that the occasion is memorable for all the right reasons.

What does an MC do at an event?

An MC has several duties and is even involved in your behind-the-scenes planning.

During the event, they will take to the stage to make announcements or introduce people, alert guests to any specific health or safety information and help your event run to schedule. They do this by making announcements at specific times and creating smooth transitions.

Lastly, an MC helps set an event’s tone, develop a sense of community and keep the atmosphere thriving by interacting with guests or telling entertaining stories.

An engaged crowd is key to a successful and memorable occasion.

What types of events need an MC?

The larger the event, the more likely it is that you will need a professional MC to run things to schedule and help keep your audience amused.

An MC in action at an event in Tote on Ascot – our newest space available to hire for your next event

Awards nights
A long evening event (particularly where the alcohol is flowing) can result in a crowd that is a little trickier to rein in. An entertaining and ‘personality plus’ MC will assist in keeping the group engaged, while ensuring the proceedings are to schedule (aka ensuring recipient speeches don’t go on for too long…) and housekeeping is adhered to.

Industry conference
You may know your industry like the back of your hand, but an MC at your event can still be beneficial. Their role may involve leading discussions between experts and guest speakers, as well as facilitating audience input. They can also add something different to your event and liven things up for those attendees who may be used to the ‘same old’ when it comes to work events. Of course, you don’t want an MC that will hog the limelight, but choosing an MC with some industry knowledge can be helpful.

Product launch
You don’t necessarily need to hire a celebrity to host your product launch; however having an MC can certainly add polish and flair to your event to help build credibility for your brand. In addition, an industry leader or trusted expert in the field would be a great asset to the occasion. Our tip is to book an MC who you think embodies, or relates to, your new product or service – they will help bring it to life in human form, further helping your attendees understand what it is that you’re launching.

Special events
Are you planning a Melbourne Cup Day event or a corporate celebration? An entertaining MC with a sense of humour that knows how to host a crowd is ideal for an occasion that’s focused on fun. They can get your attendees involved in fun activities, keep them informed as to what else might be happening at your event and help bring your event ‘theme’ to life.

Charity gala
If your event is a fundraising occasion with a glamorous dress code and a high-price ticket, a high-profile celebrity MC will help pull in a crowd and add a sense of prestige to the event. Our tip is to look for an MC who is comfortable mixing and mingling with guests and knows how to encourage auction bids or donations.

Tips for choosing an MC

  • Make sure your MC is willing to have a planning session with you in advance of the event so they know the schedule and can make suggestions based on their experience
  • Pick an MC whose personality and style suit the occasion with the right stage presence for your event
  • An MC should be confident, calm under pressure and able to think on their feet. If they aren’t a ‘celebrity’ or well-known MC, check their CV for similar engagements.


From intimate gatherings to some of the country’s biggest events, we pride ourselves on helping make events a success – learn more.

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