As an event host or emcee, I believe I am the bridge between the content of the event and the audience. I use the word “content” in a specific way. Speakers sharing their knowledge and expertise– that’s content, yes— but content is also other aspects of the event like the event agenda, figuring out the initial reaction that the audience will have at the event, etc.
When you are organizing an event, you are organizing many such different parts. And when someone is hosting an event, they are responsible for all those different parts. You can imagine it’s something like the Allman Brothers opening for Bruce Springsteen or the national anthem being sung before the Super Bowl starts. As an event host, I am like an opening act of the event. How? Because I understand what the event is about and what kind of environment should be in place before the event begins. It helps the audience to get the most out of their time at the event.
An event host is the one who supports the event from the start to the end and bridges an invisible gap. That is the work.
So, what is the gap?
“Mind the gap”– it’s something we often hear in the metro. If you don’t mind the gap, you will stumble. And at events, the gap is even less visible than in a metro. That’s because in events, there is no physical “gap” to observe. It’s a more intuitive gap that the event host has to be mindful of. I help the event organizers clarify the tone of the event, keep things flowing in the decided direction and help the audience and speakers stay connected to the event.
How do I do that?
By remembering two simple things:
1) What is the purpose of the event
2) There is nothing to fear when talking to people
I have met many event organizers and fellow hosts who are afraid of going off-script or not having a detailed script. But truly there is nothing to be afraid of if we remember that it is easier to connect with others when we are genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. Every participant is attending an event for a reason and unless I can empathize with their need for connection, conversation and curiosity to learn, I will not be able to deliver the best experience. If as an event host, I were to enter the stage with a guarded attitude and a pre-decided script in mind, I would be violating the biggest rule of speaking to people— showing an interest in who they are.
So as an event host, I do not need to be prepared for every possible scenario with pre-scripted questions and answers. I can relax and try to engage others by asking questions, breaking the ice and keeping everyone alert and connected to what is going on. People benefit the most from presentations that are catered to their particular needs. As a host, it becomes my job to connect the dots— the need of the attendee to what is being delivered at the event.