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The Business of Cards

The business cards of an event emcee

Business cards are somewhat of a relic of the past. A master of ceremonies should definitely have a card indicating what he or she does, but it’s unlikely to be the reason you ever get work. People usually have to know you, or identify with items listed on your resume or website, to want to hire you to host a corporate event.

A card used to be a great way to remind someone you are speaking to in person how to reach you. Social media and websites and have made that much less relevant. The problem is often how does someone even remember to file away your card, or to add you to their social media once they have your card? Even then how do you get at the top of their list when they’re looking to hire a host.

Having them add you right away to their Instagram or LinkedIn is generally a better method, although that can seem inorganic depending on the moment. If you’re already the MC at an event chances are they know exactly how to reach you – they likely already reached you directly, or went through one of your agents. Your agent would not want them contacting you directly anyway to re-hire you to MC. That would have to be done through the agency again.

Fancy, or slick business cards, rather than rudimentary ones, are never a bad thing, and can be purchased at such low expense. But it’s often word-of-mouth of how you’ve done at other shows, and your more substantive promotional materials that will land you future hosting work.

Socializing with those you perform for as an MC

When you are the booked host you are often welcome to all of the social events before and after whatever the official event is. Many performers don’t like interacting with those they are doing any kind of performance for, especially before the event. Some of them feel as if they have to be “on” when speaking to people who will see them on stage later. Others may be tired from traveling or a previous performance, and just may want to rest in their room, or prepare for their upcoming hosting work that night/week.

You can often mine for information when you speak to the audience before your MC set. People will speak about their coworkers or boss, and you can use that when you are on stage. It can be difficult to work in that information on the fly, but usually an experienced host can do that while still remaining fluid, and polished, and while keeping the appropriate tone if you’re using comedy as part of your set.

Usually afterwards, there is something fun planned for the employees, often a concert or a cocktail hour – it can even be something lavish like a night on a yacht with celebrity performers. The event emcee is generally always welcome to attend. It’s a great time to bond with the group as whole and any kind of networking is excellent to get yourself re-booked in the future.

Your preferred hotel room

Generally a good hosting gig provides you with excellent accommodations – usually the hotel where the event is. Whoever hired you takes care of booking your hotel room. Some hosts are very savvy and know exactly which rooms to avoid – something near the housekeeping stock room, or something that catches all the pool noise. It’s up to you how particular you want to be. Even nice hotels can have an incredible amount of noise. If they are constructed courtyard-style noise often bounces up to your room unless you’re on a very high floor.

If your MC gig requires a lot of you, you may want to sleep in the next day, or you may want extra sleep the morning of the event. That can be tough depending on where your room is. Some nice hotels have a bar/restaurant inside that’s quite noisy and your room may catch a lot of it.

I know event emcees that like rooms with two beds instead of one, as that gives you a room that’s slightly bigger and a place to lay a lot of your stuff – generally hotels don’t have a lot of counter space. Most hotels, especially nice ones, have no problem accommodating whatever idiosyncratic needs you might have.

If you want a late checkout, that’s also usually not a problem. I would not however recommend counting on even a nice hotel giving you a wake-up call. I’ve had many of them miss that. When you host, your hours may be strange. Food may not be available when you want it. Make sure you plan accordingly.

Contracts of an event emcee

You want to protect yourself legally as much as you can when hired as an MC. A signed contract is an easy and practical way to do that. It should be drafted by an attorney, but even if it’s drafted by yourself that is far better than nothing.

It should include the total payment amount, how you expect to be paid, and what else is required for you to perform your hosting duties. That may include special equipment, specific accommodations, or other requests or expectations.

Whoever from the company you expect to sign the contract is potentially important. Generally, this should be the person in charge of paying the event emcee, or at least the person handing the host the check.

A deposit to hold the MC date is very common and always a good idea.

A contract for an emcee gig not only acts as a legal document, but equally useful it functions as an easy summary page for everything that was agreed upon by the two parties. If there’s ever any confusion both of you have something simple to refer back to.

A host does not have to be tech savvy to draft and sign a document. A printer and scanner will do the trick, or any number of online document signing programs.

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