September 30, 2012

Why A Master Of Ceremonies (MC) Matters

MCby Promod Sharma, CC

When you're speaking at an event, you feel important, and are. (You may also feel terrified, which is where Toastmasters helps if you join early enough.)

The Master of Ceremonies (or Moderator or Chair) is also very important. I didn't think this role mattered until I attended TEDxIBYork at the Ontario Science Centre. David Newland was exceptional. He made everything look smooth.

Since then, I've appreciated how an MC makes a difference. It's easy to find lousy ones. Maybe they aren't comfortable speaking or didn't care enough to prepare.

Best Practices

A great MC
  • takes responsibility: this includes preparing and compensating for any problems which may arise
  • improvises: reading entirely from a script drains energy
  • exudes a personality: this helps in getting the audience ready for the speakers


Last week, I gave a presentation on Building Trust With LinkedIn. The MC is Chris Paterson (LinkedIn profile), who I've known for several years. Watch what he does during the introduction and conclusion. You can skip the rest (for now!).

Chris deviated from the bio I provided in advance. Instead, he told a story and endorsed me. This is valuable for the audience and speaker.
After I finished, Chris gave a summary and expanded on what I said. That helps the audience and feels good for the speaker.


Chris gave introductions and summaries for all three speakers. He also moderated the panel discussion which followed. He unified the event and made it bigger than the individual presentations.

Next time, pay more attention to the MC. You'll learn from the good and not-so-good ones. For practice, volunteer to be Chair at your Toastmasters club.


You'll find Promod Sharma's presentations like Building Trust With LinkedIn on YouTube.

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