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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best Holiday Party Has a DJ with Great MC Skills

I dedicate an entire page on my website to answer the question Why Hire a Professional MC and DJ?.
The MC or Master of Ceremonies is one of the biggest contributors to the success of an event and can also be the least understood. So much of what is done to keep timing, flow and energy on track is behind the scenes so the impact is felt but the host and guests are really unaware of the effort. The best steering of a party is done subtly so it appears to be happening on its own. Most party givers hope that chemistry among their guests will carry the party and its success will feel organic without forcing it.

I have taken many workshops from nationally acclaimed performance trainer, Mark Ferrell. Mark's acronym for the three primary functions of an emcee is DIG which stands for Direct, Guide and Inform. Event guests arrive at a party with expectations to be entertained. A great MC can move guests emotionally with great announcements, introductions and storytelling as well as moving them literally within the facility when necessary for the function.

So let's take a look at some of the parts of a holiday party that can be greatly enhanced when the person on the microphone is experienced and polished.

1. Welcome – Every event needs an introduction to engage the audience and make them feel comfortable. I feel this welcoming should be done by the emcee even if it is leading into the opening speech by the CEO or head of the department throwing the party. This person is always a V.I.P. and should get a deserving introduction. A great welcome really sets the tone for the rest of the event.

2. Door Prizes and Raffles – Anytime I can get involved in giveaways I make sure to do so. I have witnessed too many mic shy administrative assistants with no speaking skills struggle with this task when it should actually be fun and upbeat. Nothing kills the energy faster than reading seven digit raffle ticket numbers in a monotone when the first four digits are all the same on everyone's ticket anyway. When you choose to do the drawings during the event can also make a huge difference because it affects timing, flow and how long the guests will stay.

3. Skits and Performances – Another popular item on holiday party agendas is a skit, sing-a-long or other performance usually by employees with inside office humor. These types of amateur presentations always come off better when the MC commands the audience's attention is prepared with the audio track, microphones and delivers a professional into/outro. Even if the employees' performance is intended to be cheesy, the MC can make the whole experience better fit into the entire evening with the right guidance.

4. Announcements – Whether it is a simple notification that someone left their car lights on, a lost and found item or the arrival of a special guest like Santa Clause an experienced MC will be better understood, not obtrusive and best command the attention of the audience. It is grossly obvious when an unprofessional speaker tries to address an audience and normally the result is that he or she gets ignored.

5. Games and Ice Breakers
– Over many holiday seasons I have orchestrated games and audience participation at corporate events. Socializing with fellow workers and their spouses can create a new dynamic which is not always natural. Many of my clients have looked to me for suggestions on ways to break the ice at their holiday parties. For details on some of these ideas please call me at 408-298-7710 or e-mail me at carl@imcevents.com.

6. Casino Games – Another popular addition to holiday parties has been to bring in casino gaming with many companies now specializing in this service. An experienced MC knows how to combine gaming with dancing and any other forms of entertainment. The object is to keep as many guests as possible simultaneously engaged with both gaming and dancing. One popular casino format is to have the gamers be rewarded with raffle tickets which calls for a late night drawing of prizes. Coordination of all these events takes a good sense of timing and an MC with lots of experience.

7. Dancing – Finally it only makes sense if the DJ/MC brings in a great sound system and thousands of tunes that your guests take advantage of the dance floor. Although the demographic can vary greatly among employees it is still not as diverse as a wedding reception which makes for a little easier programming of music styles. I encourage my clients to solicit requests around the company in advance of the party so I will be well prepared to satisfy everyone.

So never underestimate the impact an MC can have on your holiday party or any other event. A great DJ can keep the party going with the right songs at the right time but music is only one part of the formula. If dancing is not the primary focus of the event which is often the case, then the responsibility for the success of the event lies even greater in the hands of the Master of Ceremonies.

Feel free to contact me and I will be glad to visit your office for a presentation. I can bring along all kinds of ideas to help jump start your holiday event and make it unique. Warming up rooms of people is what I do for a living. You can reach me on the phone at 408-298-7710, on the web at www.imcevents.com or e-mail at carl@imcevents.com.

Happy Holidays to you and best of luck with all of your plans for entertaining this season!

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