3 keys to being an awesome event host

by Michael Rickwood —

Often at Ideas on Stage, we work with leaders, experts, inspirers, and entrepreneurs to spread their message both Inside and outside of their organizations to drive forward transformation and inspiration.

But as live events continue to bounce back after COVID, and the continuation of online events for those teams distributed around the world, the need for a solid, quick-thinking host to introduce speakers and panels, ask good questions and police the running time is needed more than ever in our time-sensitive world.

One thing that many companies are doing for internal events is offering the role to someone internally rather than going outside to find a professional. Usually, as an opportunity to increase visibility for the individual and reduce the onboarding around topic and content. But it does come at some risk if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So, as you’re reading this maybe someone has approached you also to be the host of their event, and then bam! You ask yourself “What the heck do I do?!”

Here I want to share three tips to help you get started.

1. Eliminate the doubt.

Know exactly every step of your event and what you plan to say or do at every transition. What will you say in the introduction? What questions do you plan to ask in the interviews and how do you plan to conclude? Take the time to review the event plan (usually in the form of an Excel), do your research on your guests and coordinate with the tech team whenever necessary.

2. Stay in the flow from beginning to end.

This is easier said than done but at no moment can you afford to stop listening or stop paying attention. That’s why being a host is EXHAUSTING. Work to stay focused on the other speakers when it’s not your turn (in case you’re needed). Keep listening attentively during all questions and exchanges and be prepared for anything, especially if one of the speakers finishes early and there is a gaping hole of 5 minutes in the program, which needs to be filled.

3. Rehearse your intro 10 times.

This might sound laborious but the only way to start on a good footing is to start the event with energy and confidence. There is no better way to do this than with a killer intro. It will put you in good stead for the rest of the event.

Being a good host is not something you’ll master straight away. It takes practice. I’ve been doing it for over 11 years. What’s important to remember is to take pressure off and find the fun in doing it. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help. We have solutions for every budget.

(Michael has been a regular event host and animator for the last 12 years, most notably for Vivatechnology Paris on the Discovery Stage since 2017)