Rule #4 for planning your fundraiser or corporate event: Hire the right emcee

I would like to meet you person and shake your hand firmly while maintaining good eye contact and using your name twice in every sentence. That is not possible right now. So I will suggest plan B. When you go to hire a great act, the first thing you might want to identify is the performers body of work and the critical response to it. If their website shows strong critical praise over consistent years of work, you have a great start. For example when a critic from a major newspaper spouts praise for a performer, it’s a sign of tried and tested material and delivery. As strong as word of mouth is, if a performer lacks press it might be your first sign to keep looking. Everyone can generate a “letter of recommendation” from a show they did for Bob’s Drywall Company. Turns out “Bob” is the performers “uncle,” so buyer beware. Despite that, “Bob" knows drywall.

When it comes to embellishing a resume, few have done a better job than speakers and performers. If a performer gets a delivery to his home from UPS, it may show up on his resume….”Has worked with companies like Bob’s Drywall and UPS.

Sounds impressive-and it’s a large, recognizable company-but it may be a big stretch or uneven an untruth.

Here is a tip I learned from a master salesman. Meet a need. Over deliver. Be trustworthy. Trust is the magical goal when you are in a corporate or fundraising environment. Comedy is based on trust. When you cross the trust line is when trouble happens. Maybe the act you are looking at has a good, crisp 2 minute video. Can that act go 40 minutes at the same pace and content quality? That is why reviews from critics are a solid endorsement.

I have seen a room temperature change instantly when a performers crosses the trust line. It doesn’t take much. You do one innuendo-or a bash of any kind-and prepare for trouble from people who will be offended. Perhaps even the HR department may get an e-mail or two the following day. And if you are doing a show for Bob’s Drywall, don’t insult sheet rock.


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