What could go wrong with the Emcee?

What could go wrong with the Emcee? I usually think of myself and most of my colleagues as problem solvers and fixers. But ignoring that some Emcees could become the problem would be naive.

The Emcee plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow and coordination of the event. However, it is important to acknowledge that challenges can arise with the Emcee, which can potentially impact the overall experience for attendees.

One of the authors of the book Events Management (by Glenn A. J. Bowdin, Johnny Allen, William O’Toole, Robert Harris, Ian McDonnell, 2006, Elsevier Ltd., Great Britain) has posed this question to event managers at many event workshops: «What could go wrong with the Emcee?»
Some of the problems identified include:

  • Being inebriated
  • Not turning up
  • Leaving early
  • Not reading the script
  • Using inappropriate language
  • Having a scruffy appearance
  • Believing they are the main act
  • Being unable to use a microphone
  • Insulting the sponsor.

The authors add: «This does not imply that these are common problems; however, an event manager would be foolish to ignore the experience of others».

Well, some of these answers are quite unexpected. And the one about the insults is almost incredible.
Let’s go deeper.


One of the primary concerns that event managers have come across is the Emcee being inebriated. This can be a disastrous situation, as an intoxicated Emcee is unable to perform their duties effectively and can reflect poorly on the event. It is crucial for event managers to ensure that Emcees are professional and responsible individuals who understand the importance of maintaining sobriety during the event.


Another challenge that event managers may face is the Emcee not showing up for the event. This can cause significant disruptions and leave event organizers scrambling to find a replacement at the last minute. To mitigate this risk, event managers should establish clear contracts and agreements with Emcees, outlining their obligations and consequences for non-appearance.

Early Departure

Similar to non-appearance, an Emcee leaving the event early can create difficulties for event managers. It disrupts the planned schedule and can leave attendees feeling confused or disappointed. Event managers should ensure that Emcees are committed to staying for the duration of the event, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Script Ignorance

One of the key responsibilities of an Emcee is to read and follow the event script. However, event managers have encountered instances where Emcees fail to familiarize themselves with the script, leading to awkward transitions, missed announcements, or incorrect information being conveyed. Event managers should emphasize the importance of script preparation and provide clear guidelines to Emcees to ensure they are well-prepared.

Inappropriate Language

Using inappropriate language is another challenge that event managers have faced with Emcees. It is essential for Emcees to maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout the event. Event managers should communicate their expectations regarding language and conduct to Emcees beforehand, and establish a process for addressing any concerns during the event.


The appearance of the Emcee can also impact the overall impression of the event. Event managers have encountered situations where Emcees have shown up with a scruffy appearance, which can undermine the professionalism of the event. Event managers should communicate dress code expectations to Emcees and ensure they understand the importance of presenting themselves appropriately.

Ego and Misplaced Focus

Some Emcees may have a tendency to believe that they are the main act of the event, overshadowing the actual purpose or performers. This can result in a lack of coordination and a disjointed experience for attendees. Event managers should select Emcees who understand their role as facilitators and are able to strike a balance between engaging the audience and highlighting the main event.

Microphone Skills

Emcees who struggle with using a microphone can pose a challenge for event managers. Poor microphone skills can lead to issues with audibility, causing frustration for attendees who are unable to hear important announcements or performances. Event managers should ensure that Emcees are comfortable and proficient in using microphones, and provide them with adequate training if necessary.

Sponsor Insults

Lastly, event managers have encountered situations where Emcees have made derogatory or insulting remarks about event sponsors. This can damage relationships and jeopardize future sponsorships. Event managers should brief Emcees about the importance of maintaining positive relationships with sponsors and ensure they understand the consequences of any inappropriate comments.

So, what could go wrong with the Emcee? Well, more than I imagined!

It is important to note that while these challenges have been identified by event managers’ experiences, they are not necessarily common occurrences. However, event managers should be aware of these potential issues and take proactive measures to mitigate them. By selecting reliable and professional Emcees, establishing clear expectations, and providing adequate support and guidance, event managers can minimize the likelihood of these challenges arising.

Contact a professional Emcee

I am an Emcee in Milan, Rome and all over Italy, I work in private and corporate events, conferences and all types of events. I am also a Facilitator for Team Building. If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me »

Article Name
What could go wrong with the Emcee?
The authors of "Events Management" has asked to event managers: «What could go wrong with the Emcee?» The answers are quite unexpected...
Publisher Name
Attilio Reinhardt
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