Three tips for successful event hosting

By Gary Mach

You are in charge of your organization’s big event.  Everything is ready to go… except, for the “host.”  Many people who play important roles in an organization are not good speakers.  A skilled host can help make a good event great.  This is someone who is comfortable and experienced speaking in front of groups, has a sense of humor, and knows the mechanics of working a crowd.

If you are the host, here are three tips to consider.

1. Script it, and practice it.  Read the script out loud. With a few practice sessions, it will appear that you are not truly reading, but rather using notes to simply stay on schedule.  Use an outline of the points that need to be covered. Speak clearly, somewhat slower than normal conversation, and look up from the script from time to time to make eye contact with your audience. If you will be introducing people, be sure to look at their names in advance. If necessary, spell them out phonetically (fo –net- ick- a-lee) in your script to make pronunciation easier.

2. Relax and enjoy it!  Remember to relax,  the focus is not truly on you. Your job is to make things go smoothly and to put the audience at ease.  So smile, take a breath, have a sip of water, and enjoy your time at the podium.  Body language is important.  Stand comfortably, feet spaced apart the same distance as your shoulders. Your hands should either be by your side, or rest on the podium out of sight of the audience. You can use one hand to “track” your way through the script, and turn the pages.  Try not to “grip” the sides of the podium with the whites of your knuckles showing.

3. Microphone/PA use. You should be able to hear yourself in the public address (PA) system and can adjust your volume by moving closer or further away as necessary.  Whatever you do, don’t apologize for your presentation before it begins.  No matter what happens, just roll with it and show some humor if things don’t work exactly as planned.  Everything you can do to put your audience at ease will make the event more successful for you and your organization.

Gary Mach is a freelance writer, trainer, facilitator and event host.  Find him at




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