The ‘New Normal’ of Events, As Told By a Professional Emcee
Here’s a term you’re probably sick of hearing by now: the ‘new normal.’ You’ve probably heard this term countless times since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, right? The ‘new normal’ has been used to refer to virtually everything, from the way we shop for groceries to how we connect with friends. And with the world beginning to return to life as we know it, there’s now a ‘new normal’ for events, too.
Take it from a professional emcee who’s hosted more than 200+ virtual events over the past 365 days, this new era of events is one for the books. Attendees across the globe are searching for laughter, connection, and engagement — and professional emcees like me are ready to give it to them! As live shows begin to return to the main stage, learn more about the ‘new normal’ of events and how a professional emcee can help guide the way.
Forget Live or Virtual, Hybrid is the New Normal
Let’s be real: There’s nothing like the feeling of walking in front of a jam-packed audience and making the entire room erupt into laughter. Throughout the pandemic, this feeling was hard to replicate through a computer screen. However, it wasn’t impossible. And for the people at home who were caring for themselves or sick loved ones, these virtual events were an outlet into the outside world we all missed so much.
Moving forward, it’s silly to think that these virtual events will go anywhere anytime soon. They’re simply too convenient for audience members who physically can’t or would prefer not to attend events in person. With live shows revving back into venues near you, you should anticipate that events will no longer be live or virtual only. Instead, hybrid events will be the ‘new normal.’
In other words, event planners and professional emcees alike should anticipate a virtual component for every live event. For every workshop, keynote, or anniversary celebration, plan for viewers to be able to dial in from the comfort of their own homes. And with this expectation in mind, remember that you’ll need to supply virtual exclusives as well.
Attendees at Home Expect Virtual Exclusives
We’ve all been part of a virtual event that simply feels like a Zoom meeting gone rogue. The presenter runs over time, the guest speaker can’t turn their video on, and the chatroom is all but abandoned. Early in the pandemic, a lot of virtual events felt this way — haphazard and a bit chaotic. That is, before professional emcees entered the scene.
Across the board, professional emcees such as myself have tuned in from personal studios to lead virtual events and guide digital chatrooms. With the power of a virtual event product company, fully-digital events didn’t need to feel so, well, digital! Now that some attendees will be in-person while others remain virtual, it’s essential that those at home still receive virtual exclusives, especially for paid events.
Ways to offer exclusive value to those tuning into a live event from home include:
- Designate a professional emcee to engage in the chatroom
- Encourage a Q&A in which questions are selected from those at home
- Partner with a production company to give virtual attendees a look behind the scenes
- Send swag to virtual attendees’ homes so they can participate remotely
Remember, your live audience will already have access to exclusives like networking and interview opportunities, just by their very nature of being in-person. In the era of the ‘new normal,’ don’t forget to provide those at home with similar perks designed just for them. By partnering with a professional emcee, you can ensure those at home are still receiving an exclusive experience.
Comfortability is Still Paramount
Now more than ever, it’s crucial to remain respectful of everyone’s level of comfortability. As we begin to segue into live events and social gatherings, everyone’s safety should still be top of mind. Therefore, it’s wise to implement a type of system at live events that allows attendees to indicate their level of comfortability.
As a professional emcee, one way I’ve seen companies implement this ‘new normal’ system is with color-coded lanyards. It looks a bit like this:
- Green Lanyard: I’m comfortable with physical interaction and would like to come on stage.
- Yellow Lanyard: I’m cautious about physical interaction and would rather remain in the audience.
- Red Lanyard: I’m uncomfortable with physical interaction and would like to keep to myself.
This type of system is helpful for everyone involved. For the live professional emcee, it’s a clear signal of who would like to be part of the on-stage entertainment and who would rather sit it out. It’s also wonderful for other attendees, who can better judge which individuals feel comfortable with networking versus those who would rather watch the event unfold from the sidelines.
Before jumping right into your next ‘new normal’ event, plan for a similar way to gauge attendee comfortability. This way, you can get right to the heart of engagement without any worry.
Engagement Now Has a Deeper Meaning
Before the pandemic, engagement was a bit of a buzzword that alluded to event attendees becoming hands-on or involved with the event material. Now, engagement has a bit of a deeper meaning. After months at home — and many spent alone — attendees are craving connection. They’re missing those little nuances that couldn’t be replicated virtually, like bumping into an old friend by the bar or snack table.
So, it’s essential that event planners and professional emcees account for buffer time. Encourage impromptu meetings by the spinach dip or for new friends to meet over the water cooler. Allow for time in the event schedule for networking, and leverage a professional emcee to help guide conversations.
As a bonus, the best professional emcees (like me!) will also mingle among the audience when off stage. This is a chance to dive deeper into the event material and ensure each attendee is involved in meaningful conversation. Plus, it allows the emcee to hear first-hand what audience members are actually talking about, so additional material or workshops can be planned in the future.
Politics Are Still Taboo
Okay, so this one might not be so ‘new’, after all. But just in case you needed a brief refresher, politics are still taboo. So are jokes about people’s appearance, their personal preferences, and anything else that would make an attendee uncomfortable or embarrassed. In the ‘new normal,’ there’s a need for downright clean comedy — material that simply makes people laugh, without any controversial jokes.
As a professional emcee with more than a decade of experience headlining on the Las Vegas strip, avoiding politics, religion, and other hot-button subjects has always been my style. Take it from me, you can absolutely still entertain an audience without diving into current events. From physical comedy like juggling to poking fun of industry competitors, stay on the safe side of the ‘new normal’ with entertainment that doesn’t make anyone feel out of place.
Let a Professional Emcee Lead the Way
This ‘new normal’ of events isn’t too different after all. With the inclusion of hybrid events, virtual exclusives, and new ways to engage and judge comfortability, the next era of events is ramping up to be some of the most exciting shows yet. If you’re uneasy about how to make the transition into live or hybrid events, let a professional emcee be your guide.
A professional emcee (or Master of Ceremonies) is a virtuoso of virtual, live, and hybrid events. We introduce speakers, segue into activities, and entertain the crowd, all while maintaining a high level of energy. A professional emcee like me knows how to energize attendees both in-person and at home, so your ‘new normal’ event can be extraordinary.
What are you waiting for?! Your audience is on the edge of their seat waiting for the next event. Partner with a professional emcee today to help lead the way.