Using a professional master of ceremonies (also known as a meeting host) is becoming more common. Meeting hosts energize a program by infusing humor and fun into otherwise mundane housekeeping announcements, speaker introductions, and awards presentations.

Bob Metzger, communications advisor for Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America, says that the host his company has used for the past two years “is the ‘funny glue’ that holds everything together.”

In addition to the standard duties, you can use meeting hosts to:

Present new contests and announce new meeting sites.

Provide entertaining recaps of the sessions to help attendees to retain more.

Break up long working sessions with stretch breaks or comedy.

Star in highlights videos.

Because hosts must balance the role of being an outsider and an insider, planners should provide enough information and audience demographics so the host has a good understanding of the group. Finally, give the host a document that reflects his or her responsibilities.

Ruth Levine is the founder of Speak Inc., a speakers bureau based in San Diego. Reach her at (858) 457-9880 or at