World Class Emcee Ft. Mark Jeffries

What separates a good emcee from an amazing one? Mark Jeffries has been in the industry hosting events for 20 years, what sets him apart from the rest will surprise you!

Tell us your story.

I was a stock broker. My first job was in what we called in London, the City. There I was at Merril and Lynch, very young. I was going to be a broker. I share this on stage and my first day on the job was insane it was Black Monday 1987. That was the day where markets dropped between 20-40% in a single day. I stand on stage and tell people this story. I looked around me at the desk wondering, do people cry everyday on this job or just today? I stuck it out 5/6 years in finance and then I woke up one morning and I thought this is not for me. I hated it, I didn’t like the people, the hours, and my market was Japan even though I was in London, I had to be at the desk at 4:30 and wouldn’t get out until 7-8 pm. The money was good but everything else sucked. I decided to leave and I had some drinks asking what I wanted to do. I always wanted to be on TV. Everyone laughed, but I decided to give it a go. I paid for a film crew to help me create a show reel. If I look at it now, it’d be the most shameful recording on the planet. I sent it off everywhere VHS tape. Within 3 days I got a phone call from a small satellite channel and they needed a host. Next thing you know I’m directing producing and hosting a new TV show. I joke with my audiences that I specialized in TV shows nobody watched. Then came the next big change.

I was hosting a live financial TV show. Everyday I’d interview executives and they’d say I’m good at asking questions and ask me to do it at their live event. Fell in love with it, left TV behind and I ended up in the live event space, 20 years ago!

You’ve spent a good deal of time developing who you are. You do big stuff now.

I do count myself as very lucky. If you’re a keynote speaker, you’ll do a big speech you get your check you leave, done. When you host an event you become the face of the event. You become someone who’s job it is to make the company itself shine, make the executives sparkle and get the message out to the audience. If you do it well, you get invited back. Yes, big names, IBM, Oracle but what’s more important is how many years I’ve had a relationship with them.

How do you pick the right vibe for the brand?

You’re right every audience deserves a specific approach. I would not work for a wild crowd of young people looking to see the best juggler. Every audience requires a different host and energy. Somethings are consistent though. You have to have humor. You have to find those moments where there’s an element of comedy. I rarely plan a joke, but I have my intro, there’s things that work with every audience, after that’s done, we are out there. Things are happening live on stage. I’m watching, listening and when I think it’s right I’ll make a comedic remark. And sometimes you might go too far… I never want to do that. I make my funny comments few and far between but when I’m ready and I think it’s going to work I will deliver it. Humor has to be there the whole time but you have to be careful with it.

As an event planner you have to think who is the right person for my audience? You have to see what they are capable of. Does the person who you are hiring intend to spend the time to understand your company?

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