Professional Event Compere: “The Charismatic Host for Your Event”
Steve Bustin is one of those people who can not just compere an event but understands the science behind it.
As a former journalist with major UK press organisations and a public relations professional, Steve knows what makes people tick. This gives him the ability to hold events together, grab an audience and provide an entertaining ride, even when things behind the scenes might be going wrong.
Steve Bustin was always a communicator. He gave his first speech when he was 11 years old and as he admits himself, he hasn’t stopped communicating since. He was also once, unknowingly, the face of a dating scam. After his image was used online he turned the tables on the scammers.
Steve is also a practitioner of improvisation. He believes it is an essential skill for compereing an event. It’s essential, he says, to bounce off an audience rather than stick to the script of a formal speech.
One of Steve’s biggest lessons was appearing on stage in front of thousands of people and being asked to lead everyone in singing the “event song”. As to what happened, you’ll need to listen to the episode!
Steve believes the three most important things for being a compere are the three C’s – Content, Creativity and Confidence
Steve‘s Top Speeches
- Compering doesn’t really have a title but as a speaker: Get Your Voice Heard
- I Was The Face of a Dating Scam
- Sowing the Seeds of Business Growth
Key lessons from this episode
- Plan to roll with the punches. Even if you have a set speech, be ready and willing to adapt to the audience on the day.
- To compere you need to improvise. Do improvisation classes and build your skillset.
- Things WILL go wrong, make a joke of it. If you have fun with it the audience will laugh along with you. If you try to pretend nothing happened, this is when it all falls apart.
- Compereing is about being in the “moment”. A talk is often a pre-set performance.
- Event organisers are looking for a “safe pair of hands” when they book a compere. A compere must hold the event together, be a friend to the speakers, keep everything on time, manage the mood in the room and represent the clients brand.
- A common part of the work of a compere is to host auctions. This takes skill. The event organiser is looking to you to get people to open up their credit cards. The success of the auction is down to you. Part of that is done before the event by ensuring the prizes are ones people will want.
- Should you bill a charity event to compere for them? Ask yourself, is everyone at the event a volunteer? If so, then yes, consider doing it for free. If anyone is being paid, such as the audio visual people, then no. You are bringing value to the event. That is a billable value.
- Don’t undersell yourself. To corporates a 5000GBP speaking fee is a drop in the ocean. The tea and biscuits bill will be higher!
- Diversify – You may be a compere primarily but to make this your business diversify. Are you a coach and a consultant too?
- Never promote your brand when you are being paid to compere an event. You are there to represent them, not you, and that is what they are paying for.
- To learn and connect, join mastermind groups or professional speakers associations. Don’t do it all alone. It’s much easier to do it with others.