It is possible to tell great stories that move your donors and also keep your night on track and moving fluidly, with every major player in place for the evening. You can do that with a stellar script. Scripts are a necessity for any type of event: hybrid, virtual, or live.
We go a little more in-depth here, in our virtual script deep-dive Some Scripts are Better than Others, but let’s get into the nuts and bolts of why a live (or hybrid) script is a must and why your language matters every step of the way.
A good script keeps everybody on task for the night; it’s not just your auctioneer or your MC, but also your speakers, your caterers, volunteers, and your tech and AV team.
Typically, your live script is going to look slightly different than your hybrid or your virtual script. You may think you can recycle your virtual script from last year but this is a case of sisters, not twins, when it comes to keeping your production and staff on track for the evening while having a great time.
Let’s look at the why a live event script is a must:
1. It Takes a Village: It’s not just your MC and your auctioneer on stage for the evening. We all know that live events need to be appropriately staffed and it’s not just your MC and auctioneer or AV team that needs to know your run of show. A clear script lets your caterers know when to come out and serve and helps your onsite coordinator keep things running smoothly for the evening. It looks like magic to your bidders and donors when your MC and host have a solid understanding of what comes next. The magic is what keeps your bidders and donors informed, engaged, and not distracted by catering collecting a plate or the wrong video being shown at the wrong time.
2. Public Speaking Ain’t Easy: I’d much rather have the story come out correctly and comfortably than have any speaker at an event give a perfect speech. Scripting keeps your guest speakers on the ball and feeling confident. Not everyone is a public speaker, but sometimes the podium calls. A script is the life vest, boat, and paddle for people not 100% thrilled about speaking in front of a crowd. Whether an exec, board member, or even your appeal speaker, we want people to feel comfortable sharing their stories and communicating with the crowd. Public speaking is vulnerable, whether telling their stories or telling the story of the organization, and we want the uninitiated speakers to have that tactile support during the event.
3. No Improv, Please: Seasoned auctioneers and hosts will be able to improv around a hiccup and make it seem like it’s part of the show or like it didn’t even happen, but we still need a script to keep the boat from hitting any icebergs during the event. We need names, titles, pronouns, and pronunciations to properly honor guests and speakers and keep the night flowing and fun. Even if you know a young, charismatic kid who you know is going to make a great impression on your donors and community, put a script in front of their eyeballs. When people get stuck for a transition, that’s when the unplanned F-Bombs accidentally start dropping, and there’s a time and a place for that, and it’s called open mic night at your local pub. Nobody’s doing it intentionally, it’s just a reflex. But it is a reflex that can be avoided.
4. Language Check: It’s very important for organizations that are predominately white to check the language you’re using during your event. As you draft your script or any remarks for the evening, it’s vital to remember that many sayings and colloquial expressions white communities use frequently and may think are harmless but have entered common conversation as racist, colonial, antisemitic, ableist, or anti-LGBTQIA+ derogatory statements. Flair's common phrases blog is a great place to start when looking at language, and I’d also recommend this list as well. When in doubt, leave it out.
5. You Don’t Always Have a Dress Rehearsal: You may not be able to run all your cues with your AV team and key players, so having a solid tech outline with lighting and AV cues will allow your AV team to comfortably work through the evening and do what they do best, which is make the behind-the-scenes magic happen. Everything looks seamless because of the foundation a script provides. If you’re lucky enough to get a full rehearsal with your AV team, hooray! But if not, they’re going to appreciate knowing exactly what to do and when throughout the night.
6. Keep Your Message On Point: At the end of the day, we want your audience to walk away knowing exactly what your organization does and why their donation matters. If your night is derailed a little because a speaker went on a tangent or an unseasoned MC said something off color or misrepresented the organization, that’s a big deal. It’s not so big you can’t recover from it next year, but having the right tools for the job from the beginning means more money raised and more support for your community.
This can feel daunting, but the great part is that you’re not alone. Scriptwriting is just one of the many things we offer, so reach out for more information!