Luke Hannan, the 289th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, comes alive when he appears on stage.

Luke is a professional MC, as well as a roundtable moderator and public speaking coach, who hosts corporate events in front of hundreds of people.

Part of why Luke loves his job so much is because he feeds off the energy of the room. He also enjoys the challenge of making people care about the speakers he’s introducing and bringing the audience with him through what can be long, tiring days.

The key to being a great event host is preparation, Luke says. He doesn’t just rock up on the day. Instead, he takes the time to understand the organiser’s objectives, so he can tailor his content accordingly. He also writes compelling speaker introductions, so the audience not only feels excited about what’s to come but also understands the speakers’ value.

Luke, I discovered, is an excellent communicator. That means he’s both a very good talker and a very good listener. During a conference, he pays close attention to the audience, and will adjust his content or style if he feels he needs to change their mood.

Those are the skills you learn when you’ve hosted more than 800 events.

Luke’s journey to becoming a professional MC started many years ago, while working in the corporate office of a bank. Most people are terrified of public speaking, but when Luke was asked to deliver a series of presentations to staff, he discovered he loved the feeling.

I know that audiences would also love Luke. He’s got great energy and is a genuinely warm, caring person. When I told him about a friend who runs a charity, he generously offered to MC her events for free.