Darren Isenberg, a co-founder of corporate training firm impact entertainers, may not be a household name but he is one of the corporate world’s most in-demand MCs, Trainers and Facilitators.
Since 1995 he has provided his services at over one thousand events ... yes, hundreds of clients in an incredibly wide range of industries in more than five countries (it’s six, actually) have used him and been amused by him. His lack of celebrity means he has relied simply on his skill, his humour and his talent ... rather than any name and fame ... to become regarded as the MC to turn to when you want warmth, wit and personality to be a feature of your conference.
When Darren is the MC of a conference, whether it is a corporate, association or government event, he brings something to the room that is often lacking at educational forums – PERSONALITY.
His early career as a High School Economics teacher taught him that PEOPLE LEARN BETTER WHEN THEY ARE ENJOYING THEMSELVES so he injects himself into a conference program in order to provide some humour, some creative insight into the topics and some energy.
His understanding of business (courtesy of his Commerce degree, majoring in Marketing) means that he is often able to contribute to a conference program well beyond the role of simply an MC. He relishes being able to interview CEOs and other special guests (rather than having them give a traditional presentation) and being involved as a moderator in panel discussions and open forums, or a facilitator in brainstorms and workshops.
He ensures that a corporate audience is NOT a passive, static collection of tired people. His entertaining speaker introductions and wrap-up remarks at the end of a presentation are a much-appreciated feature of conference day … no matter the conference subject matter or the group it is for.
Darren always writes his own scripts.This saves the client significant time and stress in the lead-up to the event. It also means Darren is involved in the event from weeks in advance. He contacts the speakers via email in order to do his research so he gets a real feel for them, their topics and the event.
His meticulously-prepared, uniquely-entertaining speaker introductions can become a real highlight of the conference … and ensure that the atmosphere in the room at the start of each and every presentation (even those ones after lunch on Day Three!) is vibrant and energized.
Darren’s ability to think quick, be spontaneously funny and understand business (remember … he’s not an actor or a comedian ... he is a former economics teacher whose career path reached a point of diminishing returns!) enables him to inject insightful comments at the appropriate moments and interview CEOs, facilitate panels and run Q & A sessions that often provide unexpected moments of gold throughout a conference program.
He can also provide Presentation Skills training (through either a Keynote Address or a Concurrent Workshop), design and run team-building activities (whether during the day or over a dinner) as well as moderate a comedy debate, turn sponsor segments into interesting interviews (called Sponsor Speakeasies) and inject Energiser activities throughout the day.
A casual yet corporate style, Darren injects humour, creativity and energiser activities to assist a long day of presentations become much more tolerable and entertaining.
The well-being of delegates whilst they are in a conference room is what determines whether a conference is effective in reaching its educational goals. Tired or bored delegates learn very little in business sessions. Darren understands that they sometimes need a little help staying awake, so he ensures that his MCing keeps the audience involved, either mentally (through humour) or physically (through activity).
Darren is equally at home MCing a multi-day conference, as he is a roadshow or an Awards Night ... and the size of the audience can range from twenty to two thousand or more. Whilst his clients hail from a broad spectrum of industries, he has become a particularly popular MC within the financial industry (especially for groups consisting of brokers, advisers, planners and bank staff) as well as with franchise groups, where his warmth and understanding of small business quickly establishes him as part of the franchise family.
Darren has spent the last nine years making people feel happy at corporate events, whether through his humorous MC'ing, his tailor-made team-building activities or by keeping his distance.
Darren has worked with top-level financial, accounting, IT, legal, pharmaceutical and retail concerns as well as having been used extensively in the lead-up to and during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games for SOCOG and related functions. He is also experienced in TV and radio, owning one of each.
His mix of humour with his well-researched industry knowledge enables him to provide unique introductions for people, no matter how often they have been introduced in the past. His ad-libbed observations that he throws in when working crowds or thanking a guest speaker have become legendary amongst his many regular clients.
He has introduced and interviewed politicians, business leaders and famous sporting identities, putting both his audience and his guests at ease through his professional yet easy-going approach. He has also worked amongst crowds in 'Vox Pops' situations, thriving on the interaction and spontaneity that comes from working with members of the public.
In all, Darren's quick wit, friendly demeanour and business training (he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce - majoring in Marketing - from UNSW), means he is able to have input in your conference over and above many other MCs.
From his facilitation of panels and brainstorm sessions, to his interviews of CEOs, to his ideas on planning an agenda structure that is best for the delegates - Darren offers much and always delivers. Reading the selection of client feedback over the page will indicate how he brings more than just a voice to an event.
The feedback and praise for Darren has been nothing short of phenomenal and they seemed delighted to have found an MC who understands how to simultaneously have fun with, and also maintain intellectual integrity with, all audiences.
He is often asked to facilitate Q & A and Panel Sessions, so he researches the topic and finds the balance between fun and seriousness needed for the occasion. His clients include the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac, ANZ, MLC, Optus, MBF, Coca-Cola, Red Rooster, Nestle, Wrigley, IBM and Hyundai as well as many, many Industry Associations.
Darren injects a strong element of fun and believes that delegates learn more when they are enjoying themselves. Darren also runs Team Building sessions and tailors fun quizzes and Survivor Nights over dinners and creative hunts and movie-making activities during days.Some fun activities to brighten your next conference are:-
An energiser is a brief, fun activity that are like little 'pep pills' in the middle of an arduous stretch of presentation, energisers make an event even more memorable for the delegates and, when positioned between speakers, help revitalise flagging attention spans.
A fully tailored trivia quiz where the questions and activities all relate to your company or conference. A quiz where intellect is the least important element, because trivia is the least important element. The emphasis is on group activities and team-building, usually over a meal, as teams work together to answer quirky questions and undertake fun challenges. Ideal for a conference ice-breaker or final night's dinner, a light hearted method of educating people about your product.
A fun, challenging treasure hunt, tailored to your company and conference venue, involving cryptic clues and fun challenges that teams solve and undertake in order to score points.
Without question, Darren was the best MC I have ever used for a conference. Darren exceeded everyone's expectations ... mine (the conference manager), the audience, the speakers and the sponsors. It was obvious that Darren put a huge amount of preparation into his scripts which continually produced an eruption of laughter and cheers from the audience. As an event manager, it was great to know that Darren was in direct contact with all presenters leading up to the conference busily gathering information, introducing himself and laying down the rules of engagement! The result was smooth and seamlessly flowing agenda that kept the audiences attention, motivation and importantly attendance from Day One through until Day Three. I only wish we had used Darren to his full potential which I have been told goes beyond the traditional role of a master of ceremonies ..."
As the conference's MC you managed to keep our audience alert and energised throughout several intense business sessions. The workshop debrief showcased your interview and facilitation skills, where you made a seemingly difficult task into an easy one using your intelligence, quick wit and intuition. As MC we also appreciate the research you put into preparing personalised introductions for all speakers as this helped to set the tone for a very polished conference.
I trust you enjoyed the event as much as our delegates enjoyed your "Yoga Class" during the Energiser session and I don't think many of them will forget the "Voyage Of Discovery" around Cairns ... it was a great way of introducing our delegates to a greater amount of local product knowledge in a fun-filled environment.
Having had the great benefit of Darren's expertise as MC at two conferences to date, I cannot recommend his services too highly. From the beginning of the event until 'the curtain fell' Darren overlaid his own brand of humour on proceedings including well-researched comments and anecdotes that were extremely well received by the delegates; in fact they were rapturous in their feedback - of the Conference in general and Darren in particular. As one delegate wrote, "How good is this guy?" I am sure that the major reason for the success of both Conferences was Darren's ability to keep the pace moving along and the whole event a lot of fun. A professional MC preferably one with a sense of humour, makes all the difference.
Howard Storage World
His introductions to the sessions ensured that the audience started each session with a laugh and a little excitement, which not only made the conference more memorable, but also managed to tune their attention into the speaker.
In many ways his witty, and well researched interludes, between the various sessions proved to be the highlight for the delegates. Darren succeed in keeping everybody on their toes and brought them to life with a few amusing anecdotes in the intervals. We were very impressed with the amount of background work he had done and the way in which he managed to weave his light-hearted comments into the conference content. Darren's work with us highlights that being a good conference MC needs a professional approach, which is well researched and rehearsed. In the past we have used well know personalities as MC, often at considerable expense - and, apart form being a well known face, they are in some instances not particularly good MC's. Darren is a professional at what he does and this shows through. We were also impressed at how flexible Darren was in his work, being highly approachable and being able to ad lib and cope with last minute changes.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia
In the past we had our own internal person act as the MC which meant that the event was a bit like an end of school year speech night. By having you as MC, it brought the entire event up to an entirely new level of professionalism. One of the most impressive things was the amount of research you did to make your MCing role work for this particular industry and the delegates at the event. The highlight was watching a Ballroom full of 'meat' men, actually standing up and hugging each other, as you had instructed them to do, as the ice breaker to the awards dinner. It was hysterical for everyone in the room. Not only did you MC the event exceptionally well but you did it with style and wit, the likes of which we had not experienced before. Without a question, you are worth every cent. This was the third time that Lehman ' Associates had put you forward as MC and we did not hesitate to accept their recommendation.
Australian Meat Industry Council
Darren gave us some great, easy to apply tools to enhance our presentations to be more engaging and enjoyable for both presenter and audience. It doesn't matter how many times you have done presentation skills courses you can always learn more and improve.
National Sales Director, CSL
Darren's session was first class... a great mix of humour and content!!
MLC Sales Manager
We've had such presentations before but what set yours apart was that you gave people practical ideas and applications, which they could take away and use immediately.
Executive Director, AUSTSWIM
Feedback from the group – and not just the executives - has been overwhelmingly positive. They appreciated the format of the day, your efforts and also the interaction with colleagues who they normally do not associate with. As this was one of the key objectives of the day, we are really happy with the results.
NRMA Motoring Services
BRILLIANT!!! Beautifully prepared and completely in the moment. Very witty, very knowledgeable. The perfect MC!!" You were also vital in keeping energy levels up with the icebreakers at the beginning and during the day and helped to ensure smooth running of the speakers. I also thought your closing speech was relevant and upbeat and believe that it resonated with everyone at the Forum, demonstrating that you had an understanding of our business and what we do.
WESTPAC Private Bank
Tata Consultancy Services was certainly impressed with your work in the last Summit. The sense of humor you bring in, as well as the level of research you do prior to the event are outstanding.
TATA Consultancy Services Singapore
May I say on a personal level, I found Darren to be absolutely charming. He was so good managing the Exec's and related Technical people, took a lot of pressure off my shoulders and really ran things very smoothly. He was very engaging with the audience and very funny when announcing.
“Thank you, Darren, for the outstanding job as MC at our conference. You exceeded our expectations in what were a challenging few days where we needed to address the agenda and content issues on the spot. You were with us into the early hours of the morning providing input and advice to make sure we addressed some issues of Day 1 to ensure we delivered an outstanding Day 2 of conferencing - we delivered. When seriousness and focus was required, you read the room and stepped up but equally your sense of timing and delivery of humour was right on the mark too, at other times. A great job as MC but an equally great job supporting the leadership team throughout with advice on presentations and conference format while creating a warm and entertaining environment for all involved. Thanks again.
ANZ Retail Distribution
Darren Isenberg is the ultimate MC for a conference. His quick wit and charm mask his highly professional preparation that produces a seemless and integrated experience. Our people felt like Darren was part of our business and knew us very well. As a speaker and key business manager it was very important to me that our conference provided the 200+ delegates with an upbeat and fast paced agenda, and Darren mastered this brilliantly. It was great to be able to relax and enjoy the conference knowing that we were in safe and funny hands.
Retail & Corporate Distribution MBF
Darren was one of the most organised MC’s I have come across in my time within events. Most MC’s often walk in ½ prior to the event and that is their prep - but not Darren. Darren’s preparation for the event was excellent. He had his own runsheet prepared, additional slides and music for the award winners. He even had created our very own Anthem for the event. Thanks to Darren’s Preparation, he was able to bring a new style to our awards function.
The professionals Real Estate
A big thank you for the great job you did in MC-ing our recent computer conference. As you are now aware we have a very diverse membership and I applauded the way you were able to relate to them and take them on the journey with you from the Welcoming Dinner right through to the end on our conference sessions. I thought the trivia event you put on as part of the welcoming dinner was both topical and entertaining and helped break the ice for many members and get them into the conference swing. I was also impressed the next day with your handling of the Conference Opening, your Motivational Presentation which tailored in with our keynote speakers, and the clever way in which you introduced each guest speaker and got the member involvement. Lastly, I would like to congratulate you on the handling of the Open Forum. This is not an easy session to chair, particularly when you are not familiar with the members or the issues and if not handled correctly can quickly run off the rails. The feedback from our members has been very positive and we look forward to working with you again.
Leading Edge Computers
“This was the first time we have engaged an MC for our conference, and the way you created a humorous but relevant transition between presenters demonstrated to me it’s the path we should continue to follow for future conferences. I thought you did particularly well with your material considering the fact we were so late in providing the information you requested (if at all in some cases)".
The Wrigley Company
Darren, you were the perfect MC, and the feedback I have received about you has been wonderful. Thanks for making the sessions more interesting and fun, and for bringing the speakers to life.
Australian Steel Institute
Having you MC our conference was worth every cent and more. You were a “pick me up" for everyone between sessions, very funny, exciting and full of energy. Our franchisees looked for forward to the breaks and in-between sessions rather than the actual sessions, just so they could listen to you. I have sent out evaluation forms to all our franchisees, and even though they haven’t all send them back yet I have already received so many that have rated you a fantastic 10. Might I add that the rating was only up to 5 though with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent – so I guess that shows you how much you impressed them and how much they enjoyed you company over the couple of days! Well Done Darren, thank you for all the effort you went to in gathering information on all the speakers – this made the world of difference. I haven’t come across so much preparation before and professionalism. It was like you had known all the speakers for so long!! What a wonderful job!
“In all my years of organizing meetings and conferences Darren was “Absolutely Fabulous" – Darren researched each of the presenters, he was funny, witty and most entertaining. Highly recommended."