How to Host a “Virtual Open Mic”

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 5.06.28 AM

I wrote down these ideas to share with “The Virtual Event Ideas Community”

If you have any questions or would like recommendations on working with a professional show host or workshop facilitator, I am connected to many amazing and talented folks and am happy to share what I know –

Or, I can host your event! School pricing details at the end of article under Booking. At the very end of the article you’ll find a Testimonial. 🙂

How to Host a “Virtual Open Mic” 

As the host of a traditional open mic setting, I create a space where the performers feel comfortable sharing their talents and where the audience is supportive and positive. This is done by stating the expectations in the beginning of the event and repeating them periodically as the show is going on. It does not have to be done in a “follow these rules” kind of way but more through encouragement of the performers and “thanking” the audience preemptively for being a “great and supportive audience”. It is no different in the virtual setting, However you also have the advantage of sharing your expectations in the invitation email as well as using visual cues. I will explain those in the article.

I use “Zoom” so my references will be with that particular platform.

Here’s the stuff you really need to know:

**For the Organizers:**

ORGANIZER NOTES – When working with a professional MC and/or show host – Communicate with your facilitator (host) and agree on a date, time, and duration of the event. The virtual world gives us much greater flexibility with calendars. The host of your event will be able to provide a link for you (the organizations) to send out to your list of possible attendees and performers. Once they receive the link, the attendees will be able to join the event at the scheduled time. The reason I recommend allowing the guest facilitator to “host” is because they need to access all of the admin features of the platform order to help the event run smoothly.

**For The Show Host:**

HOST NOTES – Familiarize yourself with the platform and learn the features. Set up an experimental “event” with family and friends before you ever go “live”. The more smoothly you can navigate the platform the more smoothly the event will run.

HOST NOTES – Remember, this event is not about you showcasing your talent! This is a way for you to help showcase the talent of others and help connect and engage all of the attendees.

HOST NOTES – Get as much of the “talent” to sign up ahead of time so that you can share the order of performers as soon as the event begins. It is also OK to allow folks to sign up during the event if they are feeling inspired. Ask them to send you private message through the “chat”.

HOST NOTES – Like every open mic I have ever hosted, there are folks in the audience who want to perform but have showed up as an audience member first to “check it out”. Your encouragement of participation and additional sign-ups is part of your hosting.

HOST NOTES – “ZOOM-BOMBING” – I’ll have a link at the bottom of the page. It’s real. Pay attention.

**For the Attendees:**

AUDIENCE NOTES – Background Movement – Please do not walk around or drive while attending the event. You are in an audience. The movement behind you is distracting and takes the attention away from the performer. If you do need to move your camera please turn off your video while doing so. However, if your talent involves the movement of your camera that’s a whole different story and we are all excited to see it. It’s your moment to shine!

AUDIENCE NOTES – Please turn off any “sound” notifications on your device and computer. Avoid the pings! This is most relevant when you are the performer but it also helps everyone when all mics are unmuted.

AUDIENCE NOTES – You are there to support the performers. Be a great audience member. Remember, this is not a competition and you are not a judge. We are all here to have fun!

AUDIENCE NOTES – Mute your mic during the performances! This allows for the performer to “take the stage”. You can always hit the “react” button and give “thumbs up” or a “hand clap” as one of the features of Zoom.

AUDIENCE NOTES – Applause can also be shown visually by raising your hands in the air, “jazz hands”. Visual finger snaps are awesome (raise your arms and snap your fingers). If you want to jump up and down and dance as a reaction, heck yeah!

AUDIENCE NOTES – You can always leave your positive comments in the chat.

AUDIENCE NOTES – When to unmute? If you feel like making some noise at the end of each performance! Totally OK. But then be ready to mute your mic again for the next performer. If a performer is doing a sing-along then it’s “participation by invitation”.

AUDIENCE NOTES – If one of the performer’s sound is not coming through as beautifully as you would like, please do not make a fuss. Enjoy it in the moment and make the most of the situation. Your negative visual reactions to “sound quality” will be interpreted by the performer as negative feedback on their performance. Send the host a PRIVATE MESSAGE about your questions and concerns and always positively support the performer!

HOST NOTES – As the host you will be able to mute microphones individually and as a group. So, letting everyone know that you have that capability is a good idea and you will need to use it sometimes when it’s time to move on to the next performer.

HOST NOTES – Use a visual cue that says you are trying to quiet down the group. Try a colorful note card, a scarf, or stuffed teddy bear. Just use the visuals as cues and introduce them all at the beginning of the event. If chaos is unstoppable, just mute the whole group with one click.

**For the Performers:**

PERFORMER NOTES – Unmute your mic when it’s your turn to perform.

PERFORMER NOTES – Tune your instrument ahead of time!!!

PERFORMER NOTES – Karaoke? Have your song ready on youtube ahead of time and use the “share page” feature in zoom if you would like everyone to see the lyrics as you perform.

{Sometimes the background music is not loud enough so the host may ask you to “turn up” your own computer volume so the sound is louder for the attendees)

HOST NOTES – Use a brightly colored visual cue if there is a significant sound issue that needs to be addressed. It is OK to restart a performance!

PERFORMER NOTES – This is not a competition. The audience is not judging you. They are there to make a connection with you and have fun. This is new for you and it’s new for the audience, we all recognize that, now “take the stage” and share your talent!

To learn more about The Rock Star Project’s Virtual Events:

Jason LeVasseur lives in Nashville, TN, and is the most awarded music performer in the history of campus entertainment, the recipient of the “2020 NACA LEGEND” award, and the creator of The Rock Star Project® – Leadership Development & Team Building. He’s also a “virtual” keynote speaker, “virtual” workshop facilitator, summer camp counselor, husband,  father, and the creator of sometimes silly but mostly purposeful social media posts.

“The Virtual Event Ideas Community” – Facebook Group

Created March 15, 2020. Due to the influx of questions related to virtual programming, Jason created a facebook group for professionals in all fields to connect with each other to discuss how they were coping and programming and staff training in the new reality of “Virtual Connection”.

Please join the conversation!


At The Rock Star Project®, we have a “school pricing” structure for the virtual events that is different from our “on location” pricing. It is designed to make the programs available to a larger audience. Don’t hesitate to connect and discuss options.

In the tradition of the college booking market we have “block pricing” for one virtual event, three virtual events with the same organization, and five virtual events with the same organization. We have the skills, we have the technology, and we are happy to help!

The more we know about your needs the better we can serve your audience and community. Please email to set up a time to chat and for a comprehensive list of virtual workshop possibilities and facilitators.

School Pricing for Virtual Programs:

Single Open Mic or Music Show: $400

Single Leadership Development Workshop: $400

3 events (can include open mic): $1,000

5 events (can include open mic): $1,500

Please check out the web site or read the blogs to learn more about Jason LeVasseur & The Rock Star Project®.


“Jason was a wonderful host for our Virtual Open Mic Night, an evening activity during our annual camp conference. The event was originally going to be in-person and he quickly pivoted to offering an online opportunity when we converted to a virtual conference. Jason was easy to work with, was a clear communicator, maintained calm through small tech glitches, and ran a highly engaging program for all ages! While he was prepared to perform himself, he really encouraged others to give it a try – both with advance sign-ups and impromptu volunteers. I think some of our attendees who weren’t originally planning to perform were actually inspired to put themselves out there because of Jason’s energy, encouragement, and supportive persona. We’d definitely do something like this again with Jason as the host and emcee!

Kerry Salvo – American Camp Association New England – Director of Education and Professional Development


+++ HOST NOTES +++ “ZOOM-BOMBING” – read this article from PC MAG –



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s