The 4 C’s of the EmCee
Rob Schiffmann

I am in Columbus, OH at the moment doing my yearly emceeing of ‘MyBigLots’, the national meeting for Big Lots that I have been emceeing for the past four years. Big Lots is a truly phenomenal organization whose core values are Curiosity, Courage, Confidence and Consistency. They embody all of this in what they do every day and especially in their commitment to community. They donate SOOOO much money and time to valuable causes. It is an honor for me to be a part of their family.

And while I am here, reveling in their positivity, I also am very aware of just how much my role as an emcee also MUST embody those same four values.


When I am asked to emcee a meeting, I MUST start with CURIOSITY. It is not enough to simply go on a website and spit back all the top line information. I have to dig in and get to know the company and the culture in which that company exists. I have pre-meeting phone calls to understand what’s new and what is the same. I try to get as individualized an approach as I possibly can because there is nothing fun in template entertainment. 


This year at Big Lots, one of the main pieces of news is that a new C.E.O. begins his tenure at this very meeting. Bruce Thorn is stepping into the role and taking over for David Campisi, with whom I was fortunate enough to work for 3 years. Bruce is a lovely guy and I know the whole team is excited to have him on board. I wanted to do something special to bring him into the community after his first speech. I thought it would be fun to relyric a Bruce Springsteen song for a ‘Bruce-to-Bruce’ experience. I went with ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, which became ‘Thorn in the U.S.A.’. It was risky because I don’t know that he is the kind of guy who will enjoy that type of welcome. I had to have the COURAGE of my convictions and go for it knowing that I can write and deliver it in a positive way that makes him shine. I went for it and guess what…he LOVED it and the audience went nuts. He said it was the nicest welcome to a company he had ever had. I felt much pride!


I am not necessarily a ‘look at me’ kind of guy by nature, which I realize is an odd thing for an entertainer to say. That said, if I am not on stage, I am fine to NOT have the focus on me. In fact, I prefer if it is NOT on me. I am more interested in learning about others than in asking others to show interest in me. That said, I know that my job while I am here is to put myself out there with the internal understanding that yes, in fact, I DO have something to offer. I DO bring something that not everyone can bring. This CONFIDENCE comes from years of experience and from a sense of knowing how to BRING it each time.


Having been here for four years, I have to be prepared to keep my material fresh and new. I don’t want them saying, “oh right, this again…”. That said, they bring me back every year because they expect something from me and that expectation is around the brand I have found and created for myself which (I hope) is rooted in fun, interactivity, presence and speed / quality of delivery. They expect this from me and along with a fresh approach I MUST keep this CONSISTENCY in order to keep my job.


So thank you, Big Lots for giving me the opportunity to embody your 4 C’s year after year and I hope to
​C-ome back again next year!