How to Use Entertainment to Make Your Events Uniquely Successful
If you’re in charge of planning a meeting, banquet, or other special event, you may want to make some kind of entertainment a part of your function. Good entertainment that is well planned can make a huge difference in how successful your event will be. In fact, even more than the location, the decor, and other elements, the right entertainment can set the tone for your event and give your guests a unique, memorable, and truly enjoyable experience that they can carry with them for many a day to come. The right entertainment can add atmosphere and class, humor and fun, or inspiration and encouragement to the tone of your event.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself are: “How many people will be attending?", “What kinds of guests will be present?" (For example will it be all men, women only, couples, or families? Do the guests know each other and have something in common, such as working for the same company? Etc.) “Where will the party take place, and what kind of function will it be?" (A sit-down dinner, just hors d’oeuvres, just cocktails, or all of the above? What other activities will be taking place?)
What Kind of Entertainment?
Once you’ve established some of these basic parameters, you can begin to decide what type of entertainment will be most appropriate for your party. Will the entertainment be the main event of the evening, will it be one of several highlights, or will it simply be background to everything else?
If it is the main event, you may want to have some sort of feature performer such as a variety act of some sort; a magician (An excellent choice! Though I may be just the tiniest bit biased!), a comedian, a juggler, a singer, a show band, etc., and you will probably want the entertainment to last somewhere between thirty minutes to an hour or so.
If the entertainment is simply one part of a bigger program or of several highlighted activities, the same type of performer might still be appropriate (yes, magic is still a great choice!), but you may want the length of the performance to be shorter, somewhere between twelve and twenty-five minutes.
And if the entertainment is to be simply background to the party, you may want some sort of ongoing, low key entertainment, such as dance music, strolling close up magic (yes, it works well here too!), strolling musicians, or a small orchestra, depending on your budget. And of course depending on the schedule and time frame, you may decide to use a combination of more than one of the above choices. (Such as strolling close up magic for the cocktail hour and a stand up magic show after dinner!)
Which brings up another important aspect of your planning; how to arrange the schedule of events for your party. If you want the entertainment to be anything other than background filler, such as dinner music, it’s important that you schedule it at some point in the evening when your guests will feel comfortable giving it their attention. Occasionally inexperienced event planners will make the mistake of scheduling entertainment during the dinner hour, in which case the guests must either continue eating and risk missing part of the show, or they have to interrupt their meal in order to watch the entertainment, in which case their food will probably get cold. The show should probably either be before dinner during the “cocktail hour" (this is particularly appropriate for strolling performers), or it should be after dinner, (especially if you want it to be the evening’s main event).
Having some familiarity with the party location and knowing how the room will be set up can also be helpful in making your entertainment a success. If the entertainment is anything that is even somewhat visually oriented, such as with magic or variety acts (but also even with a comedian or singer), it’s important that everyone have a good view of the performing area. Obviously a stage or riser is helpful, but if these are unavailable, you should at least make sure that the room is arranged in such a way that there will be a clear view of the performer no matter where you sit.
If the room is long and narrow, such as in many banquet halls, you may want to arrange the tables so that the performance can take place at one end of the room, since if the performer is in the middle of the room, someone somewhere will inevitably end up having a great view of the performer’s back for much of the show, and this can be quite frustrating, particularly if the performer is visually appealing in any way.
Depending upon the size of your group and the type of entertainment, it may also be necessary to obtain or rent special equipment, such as a microphone, PA system, and/or lighting equipment. Most cities have rental companies which can assist you with these items. (Often the banquet facility may already have some or all of these available at no extra charge or for a nominal fee. So make sure you check to see if they can provide them before you look into renting the needed equipment.)
You can find a variety of entertainers in the yellow pages or on the Internet. Don’t assume that the one with the biggest ad will be the best. As with any other service professional, make sure they have experience and good references. Any quality entertainer should be able to provide you with background credits, testimonials, and reference letters from past clients.
And don’t make the mistake of letting price be the only deciding factor. It’s important that the entertainment not only provides a fun filled, lively experience, but also that none of your guests are put off or offended in any way. If your audience is conservative, or a family group, make sure that the entertainer’s material is appropriate. Comedians and other performers who are used to working in adult nightclubs can sometimes have a very different idea of what’s “clean" than what you may have. So make sure you’re clear and specific about your needs.
When looking for entertainers, it’s never a bad idea to ask for references. Any performer worth their weight will be able to provide a list of former clients. And remember, as with anything, you get what you pay for; the least expensive performer is not necessarily the best value. You want to be sure that the entertainer that you hire will not only thoroughly entertain your guests, but will also act in a professional manner and NEVER, EVER embarrass or offend any of your guests in any way.
Keep these tips in mind, and you should have no problem designing a meeting, party, banquet, or other special event that will be an enjoyable and memorable event for all your guests.
Article Submitted By:
Mitch Williams Magic Productions
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