So you’re putting together your annual banquet, cocktail party or high end corporate event and you know that you need entertainment.
What is your plan?
Do you have one yet?
As Nietzsche said,
"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." (Not that the author agrees with just about anything else Nietzsche said)
Know as many of these things as possible;
Got a plan? Great, now how do we pick the entertainment?
Why are you having the Event?
Why is your organization putting tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into this event?
What does everyone hope they accomplish at it's conclusion? Know what success looks like to you and work with people who care about that vision.
Be realistic when choosing entertainment, if you choose it as an after thought and you've spent all the budget, all you'll be able to afford is low quality acts.
There is a huge difference between a 300.00 act and a 3,000.00 dollar act. It's like a car, you can have a Geo, or you can have a Ferrari, sure they may do the same basic thing, but if you want the performance of a world class act, and the impact it has on an event, you'll have to pay for it. And ultimately the success or failure of the entertainment (and the party) comes back to you the planner.
Also if you’re working smart, you should first hire the venue and then immediately after the entertainment, not only so that you have the budget for it, but because great acts book quickly and may not be available by the time you get around to calling them.
Consider the flow of the evening, what type of mood are you trying to create?
When trying to work out what you should do, it’s a really great idea to envision the outcome. What do you want the outcome to be? After you have that established, work backwards. What do you need to do so that outcome is a reality?
Level of interaction,
Are you looking for high level engagement or just something that everyone can enjoy in the background?
High level engagement would be something like, a magician (like me) or comedian or a speaker. Low level engagement would be a jazz band or DJ that just plays music in the background or a photobooth, something that people can choose not to engage with if they don’t want to.
Size of Venue?
Now if the size of your venue is small of course you're going to be limited by what you can bring in.
You are obviously not going to bring in Cirque de Soleil to a venue the size of a vestibule.
You also want to make sure that your act isn’t too small for the number of guests you have.
As a magician, I perform a variety of different programs depending on the situation and size of the audience, if my services aren’t a good fit for what the planner has in mind, I’ll tell them straight up, it is far more important to me to choose events where I know I’m a perfect fit than to make a quick buck and ruin my reputation.
Most professionals have the same opinion. It is wise to listen to suggestions from them on how they can most effectively serve you and the needs of your event.
Size of Group
The choice of venue is of course directly dependent on this but you’re going to have to take into account how many people you're trying to entertain and are you doing it all at the same time or is the entertainment in the background? Think either music where people can just listen in the background ,or event a cabaret act or strolling magician, where people can choose to engage or not.
How do you know if the entertainer is any good?
This can sometimes be difficult to ascertain. But there are a few sure fire ways to gauge the quality of the entertainer.
Look for testimonials with actual names and the companies they are affiliated with,
Are they appropriate? When hiring entertainment for a corporate function, you must consider the type of material the entertainer has. If it’s “Blue” or racy you may want to steer clear. The last thing you want to do is hire a comedian who uses inappropriate themes or language, not only because it will offend some people, but because that all comes back down on you for choosing them!
I hope this guide has been helpful, if you’re working on your own event I would love to hear about what your doing. (and or more planning tips, download my free guide)
While there is a lot to do when planning a company event, these 5 steps are a great way to make the most of your planning time and bring your project back on track.
(If you enjoy this list you can also download my free pdf with more helpful planning tips by entering your email)
This can seem like an overwhelming task, but breaking it into smaller pieces can help a lot, if you have a team to help you, don't be afraid to delegate, give the task of securing catering to one person, entertainment to the next and so on, having a team that is all on the same page can help too, apps like Wunderlist are fantastic for making sure everybody is on the same page and has the same information.
Budgeting-This is probably the most important aspect of the planning process, most people create a budget without a realistic idea of what each aspect of the event will cost, this will cause shortages in one area and a blow-out in others. When putting together your budget for review, make some phone calls and talk to vendors about fees, be sure you know a few things before you call to get an accurate quote,
1) Where you plan to have the event?
2) How many people in attendance?
3) How long is the event?
4) Who is the event for?
It's better to know what everything will cost and ask for that amount for the budget, than to get a budget and try to make everything fit it, this tip alone will save you lots of stress down the line. Also it's important to listen to the professionals you are speaking with, chances are, if you were convinced to call them, they are experts in what they do and know how to best serve you, and if they aren't the right fit they should tell you, in that case, ask for a referral, they probably know who you should talk to and this will save you time from having to hunt down another vendor.
Program-How will the flow of the evening go? It's a good idea to imagine the event like a story, there is a clear beginning, middle and end. What will people be doing as they come in? Do you have name badges? While not always necessary they are helpful when having a large company party where everyone might not know each other.
Break up long sessions with other activities, if people have to sit for a long time they will become bored and uninterested, nothing worse than a crowd that doesn't want to be there!
If there are people speaking or awards being presented, know who will be speaking, and for how long, we all know that person in the office who can pontificate for hours, checking in with all the speakers and giving them a time limit and signaling them how much time they have left can do wonders for keeping things on track.
Choose your venue carefully and early on, this is the foundation for everything else you'll need to plan. Think about space, how many people are you fitting into this room? If it's too large, people will feel distanced from each other and the party will end up like a middle school dance, too tightly crammed and people will be cranky. This is also important for vendors. Caterers will need to know how much space they will have, DJ's or musicians will need to know how much space they have for their equipment and Entertainers will need to know if their presentations will work in the environment.
Without entertainment, you run the risk of people forming cliques and not interacting with each other, this is a big problem if your goal is to strengthen cross department relationships. People can also become bored and want to leave early or maybe not even show up at all, nothing kills a party faster than low energy. Unique, engaging and meaningful entertainment gives everyone something to talk about besides the weather and can be the difference with how enjoyable and memorable your event is or isn't.
About the Author-
Alan Paoletti is the owner of APMagic, a corporate entertainment company in Plano, Texas and specializes in creating unforgettable experiences for his clients all around the country.
He can be reached at 972-835-1283 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ok guys, this one is going to be a bit of a personal post.
Between yesterday and today I have done so much work on the house getting things ready for our little bundle of joy!
I relocated my office to another room in the house to make my old office into a nursery,
bought and built a dresser, changing table and crib all by myself and done all the normal around the house chores that my very pregnant wife can't manage anymore.
On top of all of that, I'm working! And working hard. I am calling all of my prospects and drumming up business for the new year, certainly needed with my Son on the way.
I might as well get used to being tired, I hear Fatherhood is a full-time kind of gig. :)
Anyway there is my update. Talk soon.
The holidays are here yet again! Time seems to fly by so quickly these days.
If you're looking to (pumpkin) spice things up this year, consider high quality entertainment. We've all had DJ's, photo booths and live bands. They're great, but if you feel like something more engaging, guaranteed to make a splash and leave you're guests talking about your party for a long time afterwards, you should really consider more interactive entertainment, magicians, illusionists and mentalists are unique among entertainers because they engage directly and intimately with the audience, they reach out and make the attendees feel like stars. Great for your upcoming corporate Christmas/Holiday party.
October is cutting it close for booking your holiday entertainment, don't be left behind!
Professional entertainment starts booking Holiday parties a year in advance!
If you'd like to have Alan Paoletti at your next event, fill out a Contact form or call
So, a quick update of what's going on in the world of Alan Paoletti.
New photos and video!
I've also put together a great little closeup magic demo video for those interested in such things, it can be viewed on the video page.
My wife is now 12 weeks pregnant with our baby, we don't know the sex yet, but when we do you better believe there will be an update on that.
On a more somber note, my dear cat, Nala has passed away from a genetic intestinal disorder, the condolences and prayers I've got have been overwhelming and I thank you all for your emotional support during this difficult time.
So it's been a really fun week.
I helped out my friend Trigg Watson, a fellow Dallas Illusionist on a TV show called Masters of Illusion and I just got to see the finished product a little while ago.
It was so much fun to help a fellow magician with the design, rehearsal and filming of this piece.
I'm also working with a large company for a holiday party coming up in December. I had a meeting with them on Wednesday at their corporate office and I have to say that I'm just blown away by the edgy spirit these guys have. You can tell they love their jobs and do them very well. I'll be able to talk more about this client along with pictures from the event in December.
Which of course reminds me, if you're reading this and you haven't thought about getting your holiday party together, save yourself a huge headache and watch my video on event planning for the holidays. It's closer than you think and you're really doing yourself a disservice by procrastinating. It can be fun and easy to do if you start early and work with a professional.
Alright, I'm about out of time, back to work on my corporate training program and preparing for shows! Talk soon.
What a month so far! It's been fun but boy am I pooped.
This month saw me perform for Sabre for the first time, an incredible company with just the coolest people you've ever met. Usually when I do a corporate show like that it is for "infotainment" I'm teaching a team about communication, or sales techniques but this was just straight up for fun. The employees have been doing a very good job at something very difficult and their bosses just wanted to see them have some fun.
Oh, and I had a tree fall on me! Thankfully no one was seriously injured in the accident. I did have to pick up a tree limb off of the lady who was sitting on my left before the branch fell. I was terrified for her but she came out laughing as you can see later in the video.
I need to thank Ty Turner from Flash Film Media for the video, truly a professional who works well under pressure!