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)