If you are reading this article you are probably an event planer or your boss asked you to organize an event for the company.
Regardless if you an experienced event planner or not, I believe you might find at least one “Aha! moment”.
If the client (or your boss), was specific about what it is they want as in, ‘Let’s get a Mentalist for our annual gala’ then you are in luck, because you already found the ‘guy’ (that would be me!), but more importantly because they’ve narrow down the search for you. Your job now, is to simply find the best mentalist possible within your budget.
But what if your boss says; “Hey Judy (that would be you), let’s bring some fun entertainment for this years Gala? Come up with some ideas”. Okay let’s face it, if the event bombs it’s all on you BUT don’t stress because you have me here to guide you through the landmines of cheesy YouTube demo videos.
So, what should you consider when tasked to hire entertainment for your program? Once you have the date, location and budget here are my top 3 tips for booking the perfect entertainer for your epic event.
1. Common interest:
- Ask yourself who is the audience? what do they all have in common besides working for the same company, or being clients or potential clients. Start with the basic, age, position, what part of the country or the world are they from?
- Think about your audience, forget about what you like, looking only for the type of entertainment that you enjoy is a recipe for disaster. For example, hiring a country band for NYC investment banking company, would not be a great fit, or a baby boomer comedian, will probably not be very funny for millennials.
- Try to play to the middle, for example a Magician or Mentalist that is amazing and delivers smart comedy would play well in most cases but remember to make sure the entertainer is well experienced playing within your niche. A Magician that also does face paintings and balloons might be great for a kids show or family picnic event but not for an adult sophisticated corporate audience!
- Many events have a theme or a party within a conference that might be for example an 80’s party, or a break in a conference where they want fun entertainment with a specific subject like “power of the mind”, motivation or sales but without being “another talk”. This last example calls for a very experienced entertainer/speaker that can captivate their attention even after a long day.
- If there is no theme, even better, just focus on fun!
- If it’s a cocktail hour after a long day of conferences , you might want to stick to more casual strolling entertainment where not all the guests need to be engaged at the same time: a band, a solo player (guitar, DJ, Piano) or my Cocktail hour show is a good idea. It plays well in small groups giving them a short personal wow moment that creates a new topic for conversation other than work and golf.
- Make sure you communicate your vision for the event in writing, if you go through an agency, event planner or Destination management company (AKA DMC) ask if they can forward it to the entertainer. Some, won’t mind if you email the entertainer directly (always ask first and CC the event planner on all communications).
What should be included?
Ask ALL the WH questions: Who, What, When, Where.
- Create an event plan, start with the basic and then go into more details with the help of the entertainer you want to hire or your event planner / DMC.
This should include the timeline, the layout of the room (including the distance between the stage and the first table/seat), do you have other entertainment going on at the same time? (ie: DJ or band playing during cocktail hour), is it going to be dinner/lunch? Is it a buffet style? How many tables and how many seated around each one.
- Some entertainers (myself included) will never agree to perform on stage during the main dish, specially if it’s a buffet!
If there is one thing to take out of this article is that a buffet is the enemy of any show that requires everyone attention at the same time. If that’s the case, have some music (Band, solo player or DJ) and have your main act start when dessert is served.
- I even ask the event planner about the flower arrangements! You’re probably wondering why a Mentalist and Speaker will care about the flowers unless he is very allergic. The answer is visibility!
Trust me, very few event planners or flower services take this in consideration, if you have a big tall arrangement in the middle of the table, not only you are blocking the view to the stage (and even worse if there’s no stage) for a big part of the table, but you are also preventing and limiting conversation between the attendees during down times. The moment they can’t see the “show”, they will either look down at their phones or start talking to the person next to them making it hard for the rest of the table to hear, and as a result, lose the tables in the back of the room and before you realize it, one table infects the other with the “who cares, lets hit the bar” symptom.
- Ask the entertainer for his show rider. This is a document that lists everything he/she will need before, during and after the show, this might include a “green room” to change and set up, time needed to do “sound check”, meal request, water, chairs, tables etc.
- Trust your entertainer! He/she knows best what works and doesn’t. In my case (and other experienced entertainers), I know that from the moment I’m booked, my job is to adapt myself as much as possible to the event, and most important, making you, the booker, look great by DELIVERING!
Hope you took at least one good thing from this cheat sheet.
Please reach out to me with any questions, even if I’m not the best fit for your next event I have more than 25 years of experience in the corporate event market. I will be happy to give an advice, put you in the right direction or recommend a fellow entertainer in case I can’t do it myself.
I’m all about creating long lasting relationships and giving value. So don’t be a stranger, let’s get in touch…
Keep up the good thoughts,
Entertainer, Mentalist & Keynote Speaker