Pitch perfect: do your research
The least eagerly anticipated part of an evening’s entertainment is often the speech. ‘They rather dreaded the after-dinner speech of their host (an inevitable item). He was liable to drag in bits of what he called poetry’. In the Fellowship of the Ring, host Bilbo sensibly waits until his guests are well refreshed and by the time he gets to his furry feet ‘Most of the company were, however, now in a tolerant mood, at that delightful stage which they called ”filling up the corners” … They were prepared to listen to anything, and to cheer at every full stop.” The Fellowship Of The Ring (1954) by J.R.R. Tolkein.
We all know what we don’t want (goodbye long boring speeches) but when it comes to entertainment choosing the right act can be overwhelming, especially given the enormous range of options that are out there. A good piece of advice? Don’t be a magpie and select the first shiny act you see. The latest trending act might be tempting but are they experienced in performing at events? A big name doesn’t necessarily mean best. What about trying an emerging act? Your budget will certainly go further and they’re more likely to be amenable to requests and tailoring their performance to suit you.
“You can use entertainment like you punctuate a page or a paragraph. Thinking about where you want people to be and for how long. How you would like the event to flow can all be directed through your entertainment, whether that’s pop up elements that guide people through a story, or a host character that can connect the evening. Pace is different for every event, it can build to something or ebb and flow subtly for a book launch or gallery opening. So many spaces, moods and paces :)” Jane Coulston Beyond Repair Entertainment.
Go back to your event goal; a clear understanding of the brand, the audience and the location are the key factors to ensure the entertainment is right. The objective and type of event will dictate the type of guests you’ll be having, helping you match the entertainment to the guests in appropriate ways. After all, booking a rock band for a formal gala dinner might achieve the surprise factor but it’s unlikely to deliver the delight.
“It’s so important that your entertainment is as integral to your event as the venue, catering, decor and guest list. Planning your entertainment should be easy if you know what the aim of your event is. If it is networking then it should be subtle, easily observed and non-interruptive for example, if it is a big gala event it should be WOW and unforgettable but individual where possible, how can it be made to feel personal? A good entertainment supplier can guide you through all of this.” Jane Coulston Beyond Repair Entertainment.
Entertainment that is in line with company image will make a positive impression on your guests so look for acts that won’t make your guests feel awkward, confused, and out of place. Remember that scene in Succession when Kendall raps to commemorate 50 years of his father, Logan, running Waystar Royco? It’s not so much the rap that’s bad (though that in itself is debatable) but it’s the content of the performance that it makes it so utterly toe-curling. There are few things more painful than trying to elicit some joy out of a crowd that is, for the most part, extremely not into something.