If you’re planning a holiday party this year some kind of entertainment may be a great addition as a part of the festivities. Even more than the location, the décor, 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.
What Kind Of Entertainment?
The most important question is, what needs do you want the entertainment to fill? Will it be the main event of the evening, one of several highlights, or will it simply be background to everything else?
If the entertainment will be the main event of the evening, you may want to have some sort of feature performer such as a variety act of some kind; a magician, 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 longer program or of several featured activities, the same type of performer might still be appropriate, 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, 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.
Whatever the case, make sure you’re clear about the specific needs you hope to fill with the entertainment, and simply choose accordingly.
Finding the Right Entertainers…
Once you’ve determined the specific needs of your event, it will help you in choosing the right type of entertainment. You want to look for entertainers who can tell you specifically what benefits they can offer for your event, and how those benefits fill your unique needs. If an entertainer is unable to communicate clearly and directly how he or she can fill those needs, they may not have your needs in mind at all. Make sure you’re completely clear about the specifics of what the entertainer will be providing, and that it’s spelled out in a written agreement.
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.
Some Important Tips
Whoever you end up hiring, you want to be certain you’re getting the best value for the money you spend on entertainment. Here are a few useful tips to help you determine whether an entertainer can come through for you in bringing the best experience to your guests.
Be sure to ask these important questions…
- “Are you a FULL TIME professional entertainer?” While there are exceptions, in many cases if an entertainer isn’t full time, it may mean he’s either not experienced enough, doesn’t have a good enough show, or is simply not professional and dependable enough to support a full time career.
- “Can you provide references from past clients?” As I mentioned, any performer worth his salt should be glad to furnish you with letters and testimonials from his happy, satisfied customers. If he can’t, you may want to proceed with caution!
- “Do you offer a money back guarantee?” If an entertainer doesn’t guarantee his work, there may be a reason he’s not prepared to do so! Even paying a much lower price is still a waste of money if your guests aren’t thrilled, or worse, are somehow offended or put off by the performance. You need to be certain the entertainment can deliver for your event.
- “Can you tell me CLEARLY AND SPECIFICALLY what benefits you provide for my event?” Many performers are more interested in looking good than in meeting your unique needs. As I mentioned previously, make sure the entertainer is clear about how they can help meet your specific needs.
Use Your Creativity
As with every other aspect of planning your event, don’t be afraid to be creative and to think “outside the box”. Don’t assume that certain types of entertainment are “just for kids”. (That’s one of the biggest misconceptions I encounter regarding magic, here in the Midwestern United States.) Or that they won’t work in certain situations. Quite often the least obvious types of entertainment can be just the unique twist that will bring a touch of freshness and appeal to your event.
The main thing is, don’t automatically rule something out because you think it “wouldn’t work”. Look into a variety of options and ask for input from other creative or knowledgeable individuals. Above all, have fun planning your holiday party entertainment, and you’re sure to make the party fun and memorable for you and all your guests.
Mitch Williams is an international award winning magician and speaker with credits throughout the US, Canada, and four other countries. He is also an authority on peak performance, creativity, and event coordination. He specializes in helping event planners create absolutely unforgettable meetings, parties, and other events with customized entertainment, educational, and self improvement programs that are guaranteed to amaze, amuse, and inspire. For more information, visit his website here: Magic Event Entertainer.