Have you been given the mystifying task of hiring entertainment for your upcoming corporate event? Are you scared to death by the idea of trying to find something that will be clean, appropriate, and entertaining to the wide variety of people in your audience? Do you feel like your boss and fellow employees will be blaming YOU if the entertainment is not top-notch? You are not alone! As a corporate entertainer and entertainment provider in Houston, I get calls from people every day who are in the exact same position as you are. You want as close to a sure thing as you can get, but how do you find entertainment that everyone will like? Where do you begin to shop? How do you make sure the entertainer will show up and make you look good?
STEP 1 – Evaluate your audience. Take a mental inventory of your group. Are they crazy and loud, older and subdued, or a mixture of everything? This will determine your entertainment choices. For example, a comedian or hypnotist might be great for a younger group, but a corporate magician or entertaining speaker might be better for an older or mixed group. These days, it’s very important that the performer’s act is 100% clean. It is not worth losing your job because the entertainer you hired tells off-color jokes that offend someone in your organization!
STEP 2 – Make a list of the types of entertainers you like, then narrow the list down to one or two types. For example, if your group likes to dance, put “band” on your list. If they like to laugh, list “magician” or “comedian.”
Here are a few acts that I’ve found to work very well at corporate events:
Comedy Magicians – Make sure the magician specializes in corporate events and performs a CLEAN show suitable for adults (no birthday party magicians).
Bands -Again, make sure they routinely perform at corporate events! You don’t want Metallica at your corporate function.
Hypnotists – – Be careful here for liability issues in case one of your executives ends up acting like a chicken in front of everyone.
Murder Mysteries -These can be a lot of fun if your group likes to actively participate in the entertainment.
Fortune Tellers – Palm readers, etc. -Make sure they don’t do negative readings or focus on the occult.
Caricature Artists – These are great, because your people will get to take home a cool souvenir.
STEP 3 – Search the Internet. Make sure and narrow your search for the city where your event will be. For example, if you are in Houston, enter “magicians in Houston” or “Houston magicians” or “clean comedian Houston.” The better artists will have websites with video, pictures, and testimonials from other corporate clients that will help you prequalify them before you make the call. You can also take the easy way out and call a talent agency who can recommend a variety of entertainers.
STEP 4 – Call or email the performer for a price quote. Make sure and explain exactly what you want, how many people are going to attend your event, and how long you’d like the performance to last. Make sure and consider the advice of the performer, as he or she probably does this every night and can give you some great tips to make sure the entertainment is a smashing success. I strongly recommend you do NOT shop by price alone. There is usually a REALLY good reason that some performers are more expensive than others! In the end, it’s always a better idea to spend a little more money to get a professional entertainer who is going to make you look good! Make sure and ask for references and follow up on them. Most previous clients will be more than happy to tell you whether or not a particular entertainer delivered the goods.
STEP 5 – Get a contract! Don’t skip this, no matter what! All professional corporate entertainers use contracts. This will give you the peace of mind knowing that the performer will be exactly where he is supposed to be at the time he’s supposed to be there. You may have to pay a deposit to hold the entertainer. Don’t worry; this just ensures that the entertainer is holding the evening for your event and won’t book something else that comes along.