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When does corporate entertainment stop being entertaining

A photo of a waiter pouring champagne into glasses at an event
There is a fine line between entertainment being creative and experiential and just inappropriate and cringe worthy

I’ve been to over 200 corporate entertainment events this year and I I’ve seen it all: from champagne serving aerialists, food drones, ball pits and other ‘playful’ entertainment to break the ice amongst delegates.  As an event planner I have to keep an open mind and consider all options, however, knowing when to draw the line can make or break an event.

There is no denying that the power of downtime and entertainment at a corporate event is essential. I think most event planners are certainly under pressure to find that one thing that hasn’t been done before and talked about for weeks after the event.  I have come across some hum dingers in my day like the trend of placing food on people’s bodies during lunch.

So how can some businesses make bad entertainment choices?  it happens when an organisation starts the planning phase being too inwardly focused. It starts with management saying they saw X entertainment at an event they were at, or a mate of theirs has a friend who is a comedian, but really their experience is limited to telling a few jokes at a dinner party.

Always put the audience first

Indeed start planning with internal ideas and brainstorming. However, I think most entertainment failures happen when the focus is taken off the delegate profile. The simple question of ‘Does this suit our audience’? should be asked when considering each act.

It’s also important to have a backup option for any ‘unforeseen disasters. Back in the 1990’s an ex-colleague of mine organised entertainment for some bank executives in the UK transporting them on the Orient Express to the opera.  Unfortunately the train broke down, so the executives had to board a bus, surprisingly a first for some. However, this perceived disaster was rectified by a fantastic experience at the Opera, entertainment that matched the audience profile. The fact they had to get back on a bus didn’t seem to bother them.

Consider the audience generation gap

One other important consideration when sourcing entertainment is how does one bridge the gap between generations? Millennials, Post Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers, finding entertainment that can bridge these generations can be difficult.  As a rule of thumb:

  • always look at your audience profile first, then decide if one or multiple acts are required to satisfy all generations.
  • make sure you get references directly from corporates who have used them in the past
  • search the entertainers profile online, you may find some honest reviews
  • use an agency where possible, their reputation is heavily dependent on an act, they have done the ground work in terms of searching for the best

If you are looking for an act that appeals to many generations and are professionally trained, we recommend The Starletts, visiting Australia for a limited time in 2019.

A poster for The Starletts Australian Tour

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