You have everything set for your employee appreciation event or customer appreciation event. Your CEO introduces the entertainment for the evening and then, slowly, everything comes crashing to a halt. Instead of the laughter and applause that you hoped to hear, you hear silence and heavy sighs. The talent, which you thought was the perfect corporate entertainer for your group, panics and starts insulting the audience. You slowly slink down into your chair and wonder if your resume is up-to-date.
As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said and forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” While the food may be great and the Project free tv room looks beautiful, these will be quickly forgotten. What your group won’t forget is how miserable they felt watching the entertainer you chose to add some “fun” and excitement” to your event. It’s odd that, sometimes, an events manager will spend months on planning certain aspects of an event – food, hotel, decorations, etc – but wait to the last minute to book the proper corporate event entertainment.
1) Hit Your Homework – Stop relying on a speaker’s agency or entertainment agency to always book your talent. Many leading corporate entertainers don’t necessarily work with agents and, therefore, you can miss out on some great talent. While agents can be a good source for talent, they are not the only way to go. Don’t think that just because a corporate entertainer is on the agent’s roster that the agent has actually worked with that talent. Should you be willing to “broaden your options,” do a Google search for terms like funny motivational speaker or entertaining motivational speaker. Here you will find many corporate entertainers that can help you add the “WOW” factor to your event.
2) Delve into the Demos – Once you have chosen an entertainer or two, carefully watch the talent’s demo and see if he/she is a good fit for your group. This is the fastest way to confirm that the particular entertainer will work for you and saves you time – because if you don’t like the video, you can quickly move on to your next candidate. While watching the demo, see if the talent has worked for similar groups. Notice the demographics of the group. Does the video reveal crowd reactions? Is the laughter and applause real or is it canned? Are there multiple performance clips or is the video mostly one performance? Did the corporate entertainer receive multiple standing ovations or just one?
3) Survey the Site – If you like the demo, peruse the talent’s site to see exactly what type of corporate entertainment he/she provides. Observe if the corporate entertainer has a number of program options. Additionally, look at the companies for which the talent has worked and then read those company’s testimonials. Many corporate entertainers flash logos of companies on their site; however, when checking for testimonials from those companies on the talent’s site, those testimonials may not be present. If a talent is showing a logo of a company, it delivers the assumption that he/she has worked with that company and, therefore, logically, the talent should have a testimonial to back up that claim. If they don’t, then what should you assume?
4) Testimonials are Tops – Video testimonials have taken the place of referrals. Instead of having to call someone to get a referral on a talent, a video testimonial will tell you everything you need to know. What you should look for in a video testimonial is who is giving the testimonial and what they said. The testimonial should be from the person who booked the talent and – for corporate event entertainment – that should be from an events manager, marketing or sales executive or higher. Audience member testimonials are fine; however, you want to hear from someone in corporate who actually booked the talent. Since most corporate entertainers who are good at their job have been doing it for some time, the written testimonials will, undoubtedly, outweigh those on video. However, there should be enough video testimonials to provide you with solid information as to the quality of the service you can expect from the entertainer.
5) Talk to the Talent – Once you have accessed that a particular corporate entertainer may be perfect for your employee appreciation event or client appreciation event, then contact the talent directly. A few minutes on the phone will shed some light on how well the talent will not only work for your group, but also work with you. As with all events, flexibility is the key. If your talent has too many demands or needs, then you may need to look elsewhere. After all, you are dealing with the demands and needs of your group and your executives. You don’t need a “needy” entertainer, as well. During your call discuss fees, staging requirements and, most importantly, how the entertainer can help you add the “WOW” factor to your event.
Bottom line: Taking the time to find the right corporate entertainer for your corporate event entertainment does require “time.” However, event managers take the time to: plan multiple site visits; make copious calls to hotel catering; agonize over decorations, strategize hotel bookings and loads more to make sure the event is a success. Don’t let your decision for your corporate event entertainment be one of the last things you do, and don’t always leave it up to one source. Remember, your group probably won’t remember exactly what they ate or the details of the decorations on the table, but they will never forget how miserable they felt watching a lousy corporate entertainer.