Six non-negotiables for great corporate entertainment

Choosing the right corporate entertainment for your events is akin to walking a tightrope. Selecting a performer who’ll delight guests and at the same time, is in line with your client’s corporate identity, can be something of a balancing act. Without any further ado, we’ve compiled our six non-negotiables for choosing corporate entertainment that wows guests and satisfies clients.

Rule 1:  Get to know your client

Without any insight into who your client is it’s impossible to create an event – let alone choose suitable corporate entertainment. It’s imperative that the first step in planning corporate entertainment consists of gleaning as much insight as possible into the unique qualities, needs and objectives of your client. Once you’ve obtained a clear picture of their corporate identify and the image they wish to portray, choosing corporate entertainment that aligns to these will be far easier.

Rule 2:  Choose entertainment that’s compatible with the venue and season

Make sure that your corporate entertainment of choice is suited to both your venue, as well as the season.  While October days are warm, night are chilly – so it’s probably not the best ideas to have a string quartet playing in an outside courtyard if the majority of your guests are huddled inside around a fireplace. Venue considerations include the acoustics of the building (you won’t want to use a band playing in the middle of a small, intimate venue).

In addition, make sure that the sightlines of those seated enable them to adequately view the speaker or performers. If the people seated in the very front are the only ones with an uninterrupted view, you may want to consider building a raised platform for the people behind who may not be able to see.

Rule 3:  Your choice of entertainment needs to engage guests

The corporate entertainment you use is also dependant on the demographics of your guests. Are they a young, up-and-coming set or an older, more conservative crowd? Remember that corporate entertainment is not always the main focus of an event. Oftentimes – in the case of a networking cocktail party for example – you need entertainment that provides background ambience. If you use a singer who’s belting out loud renditions of jazz classics, your function won’t be conducive to networking. Similarly, make sure you don’t choose entertainment – like a cabaret show – that will take away from the objectives (i.e.: to network) of the event.

If you do want to use some show-stopping form of corporate entertainment, make sure that you’ve set aside a specific time slot where everyone’s focus is solely on the entertainment.

Rule 4: Understand the dynamics of your venue

Make sure to do a thorough inspection of the venue before deciding on your corporate entertainment. Are there enough power points in the vicinity? Will you need to hire extra sound gear? If your entertainment is going to be in two different areas – in the foyer to welcome guests, for example, and then in the main banquet hall – is it logistically possible for them to move their set-up without interrupting guests?

Rule 5: Corporate entertainment doesn’t have to consist of a performance

2014 has been the year of using innovative corporate entertainment, thanks to the use of new technologies and interactive elements. Many event planners forget that corporate entertainment is far more than a singer or a speaker, and the brands who’re eschewing traditional forms of entertainment are those holding events that delight guests in new and surprising ways. We’ve seen this come to fruition through interactive flooring, touch screens and even buffet tables that encourage guests to create their own delectable desserts that look like creations straight out of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Rule 6: – Make sure that you understand the terms of the contract with the entertainer

In the case of large-scale corporate events, your entertainment may consist of a well-known band or performer. Make sure that you’ve read the small print of their contracts and ‘riders’ that outline the specific demands of the artist. (Riders can contain specifications for anything from food preferences to accommodation of choice.)

In addition, make sure to establish whether you or your client will be footing the bill for these requirements – these can be costly and include flights, technical set-ups and various other ‘must-haves’. Also, make sure you’ve agreed on things like whether or not they’ll provide the background music, or if that task will fall to you. If they’re a kwaito band, make sure that similar music is played in between sets.

Image Credit: Jacqueline Tabor