To fully understand what works, and doesn’t work, when selecting entertainment for an event, you should get into the mindset of an entertainer.
There are two types of entertainment. One is desired entertainment, the other is forced entertainment. The performer who understands the deeper rooted psychology of getting in front of an audience that did not ask for him will be a better overall entertainer.
Desired entertainment is where we make the choice to observe, witness and absorb something that appeals to our innermost senses.
What we witness fills a void. A sadness that needs to be released. A joy inside that has to be expressed. The need to escape. The symphony that brings us to unshed tears. The comedian draws out laughter that has been missing. The movie that makes us feel. Something.
Desired Entertainment is a conscious choice WE make to be a part of. We arrange for the babysitter. We purchase the ticket. We go because it is something we want to be a part of.
Forced Entertainment is just the opposite. The audience is there because they have to be there. Some examples of gatherings where there is forced entertainment include awards banquets, trade shows and hospitality suites, networking events, and holiday parties.
Lest we make this sound worse than it really is, people DO want to be entertained. However, at many events where attendance is required, the audience has no choice in the matter on how they will be entertained. They just have to sit through it, and like it. (Or not.)
A company event planner has a lot of decisions to make to bring an event together. A small part of that is finding and hiring the entertainment. In a lot of cases, more thought goes into the food and decorations. Someone on the committee suggests a certain type of entertainment. After bantering the thoughts and suggestions around, they come up with an idea, and one person is put in the role of “finding the entertainment”. In these scenarios, you aren’t going to please everyone in attendance. Whatever the final choice is, that is what the audience will be forced to partake in.
If this sounds harsh, it really isn’t. It is a fact of life in planning an event. You do the best you can. Trying to get feedback can take more time than you have. You have to go on instinct. You have to know your group.
Here is what makes all the difference in the world in the selection process. You want an entertainer who knows what he/she is up against before they even take the stage.
You will find a whole lot of entertainers who have tunnel vision with their acts. They steamroll through their 45 minutes no matter how the audience reacts. Their ego makes them more important than anything else around them.
A professional entertainer will turn forced entertainment into desired entertainment. This happens by mindset. It is knowing that there are going to be people in the audience who really have no desire to watch the magician, listen to the comedian, pay attention to the hypnotist.
The very first thing, before even going on to stage, is believing no matter who is out there, the performer is there to find that place in everyone’s heart that will strike a chord. It is truly caring for the audience. Perhaps they have had to take time before showtime to stroll through the crowd, get to know people. They have to build relationships in a very short period of time. Those first few moments on stage are critical. An entertainer may be technically perfect, but deep down, has to have the true desire to show that they are there to have fun, make this fun for everyone.
Your entertainment should strive to make everyone feel included.
The only way an event planner is going to find these one of a kind pros is to do more than just look at a web page, view a video, and get a price quote. Take the time to let a performer get to know you, your event, your audience.
Allow the entertainment to assimilate into your event. Become a real part of it. Not just something thrown in at 8:45 for 30 minutes. How do you know you’ve found an entertainer who will captivate your group? They will want to be involved in the event. They will offer you real-life suggestions and proven ideas that will make everyone attending feel special. You’ll know when you have found someone who cares.
Remember this. Everyone wants to be entertained. It’s our job to make sure they are.
Ray Lawrence is an entertainment strategist from Louisville Kentucky. He offers entertainment solutions at www.YourEntertainmentPartner.com.
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