Talk of corporate events and for most people there are two things that come to mind. Hours of absolute mind-numbing, bone-aching tedium. Followed by a free bar. And the chances are, that’s not the vibe that you’re aiming for. The thing is, corporate events can be really important for your business. They help to instil company culture. They’re somewhere to share messages, build relationships, celebrate success and motivate towards a shared goal. But in order to do all of that, you first need to make your team believe that a corporate event is something worth attending. And for more than just a prospective hangover.
So, how do you turn your corporate event from a mandatory slog into a calendar highlight? It all starts with the entertainment.
6 Ways to Bring the WOW Factor to Your Next Corporate Event
1. Start early
There is absolutely nothing comparable to live music when it comes to bringing atmosphere to a corporate event. To any event, really. And you can use it at various times and in various ways. Make something special of the meet and greet, with a string quartet or harpist to set a tone of sophistication. Better still, break with tradition bring out a swing jazz band right at the very start of proceedings. It will grab the attention, get people talking and switch up the mood to give you a far more receptive audience.
2. Think of the whole day
It’s too easy when planning event entertainment to focus on the end of the day when everyone is winding down. They key to a successful corporate do, however, is to keep people engaged all day. This doesn’t have to mean enormous gestures, but little things to spark the curiosity. Candy buffets and photo booths are painfully on trend. Having celebrity impersonators mingling with your guests works well. You could have some gentle live music – maybe an acoustic duo – performing during lunch or any free schedule time. Or maybe a street artist creating throughout the day. Just little snippets of lightness to help attendees feel that this event is for them as much as it is for the business.
3. Do something different
Sticking to a standard event formula is easy. That’s why most people do it. And that’s why it’s so damn boring. You can use your entertainment to mix things up a bit. If you must incorporate lengthy presentations into your day, create an official ‘buzzword bingo’ to keep attendees listening. Or work in a wake-up break, where a band like the Indie Heads can bring some bounce back to your wilting audience. A comedian could do the same. Or even fire eaters storming the stage between speakers – venue allowing. Anything to make attendees sit up and listen.
4. Create some away time and space
Try as we might, we only have a limited attention span. Scheduling regular breaks or having areas where attendees can switch off for a few minutes amidst the exhibitor stands can help revive flagging minds. A small side room could be converted into anything from a temporary art gallery (potentially with a relevant subject), to a silent disco.
5. Make the main meal memorable
Good food is a must at a corporate event, but entertainment can help make the meal really memorable. Relatively low-key things, like caricaturists and table-side magicians can be great. Live music of any kind beats typical dinnertime muzak. And circus performers working around the tables can also be an amazing talking point.
6. Build to a grand finale
The only real way to finish a corporate event on a high is with a full live band. An all-round crowd-pleaser like The Sombodys could deliver something for everyone. Or for more niche entertainment, you have ensembles like Motown Gold and Soul Fresh. Whatever style you go for, music makes an event feel like a party. Live music makes a party feel like a gig. It leaves guests feeling uplifted and positive. It means that people can still have an amazing time, even without an exorbitant bar tab… Although you may well still have one of those!
Entertainment is – should be – more than just a filler for a corporate event. It can be a tool. It can lift moods and expectations. Entertainment can turn a hostile, or basically bored audience into a receptive one. It’s there for you to use… So why not use it?