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16 Corporate Holiday Party Entertainment Ideas

I hope you are sitting down relaxing because the holiday season will be here before you know it! You are going to need some good Corporate Holiday Party Entertainment Ideas | Company Christmas Party | St. Louis Magiciancorporate holiday party entertainment ideas and the soon you get started the better.

Organizing a successful company holiday party is a difficult and stressful job. There are so many details and it is easy to forget something important. After all, the success of the entire event rests squarely on your shoulders…NO PRESSURE. It’s no big deal; just remember everyone is counting on you. 🙂

After years of performing and attending many corporate events, I have seen my share of stressed out event planners. I hope some of these ideas will help you preserving your sanity. bookmark it so you can refer back to it. Please feel free to share it with friends or others planning parties or events. I hope it is helpful to you and relieves some of the stress.

Let’s Get Started

6 Corporate Holiday Party Entertainment Ideas To Get Started

1. Plan As Far In Advance as Possible…Like the Summer!
It is never too early to start planning your event. The sooner you pick a date the easier it will be for your guests to plan on being there. Three to six months in advance is a good time frame. Hotels, banquet centers, caterers and entertainers (like myself) will still have many dates open making it easier for you to get the date you want. It always amazes me when someone will call me 10 days before an event in desperation. I always try to accommodate, if I am available, but skip the hassle and plan ahead.

2. Pick a Great Venue
The first place most people think of is a hotel or banquet facility, but don’t be afraid to push the envelope a bit. What about museums, wineries, country clubs, stadiums. You could try historic homes or estates. Why not look into the smaller restaurants in downtown. There are many places if you just use your imagination. Sometimes an interesting location can make your event outstanding.

3. Think About The Food.
Many facilities have catering packages to choose from but there are some things you should keep in mind. Make sure you know exactly what is included in the package. Are soft drinks like soda, tea and coffee included or will there be a charge? Are there any vegetarians or vegans in your group? Make sure the facility is willing to accommodate any special dietary needs in your group. You want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves.

4. Get Some Feedback On Last Years Holiday Party
If you want to satisfy your guests you have to know what they want. Some of the best corporate holiday party entertainment ideas come from last year’s guests. Find out what people liked about last year’s event and what was not so hot. Ask questions about the food, the venue and the entertainment. What would they like to see this year? You can do it by email, in person or just pick up the phone. Taking some time to find out information like this can save you from making the same mistakes as last year.

5. Set a Budget
Obviously you want to consider food, beverage and venue costs as well as recognition awards. But some other things to keep in mind include rentals and a sound system. And of course don’t forget the entertainment. Here is a note on prices. Remember, it is not always wise to shop price. The most expensive performer or caterer is not always the best and the cheapest is not always the best value. Just get some general ideas on budget at this point, you can always adjust later.

6. Pick a Theme
If it can work for your event pick a theme and go all the way with it. Don’t be afraid to go crazy, how about “The Holidays in Hawaii” or “Awards as Big as Texas”. You can even use concepts like loyalty, teamwork or customer service. Use your imagination and then start thinking about the props and décor you can use. Then you can move to the food. My favorite theme is “A Night of Magic and Mystery”, who would have guessed.

 

5 Things to Make Your Company Holiday Party a Success

7. Name Tags! Name Tags! Name Tags!
One of the simplest corporate holiday party entertainment ideas but so rarely seen at events. A name tag can take the pressure off Corporate Holiday Party Entertainment Ideas | Company Christmas Party | St. Louis Magicianeveryone at a holiday party. No one has to remember anyone’s name they can just relax and have a good time. You can make it simple and have everyone write their own name tags with a marker. Have them write something as a conversation starter, for example, if your event is at an auto museum everyone can write the name of their first car or their dream car. You can ask them a question and have them answer it on their name tag under their name. Questions like, what is your favorite kind of food or restaurant? What is your favorite vacation destination? Or they can write any interesting fact about themselves. Use your imagination and make it fun.

8. Think About the Traffic Pattern
Set up your welcome table just outside the door. You don’t want people wandering around wondering where the event is. Once they enter make sure you set up the bar or soft drinks across the room away from the entrance. This will avoid bottle necks and force people to go all the way into the room. If you are having entertainment or a speaker make sure to set up the platform on a long wall and not at the end of the room so that every one can have a good seat. The entrance to the room should always be opposite s the platform never behind it. Trust me, I once performed at an event where the entrance was next to the stage and it was a nightmare for everyone. It interrupted the presentation every time someone entered or exited the room. Plus, nothing is worse for a guest than having to cross in front of the platform to use the restroom.

9. Make Sure There is Something Happening Right Away – How About A Mystery Party Guest
Here is one of my favorite corporate holiday party entertainment ideas. If you want your christmas party to be a hit you need everyone having fun right away. You don’t want anyone standing around wondering when the event will start. Having some entertainment while the hors d’oeuvres are being passed can really break the ice. A mystery party guest who performs walk around sleight of hand is perfect for the cocktail hour or before dinner. As someone who specializes in being a mysterious, mingling party guest it is a lot of fun and gives everyone something to talk about. Most people have never seen this type of entertainment close up and it never fails to leave a lasting impression.

10. Use a Seating Chart
Nothing is more stressful for your guests that having to rushing around trying to save seats. Having a simple chart can take this stress away. It could be organized by department, work group or name. It also gives you control over who sits with whom. This can be a great tool if you want two groups to cooperate more. Just sit them at the same table and hopefully by the end of the night everybody will be friends.

11. Corporate Holiday Party Entertainment Ideas
Quality entertainment can really enhance your event and make a lasting impression on employees and guests. A younger crowd may enjoy a band or DJ. But sometimes the loud music can be a turn off to the “grown ups”. Besides you can be sure that whoever has to sit next to the loud speaker will want to leave early! I recommend strolling sleight of hand before dinner and a comedy magic performance after dinner and the awards. But don’t make the program too long, especially if there are awards. 30 to 40 minutes of comedy magic after dinner mixed with strolling magic before will be perfect. Whatever corporate holiday party entertainment you choose make sure it is completely hassle-free. You have enough to do without having to cater to a high maintenance speaker or performer.

5 Quick Tips for the Night of Your Company Holiday Party

12. Get There Early
Don’t put yourself into a tailspin right at the beginning of the night by running late. One hour early should be fine, but at least 30 minutes.

13. Be Easily Found
Make sure you check in and say “Hi” to the banquet manager so she can find you and remember you easily if needed.

14. Charge Up Your Cell Phone
People will need to find you and you might need it for emergencies. Nothing is worse than doing an event with an event planner with a dead cell phone.

15. Act Like the Host
Mix and mingle, introduce people and have a good time. The hard work should be done now enjoy yourself a little, you deserve it.

16. Create a HASHTAG #yourcompanyholidayparty2017
Creating a hashtag is simple and it gives everyone a chance to share their photos. It gives a second life to your event and makes people look forward to next year. If this is the easiest and most effective corporate holiday party entertainment ideas

Well, there you have it 16 corporate holiday party entertainment ideas. Obviously, if this is not the first event you have planned you may have already known some of the tips in this report. But I hope you found something that you can use to ensure your next event turns out to be a huge success and you get the applause, accolades, and acknowledgement that you deserve.

If you are searching for someone to wow clients at your event, please get in touch to learn more about how I can help you at your next client appreciation event.  Click here and fill out the form for more info.

Client Appreciation Events: 14 Ideas to Make Yours a Success

Client Appreciation Events Corporate Magician Steve BarcellonaClient Appreciation Events: 14 Ideas to Make Yours a Success

Client appreciation events are an important way to demonstrate an all important message to your clients; that they mean more to you and your organization than just a name and a number on a balance sheet. It give you and your representatives an opportunity to build rapport and trust in a natural way. Client appreciation events also pay a huge compliment to your clients. The loyalty that they build is a measurable way to create business growth. Here are some tips for client appreciation events.

4 Reasons to Have a Client Appreciation Events

  • Your clients want to know that you value their business, they really like to feel appreciated. This one reason alone may help you hang on to clients for years without doing anything other than a periodic phone call.
  • Clients who feel appreciated are far more likely to stay with you through a down market and are more likely to give you referrals!
  • If sending an impersonal birthday or holiday card is all you do to keep in contact with clients throughout the year, it is past time for you to step up your game.
  • Want to reach next-generation clients? Invite your clients’ family and friends to attend your events. There’s no faster way to make a good first impression than when your clients are happy, relaxed and personally engaged with your firm.

The 3 R’s for Your Client Appreciation Events

The goal of any client appreciation event is rapport, retention and referrals.

  • Rapport- Give yourself a chance to strengthen rapport and build on relationships in an easy environment. The conversation gets a lot easier if there is something else to talk about besides business.
  • Retention – It is incredibly important to make an emotional deposit into a client’s mental bank. By far the best thing to be associated with is a fun, pleasurable evening.
  • Referrals – The most powerful way to build on a business is through referrals. Clients will freely offer up your name to friends and family with just a little push from you.

What kind of event should you have? 4 great ideas

  • Happy Hour or Cocktail Party – Happy hour events are fun and if your clients partake in alcoholic beverages, they have a way of loosening people up to a degree that allows engagement. Plan a two to three hour event where you can offer two drinks and hors d’oeuvres. It is a nice relaxed environment making it easy to move around the room, meet people and answer questions. I regularly perform strolling magic for a client who holds an event like this on a regular basis at an upscale hotel lobby bar, which is the perfect ambiance.
  • Coffee and Dessert Party – Desert parties can be a perfect solution. They are great if you have a clientele that is a bit older or maybe wouldn’t participate in a happy hour. They’re informal, inexpensive, and fun and because the environment is relaxed, attendees don’t feel pressured or awkward and are more likely to open up. Spring for some special desserts, something out of the ordinary. Again a hotel or a nice restaurant with some ambience would be great for this type of event. A Mystery Party guest could definitely liven it up.
  • Wine & Cheese tasting – A classy event where you can mix and mingle with your clients. A lot like the happy hour. Have a table where the wine is served and explained. Keep it casual instead of a full blown wine class.
  • Dinner and a Show – This is a wonderful way to really show your clients how much they mean to your organization. Start with a cocktail hour and then dinner. After you make a short presentation an hour of standup comedy magic that ends on a high, positive note will send everyone home raving about your event and will be sure to garner referrals. This can be a perfect holiday event.

 

3 Ways to get the word out about your Client Appreciation Events

  • Newsletter – Make sure you let your list know about your event in the newsletter. It needs to be in at least two editions and make sure you ask your clients to RSVP.
  • ­­­­­­Website – A blog post or a page on your website with a form for clients to RSVP is a great place to direct interested parties.
  • Phone Calls – Make sure your most important clients get a personal invite.

Be careful you can’t invite everyone. You want them to feel special and having a huge crowd won’t accomplish that goal. Somewhere between 50 and 100 will make a manageable group, this way you can spend some time with everyone. It is better to have two or more events than to have a group so large that there will be clients that you never get to.

Make your event something they will want to tell their friends about. A great event will make it easy for them to mention you the next time they talk to their friends and family. “We went to an event that our (your firm’s name here) put on and it was amazing! It was so much fun that I can’t wait for the next one.”

If you are searching for someone to wow clients at your event, please get in touch to learn more about how I can help you at your next client appreciation event.  Click here and fill out the form for more info.

Steve’s Introduction

Steve’s Introduction

It’s important to have someone introduce the show. It gets everyone’s attention and gets them focused and quieted down so the show gets off on the right foot.

Sometimes, before we get started, some remarks are going to be made or there will be an awards presentation. It is best to have these things happen before the show. Whenever these festivities have concluded the MC should go into one of the following introductions.

If you read them as written you will get at least 3 laughs. I have seen many people try and adlib, I have rarely seen people make these remarks funnier, but it is up to you! Have a good time with it.  Remember, we are trying to get everyone relaxed and change any preconceived ideas they might have about what is to come.

This first one is the one we will most likely use.

Introduction 1 (No Music)

Our entertainer this evening became interested in magic at an early age and after years of practice… he still isn’t any good.

His company Barcellona Presentations helps corporations and associations get their events off to a great start, by providing motivational comedy entertainment for banquets and sales meetings throughout the Midwest…whether they like it or not.

His main goal is to make magic cool, hip and sexy.
Instead of dumb, geeky and lame.
But face facts, it is really just a desperate cry for help.

Let’s put some magic on the menu with a warm round of applause for the master of magic and mirth…Steve Barcellona.

(Lead the applause, when I get to you we will shake hands and
then you walk off and enjoy the show!)

Occasionally, if there is a long walk out prerecorded music might be used to cover the transition. In that case we will use the second introduction which ends a little differently because the music has an announcer’s voice on it.

Introduction 2 (Music Intro)

Our entertainer this evening became interested in magic at an early age and after years of practice he still isn’t any good.

His company Barcellona Presentations helps corporations and associations get their events off to a great start, by providing motivational comedy entertainment for banquets and sales meetings throughout the Midwest…whether they like it or not.

His main goal is to make magic cool, hip and sexy.
Instead of dumb, geeky and lame.
But face facts, it is really just a desperate cry for help.

Thank you all for coming and on with the show!

(Walk off as music plays Steve on)

Awards Banquet Planning Tips to Make Winners Feel Like Stars

Shine A Light from above

Steve Barcellona Comedy Magic St. Louis, MO Awards Banquet Planning Tips Tp Make Winners Feel Like Stars

It is awards banquet time again; time to recognize those employees or volunteers who have done outstanding work on behalf of your company or group. In addition to the plaque or certificate what else are you going to do to make the award winners feel honored and most importantly special? Here are a few tips to make them feel like the stars of your awards banquet.

Treat your award winners like celebrities
At a recent awards banquet, I performed strolling magic in the VIP suite for the winners. Having a special area for your awardees and their families makes them feel special and honored. Have the room stocked with drinks and appetizers. Make them feel like celebrities; remember most people never make it to the VIP room.  

Big stars sit down front
Did you ever notice that the likely Oscars winners always sit down front with George Clooney? Reserve some tables down front for you award winners. It is a simple way to make them feel special.  It will also make for a smoother presentation because it will be easier for them to get to the stage for their award. Having stairs front and center, instead of the sides make stage accesses quick and easy.

Red Carpet Photos
Capture professional photos as award winner and special guests arrive. Those “hurry up” onstage snapshots rarely look good. You don’t want everyone to remember the evening with eyes half-closed and a head half-turned photo do you. Where appropriate, arrange for a professional photographer.

Cap the evening off with Great Entertainment
After dinner and the awards are finished treat everyone to some laughs. Not everyone will be a winner, but everyone should have a good time.  I recommend to my clients interactive, high energy comedy magic show.  If you have many awards 30 to 40 minutes will be perfect if you have only a few awards 45 minute to an hour will be the right amount of time.  The entertainment should be light and something that gets people having fun. An inexperienced entertainer or a long winded speaker will kill the night. People that are laughing are having a good time and will have wonderful memories of the evening. Make this year’s awards banquet amazing!

How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party…Part 2

Holiday time at Davidians

How to Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party Part 2

Here is part 2 of my recent interview with GigMasters.com. They were looking for some insights to help guide clients in booking entertainment for all kinds of events. I thought it would be useful as kind of a “How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party”. This is Part 1, please enjoy and spread it around if you like.

 

GigMasters: Do you prefer to work adult or children’s events? Or both?

Steve: I almost exclusively perform for adults. There are a couple of children’s charities that I work for. The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Shriner’s Hospital are two groups I can’t say no to.

GigMasters: What services/specialties do you offer?

Steve: I have a package called “The Evening of Comedy and Magic” That I consider my specialty. It starts off with strolling magic during the cocktail hour and finishes with an hour show after dinner. It is all self-contained and hassle free for the client and it really makes for a complete evening of entertainment.

GigMasters: What is the most interesting/unique event you have ever worked?

Steve: I sure have had some interesting things happen. I remember one time at a medical society awards banquet an older gentleman accepted his award and then fell off the stage. Thank goodness he was OK. He just bounced up like nothing happened it looked like he was made of rubber. Then there was the time a pipe broke in the ladies room. That was a mess! Ladies were screaming so loud that it was obvious something bad had happened. A few of them came back looking like they fell in the lake! But you learn to take it all in stride.

GigMasters: Anything else you’d like to share?

Steve: People always tend to shop performers by fee. The assumption is that all performers are the same and it all comes down to price. Rarely are the best, most experienced performers the cheapest. Realize that if you have 100 people at your event and you only want to pay a performer $300 that is only $3 dollars a head. What kind of entertainment can you get for $3 dollars out in the world? A trip to the movies is $7 to $10 bucks. Always hire the best talent you can afford. This year’s event is only going to happen once, don’t take any chances.

 

How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party…Part 1

Dolby Holiday 2006 24

How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party

Recently, I was interviewed by GigMasters.com. They were looking for some insights to help guide clients in booking entertainment for all kinds of events. I thought it would be useful as kind of a “How To Hire An Entertainer For Your Holiday Party”. This is Part 1, please enjoy and spread it around if you like.

 

GigMasters: What should a client consider when looking to hire an entertainer for their event?

Steve Barcellona: First thing, always look at testimonials on GigMasters website and the performer’s website. Do they have any video testimonials? If the performer has glowing recommendation from past clients that is a pretty good indication that they have a quality act.

Second, clients should always match the performer to the event. What kind of event is it? Is it an awards banquet, holiday party, conference or is it a children’s party, school assembly. Some magicians are great at children’s birthday parties, some are great for family events, and still others excel at corporate events. Clients should always look for the specialist. A lot of performers like to think of themselves as an “all occasion performer” not many are great at everything. I would hate to hire a general practitioner when I needed a brain surgeon.
Also, you should watch their video to get a good idea of who they are.

GigMasters: What questions should a client ask a Comedy Magician that they are considering booking?

Steve: Clients should get a good idea of what kind of act the perfromer has. Are they a stage performer? Do they perform close up? How does what they describe fit in with what you have planned? Always keep in mind that it might be worth it to adjust a bit if what they describe sounds like it would be really something special.

Also, they should always find out what kind of audiences the performer has worked for in the past. Are they groups like yours? How large? Are they events like yours? Most importantly, what kind of questions is the performer asking you. Does it seem like he has done this before? That is pretty important.

Gigmasters: Once a client books you for a performance, what details should be discussed prior to the event?

Steve: I always get all the details down on paper in the form of an agreement. It is nice for you and the client to see everything in black and white. That way there can be no misunderstanding. It is always nice to meet the event planner earlier on the day of the event. That way you know exactly where to set up. You can also handle any last minute changes together.

Oh yeah, make sure the performer has a good GPS’able address. You would be surprised how often people take for granted that there address is on the map!

GigMasters: Please tell us – when did you get started with magic, and why do you do perform?

Steve: I have been performing magic since my teenage years. My mother worked for a publisher and she brought me home a couple of magic books. Once I showed a little interest she kept bringing more. And so began the spoils of a misspent youth! I took a short break from performing to work in the corporate world, but I realized that life is too short not to do the things you really love to do…It just happens that I like to lie, cheat and keep secrets. (My wife hates that joke)

GigMasters: What kind of gigs do you usually book?

Steve: I do a lot of corporate and association events. At banquets I usually perform strolling magic during the cocktail hour as a mystery party guest. Then I do a really funny comedy magic stand up after dinner show. It is the kind of thing you would see in a comedy club, but clean, PG13. I also perform at hospitality suites and trade shows and some private parties.

Part 2 coming soon…

Planning Ahead Is The Key To A Successful Event

Calender

It happened again just this morning…Someone called me, frantic, to see if I was available this weekend for an event. Surprisingly I get phone calls like this a couple of times a month. I feel sorry for event planners like this, the amount of stress must be huge. It would be so much easier if they just planned ahead.
It is never too early to start planning your event. The sooner you pick a date the easier it will be for your guests to plan on being there. Three to six months in advance is a good time frame. Hotels, banquet centers, professional meeting planners, caterers and yes entertainers, will still have many dates open making it easier for you to get the date you want. It always amazes me when someone will call me a few days before an event in desperation. I always try to accommodate, if I am available, but skip the hassle and plan ahead.
I have already started to get requests for holiday parties. I know it is over 100 degrees outside who is thinking about holiday parties! Well some people are, I have even booked a couple. Plan ahead and pick your date and then give me a call.

Event Tip #101 – The Magic of Name Tags

005: Hello!

When ever I walk into a cocktail hour or corporate event and I see name tags being handed out I know I am about to have a great night. It is so simple but so rarely seen at events. A name tag can take the pressure off everyone. No one has to remember anyone’s name they can just relax and have a good time. You can make it simple and have everyone write their own name tags with a marker. Have them write something as a conversation starter, for example, if your event is at an auto museum everyone can write the name of their first car or their dream car. You can ask them a question and have them answer it on their name tag under their name. Questions like, what is your favorite kind of food or restaurant? What is your favorite vacation destination?Or they can write any interesting fact about themselves. Use your imagination and make it fun.
I love them because as I work the room, performing for people in small groups, they allow me to introduce people to one another. They also allow me to seem like part of the company or group. I have even heard people say “He was great, he knew everyone’s name!” Name tags are a simple and effective way to make your events successful.