How to put on a company party.

How to put on a company party:

Oh, great. You’ve been put in charge of putting on your company’s Christmas holiday party and finding the perfect entertainment. Now what?

Relax! It’s actually pretty easy to get it all together. There are some basic details that will need tending to right away, so let’s get going!

The first thing to know is that the internet is only partially your friend. Some of the best caterers, decorators and entertainers in your area aren’t professional marketers and may not be on the “first page” of Google. Many of those who are marketing-savvy may not be the best fit for your group and their needs. Don’t worry. I’ll share the secret to finding just the right partners and vendors in just a moment!

What should you consider when putting your event together?

  • Will this be for adults only are are families included?
  • Will this be formal, semi formal or casual?
  • Where will the event be held? Your office, a restaurant or special event venue or at a hotel ballroom?
  • Is there a social hour, is this a mixer, will there be food (buffet or seated)?
  • Are you having speeches, awards or other presentations? When?
  • Do you want people to go away laughing, smiling and saying “WOW!” or simply saying, “what a nice night?”
  • Do you want some live music during the beginning of the event? During the meal? As a featured attraction after the lunch or dinner?
  • Do you want people to dance or do you want them to enjoy a fun and entertaining show?
  • Is it important that no one in your group be offended with any suggestive humor, political jokes, religious or ethnic references?

It is my experience that every event should be viewed as a “story”. There should be a beginning, a middle and an end.

The Beginning
People should arrive and have things happening from the start! Music, mingling entertainment such as a terrific sleight-of-hand magician and/or a silhouette artist making keepsakes. This is the time where people get acquainted with spouses and guests. You need an “icebreaker” to help people introduce one another and keep things festive. Having name badges pre-made when the arrive helps everyone from feeling awkward. This should be done OUTSIDE of the dinner area in a separate room if possible.

The Middle
This is when people move to their tables for your meal whether a buffet or seated dinner or lunch. Having place cards so that people know where to sit takes care of uncertainty and keeps from having one lone couple stuck at a table all by themselves. The dinner should always open with a welcome from the host, a prayer if appropriate, and then the meal itself. Have light dinner music (no words, instrumental only) playing lightly during the meal. At the end of the meal and during the dessert is the BEST TIME to give out your awards and give a SHORT speech if necessary.

The End
Now is the time to WOW your group with a terrific show. My opinion? Make people laugh, get them engaged, have a real “production” that gets people involved and clapping like never before. Think variety acts like a great comedy magic show, a comedy hypnotist or a high-level ventriloquist. Think “cruise ship entertainment”. Variety entertainers can customize their show with your company name or motto and include people in their acts to make it even more personal. Make sure that you insist that it be “clean and politically correct” to keep you out of trouble. At the end of the show, simply thank everyone for coming and bid them a good night. If you can have a small parting gift for everyone as they leave, so much the better. Even a small box of chocolates nicely wrapped is that “something extra” that makes people say “awe…”

So where can you find what you need to pull off such an event? I said that the Internet is only “partially our friend”. I suggest that you find a reputable event planner or talent agency in your town. Both can help you not only find great entertainers and other vendors but they can help find the perfect MATCH for your group and event. They have the experience and know what will work and what won’t. Tell them what the “look and feel” is that you are going for, but listen to what they have to say. They do this day in and day out. Trust them!

Then, create your “to do list” broken down by week. Finding your entertainment and venue is a BIG priority. They are the first to get booked by others. Get this done first, then everything else.

Most of all, learn to delegate to others. If you don’t have the staff don’t worry. A great event planner can either assist you and your team or do everything for you. Don’t forget, you’ll want to enjoy your party too!

About the author: David Hira is a nationwide entertainer, magician and motivational speaker. He has worked over 400 events a year for small and large companies and has worked with dozens of event planners and talent agencies. For more information on David Hira, go to www.DavidHira.com or email David at david@DavidHira.com

Clean Entertainment for Corporate Audiences

After a recent show I called my client to say thank you and to get feedback. “They all love you and your show… we’re glad we didn’t go with a comedian.” Ah, I hear this all to often. What is the reason behind this common thread?

Safety.

Corporate events and customer appreciation events are all about having fun and adding a little excitement. The last thing anyone wants is there to be that “oh no…” moment when a performer says the wrong (stupid) thing in front of the crowd that the corporation is trying to “win over”. Suggestive or sexual humor or innuendos are never appropriate. Keeping it clean, fun, upbeat and positive is my motto. Political humor, religious humor, ethnic references or references to the economy is neither funny nor appropriate at a corporate gathering.

The client continued, “We once had a comedian and had to tell them to please leave out any dirty stuff or political references as our crowd does not take kindly to those types of remarks. The comedian PROMISED to leave that material out but he didn’t.” Oh my. How do you solve that?

I promise my clients two simple things. There is NEVER any suggestive, political, religious or ethnic humor in anything I do…not on stage nor off stage. You will NEVER have to ask me to leave that type of material out of my act because it was NEVER in my act to begin with. Secondly, I offer a full 100% money-back guarantee. If you audience is not completely delighted with my performance you pay no performance fee.

It is more important than ever to treat your staff, your customers and your potential customers with complete respect. Respecting their personal viewpoints means never making fun of things that they may hold dear. Being sure that your speakers and your entertainers are committed to this is essential. Check references before you hire your entertainer or speaker. Be sure they have a guarantee. Insist on seeing recent video of their performances. Get everything in writing.

Know of someone who is planning a corporate retreat, company event, trade show or convention? David Hira is the perfect entertainment or keynote motivational speaker for corporate, non-profit or church events. Find out more at http://www.davidhira.com or by calling 469-688-3954. David travels from Dallas – Fort Worth and is available nation-wide and internationally.

Business Tip: How to be a Mindreader

David Hira, Mind Reader, Magician, and Motivational Speaker

How can you have just the right product or service, tweaked perfectly to your customer’s smallest wants and desires, so that that people will shop with you and tell all of their friends time after time? It’s easy: become a mindreader.

If you’ve seen my magic shows or my keynote presentations or if you were ever one of my customers when I owned my restaurant, day spa, jewelry shows, or if I navigated you through U.S. Customs as I did for Cartier, Seiko and Fossil Watches, you know that I must be a mindreader! People leave my keynotes saying, “How did he know that was exactly what we needed to hear?” My customers always gave my other businesses awards for “Best of..” over and over again. We won community awards of every kind!

Was I really a mindreader?

No. Now, our magician’s code is, “Never reveal the secret to a trick.” But (because I know YOU can keep a secret), I am going to break the code just this once to help you in your business or job. Here’s the secret to knowing what your customer’s want, what your community wants, what your church wants, and what your spouse or kids want or need from you: Ask them and ask them often.

The first question you need to figure out is who is YOUR customer? Your customer is whoever it is that you have to please in order for you to sustain your lifestyle. She could be your business client, someone who patronizes your store, or an online buyer you have not yet met in person. He could be your student or your students’ parents. Your customer may be your spouse and your children or your neighbors and your community. With that in mind, please read on!

How good are you at asking the people that sustain you, “How can I please you best? What can I improve for you? What might you want from me in the coming months?” This simple act of engaging people, listening to them, and then taking action allows you to match your customers’ lists of wants and desires with what you provide and always yields great results.

What are some ways this can be done? Phone a few customers each day. Make it a part of your routine. Create a short survey on your web site or email them a short survey. Print up a short and easy to fill out card with your questions. Give them multiple choice answers and a place for them to write in answers. Get out to where your customers are and ask them pointed questions.

What questions can you ask your customers?
•    What aren’t we carrying or what service aren’t we providing that you really wish we did?
•    What bugs you most about doing business with us?
•    If you could name 3 things that we do best, what would they be?
•    If you could name 3 things that we could do better what would they be?
•    What is your biggest need as my customer?

What questions can you ask of your spouse and children?
•    What aren’t I doing or providing to you that you really wish I did?
•    What bugs you most about being married to me or about being your dad/mom?
•    If you could name 3 things that I do best for you, what would they be?
•    If you could name 3 things that I could do better what would they be?
•    What is your biggest need as my spouse/child? (Do any of these questions sound familiar?)

When I am hired to provide a great fun magic show, perform “Mingling Magic” (expert sleight-of-hand), or give a motivational and life-affirming keynote I ask a LOT of questions. Why are these people gathering? What is the purpose of this event? Is there anything I need to know about regarding these people? Has there been any incidence that I need to know about that is affecting people’s emotions, thoughts, or attitudes? What is the average age and income of those who will be present? What do you hope to achieve as a result of me being at this event? How will you measure that result?

In order for me to be successful and to be relevant to those I will be affecting and engaging I need to know who they are, how to best relate to them, and what is on their minds.

So now you know my secret: I am not REALLY a mind reader.

Since I’m not a mindreader, I simply need to ask. When you start asking questions, on a regular basis, you will be surprised at how much more successful you will be at everything you do!