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Custom Projects, Interstitials, & Award Shows

Posted on December 11, 2008

A successful corporate entertainment event is a party, a dinner, a Broadway show and a sales presentation all at once. As I’ve written earlier, these diverse environments require management of audience dynamics to get the best return on your investment. I’ve shared some tips, which I’ve learned from some of the best meeting planners in the business and as the producer of The Water Coolers, that direct the audience on how to act and react using the elements in the room, and in the event itself. Here are some closing thoughts. 

Working With Your Entertainment
Part of what we offer is our expertise in how our material works to build a satisfying show and this should be true of any high-end act. Our writers, professionals in comedy and musical comedy, know how to build a set that is finely calibrated…creating a mood, knowing when to have a solo and when to have a medley, building a laugh, calling back to previous moments. Our most successful partnerings are with meeting planners who tell us about their goals, audience, and organization and then trust us to structure our show’s high points and low points, pace and mood. Of course when we write material specifically for a client, we rely heavily on her input and approval because we simply don’t have the knowledge she does, so in that case, the client has to give final sign off on everything related to her organization or industry. 

Interstitial Performances and Award Shows
Entertainment that breaks in periodically during the awards ceremonies or educational programming can keep the audience energized and focused on the content—as long as the audience knows who those people singing and dancing on the stage are.  The way to do that is a short opening performance of about 20 minutes.  After we’ve been “introduced,” the segments can be shorter, because the audience already knows who we are and all the segments will get a better response.

Awards programs have a very specific business objective: to motivate future employee performance. I know, as former management consultant, that you accomplish this through recognition and reward. You want high achievers to feel valued and special. From my perspective as a producer, I’ve noted that 20 awards or fewer, with three-to-six highlighted as special awards, seems to serve that goal best. Upwards of 20 individual awards and each person seems less special, which undercuts the business objective. 

Among the techniques we’ve used with meeting planners to recognize individual achievement, the strongest have been in awards ceremonies for which we wrote original songs about the winners. After one event, an audience member came up to me and told me he was committed to exceeding his sales goals specifically so he could have a song written about him—he even told me what song he wanted.  Now that’s incentive.


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