You have to deliver that “wow” at your events year after year—even with flat or reduced resources. Here are some ways to get more impact from your talent without spending an extra penny. Caveat: Negotiate these things before you sign the entertainment. There’s no incentive for anyone to agree on “extras” after you’ve signed. But before you sign, there’s a big incentive: They want to close the deal!
Try these upgrades:
1. Meet and Greet.
Obviously, I am talking about “name acts” here, not your local dance band! Meeting the artists after the show is an extra little experience you can offer to executives and top performers. Important: Limit the number of people and define the time it will last. Half an hour is reasonable for a chat, photo, and CD signing.
2. Promo Ideas.
Ask the talent to record a quick audio or video message to your attendees, and put it on your secure conference Web site. It’s a little extra something to motivate potential qualifiers to reach their goals and earn the trip.
3. Not for the Final Night Only.
Many acts can deliver your big party experience—plus your welcome-night jazz trio or second-night awards band for walk-on/walk-off music and a little dancing afterward. You’ll always get a better rate when you book multi-day performances. And if the talent is traveling to your location, you only have to fly them in once. (Note that you will also get discount rates on production for more then one show.)
4. Engage the Crowd.
Ask for an interactive segment during the performance. Bring guests up on stage to sing or dance. Some of this can be rehearsed at sound-check the afternoon of the event.
5. Set Your Message to Music.
Ask for a lyric rewrite to a popular song, incorporating your program’s message or your company name and message. It’s an easy way to make attendees feel recognized and pumped.
6. Do As the CEO Does.
Recently we created a “Dancing With The Stars”–style dinner show for an incentive program. Two professional dancers invited the company president and his wife (big fans of the TV Show) onto the dance floor to show their skills. It was, of course, rehearsed, but we presented it like a spontaneous moment and the attendees loved it! There is no stronger way to say, “Let’s have some fun tonight” than to have the boss get out there first and demonstrate that it’s okay!
Bill Hopkins has spent 25 years performing, coordinating, and producing event entertainment. For more, visit his Web site.