With Halloween in the air, we’ve enlisted corporate magician and master of prestidigitation, Bill Herz to share some of his tips and tricks of the trade when planning a major event. With decades of experience performing for discerning audiences ranging from CEO’s to Heads of State, and with superstars from Beyonce to David Copperfield, Bill has applied his extensive production acumen to highlight the six scary practices and pitfalls that can transform a seemingly ordinary event into a house of horrors:
Never Have Your Speaker or Entertainer Perform Outdoors – Although I perform in many beautiful places all over the world, the speech or show is never as good as it could be when it’s outside. There isn’t a speaker or entertainer in the world who, given their choice, will choose to perform outside. Although the scenery might be beautiful, it always makes for rough going for the presenter. There are ambient noises such as wind or waves that you are competing with, as well as the scenery. Great to have your cocktails or even dinner outside, but move your guests back inside for dessert and the presentation.
High Centerpieces. Nothing breaks up the sight line better than flowers or centerpieces that are too high. Your guests can’t see the stage without bobbing and weaving. It also makes it very difficult to have a conversation with someone on the opposite side of the table. A good rule of thumb is no center piece above 6″ high.
Close The Bar – Nothing is worse for a speaker or performer than when audience members are getting up to during your speech to get a drink. Close it down when the speaker or performer is on.
Too Many Seats – Nothing looks worse than a half-full ballroom. If you are not sure exactly how many people are coming, put “reserved” signs on the back tables and remove the signs as needed.
At minimum, this makes sure that all of the attendees are sitting up front and you don’t have an empty row or two of tables in the front.
Bathroom Breaks – Many times a company will announce that everyone should “take a ten minute bathroom break” before the speech or show. If you do that, you are bound to lose some people as they get stuck on the phone, wander off to the bar, check the score, etc. If someone needs to go to the bathroom, they are going whether you suggest it or not.
Make Sure the Tables are Close to the Stage – It’s very hard for a speaker or performer to bond with an audience if the audience is too far away, or if there is a dance floor separating the stage from the audience. The feeling of intimacy, even with a large group is much easier to accomplish if the tables are as close to the stage as possible.
According to Bill, “Some of these items might seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how I often I run into these problems.” To bring the world-renowned sleight-of-hand magic and humor of Bill Herz, or any of our corporate entertainers to your next event, contact us at BigSpeak. We have a dedicated in-house event coordination team to handle the details, from conference call to curtain call, and keep your engagement nightmare-free. Happy Halloween!