I was a guest speaker at an insurance conference where they had hired a magician for the after dinner entertainment. He was witty, engaging - and very hard to hear. The room set up wasn't conducive to his performance. The lighting didn't do him justice. The sound system wasn't loud enough to drown out the talking in the back of the room. It was an open bar, and many delegates had too much to drink to pay attention. The room was set up theatre style, with chairs up front and tables to stand around at the back of the room. The people at the back of the room couldn't hear, so they gave up and engaged in their own private conversations, further distracting from the show. It was a real shame to see his talent, invested in by the sponsors and well worth the expenditure, go to waste.
Here are some tips to hire the best magician for your after dinner event:
- Find out what space/lighting/equipment requirements are needed before you sign the contract. A magician needs to command the room so he should have a clear list of requirements. If he is going to saw a body in half, you will need proper lighting, something safe to prop the table up with and rags to clean up the blood (Joking!) (If that's on the list of required items, find another magician!).
- Most magicians have a lot of equipment, gadgets and tricks: Will they be visible from the back of the room with an inebriated crowd?
- Do your research before hiring a magician. A general rule of thumb is the lower the fee the less experience they have. If possible, see his magic show and visualize him in the venue you have chosen, with your unique audience- does it fit? Check out recommendations.
- Hire locally if you can. One guest speaker/ magician told me that equipment and props can be a real headache when flying across the country. Too much can go wrong.
Finding the right type of after dinner entertainment can take some work, but it is worth it. Remember entertainment can come in all forms: magician, comedian, funny guest speaker, storyteller. Choosing the right mix is key to your program's overall success.
Should you hire a funny guest speaker or a comedian for your event? Check out our blog to find out.