If you’re even considering booking entertainment, read these party hosting tips. They can literally make or break your party!
In my 17+ year career as an entertainer, I have been in front of hundreds of groups of people. Trust me when I say, I’ve seen EVERY kind of group that you would ever want to see plus all of the groups that you would never want to see…and then some. I would frequently see varied reactions from everyone. However, what always amazed me is how similar groups would respond so differently to the entertainment. Granted, sometimes the group is to blame. Sometimes it’s the entertainer. BUT, more than 90% of the time, it’s the atmosphere! If the right atmosphere isn’t set from the beginning, people’s expectations drop immediately. Think about it: why do some major touring shows spend more than a million dollars a year to ship their own curtains and sound system when they perform in theaters? Did you get that? Some shows spend over a million dollars a year to ship equipment that’s readily available in almost every major venue. They do it because the creative team knows what works. Trust me when I tell you, if you’re having entertainment at a house party, THIS JUST WORKS. Put these on a checklist before your next party!
1. TV Covered or In Another Room
I start with this one because this literally is the ultimate party pooper. Unless the TV is the major reason this get-together is being held, there really is no need for the temptation of a TV being present. A party is for mingling and that doesn’t really get done if a handful of primary people are in front of the TV. One time while performing for a private party at a home, there was a guy sitting in the back who was probably enjoying the show more than anyone there, judging by his loud laughter and applause. Despite how much he was enjoying the show, it didn’t stop him from turning on the TV directly behind me for 30 seconds to check the score of the football game. It took every bit of 10 minutes to get everyone back on track. Covering a TV is as simple as putting decorations in front of it.
2. Crank Up The Music
Upbeat music is a great thing to have at parties. It provides extra noise in the background which breaks potential awkward silence and seems to add more life to the party. It doesn’t need to be very loud, just loud enough that it can be heard. The only time the music should be turned off is when the entertainment starts. When the entertainment is over, turn the music back on.
3. Kids and Adults Sitting Together
This is probably the one I am most asked about. If you only take one thing from this article, please take this one. For years, I would tell the host of the party that the adults can sit in the back and the kids can sit on the floor up front. It wasn’t until I had a few shows in a row where the kids and adults sat together that I realized, this is the biggest no-brainer I have found yet! No kids talking to each other during the show, no kids rushing the magician when something amazing happened and no kids having to stand up because they couldn’t see what was going on. This is as straight forward as I can be: have extra chairs in the room and the kids sit beside their parents. This provides more control not only during the show, but for the whole party in general. I promise that even if this is a child’s birthday party, you will do yourself a HUGE favor by inviting the parents.
4. Chairs For The Show Set Up Before Guests Arrive
This does a lot more than you might think. First of all, it prevents you from having to set up chairs during the party, with people standing everywhere. Second, it provides an environment for the people when they walk in that tells them they’re about to see some entertainment. Third, it controls where the people sit. It stops someone from grabbing a chair and putting it in a place that suits them but not everyone else.
5. Food Not Accessible During The Show
Food is too much of a distraction. I realize at many parties, the food is set up in a “buffet style” which means people know that they always have access to food. About 10 minutes before the show starts, announce that the food is being put away until after the show. This gives people time to adjust to the missing sustenance. If children are present for the show, DESSERT IS ALWAYS SERVED AFTER!!! In other words, DESSERT IS ALWAYS SERVED AFTER!!! If an explanation is needed, give an 8 year old some cake and ice cream and then make them sit still for a half hour. The easiest way around all of this is just to serve the food after the show.
6. Careful With The Alcohol
I promise I’m not going to say “No Alcohol” but you really need to take a few things into consideration before making a big investment here. How long is the party? Are any of your guests heavy drinkers? Will children be there? It only takes one mistake to not only ruin the show, but ruin the party as well. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen simply because the host let the wrong person have too much to drink. It resulted in major embarrassment for pretty much everyone present. Don’t make this mistake!
7. Set The Friendly Atmosphere Right From The Start
Be near the door. Greet people as they come in and if anyone is new to this particular group of friends you’re having over, be sure to introduce them to some other people. This gets them involved without them having to put in a lot of effort. They will feel a lot more comfortable right from the start and that’s really what you’re looking for. After all, you simply want people to be able to say that they had a great time at your party and that you made their night special. All of this may not seem like a lot but you can seriously make or break a party from this list.