Have you ever tried to put a three-year-old down for a nap after running around with them for 40 minutes? Well, don’t. I mean, you’d think they’d get tired, right? You’d think that after twenty minutes of straight play they would fall right to sleep, but they don’t. They don’t get tired. They don’t feel sleepiness. They have no worries, no stress; they exist to eat, play, and destroy your home. They are like tiny little zombies except instead of brains they eat candy!
Why am I talking about this? Well, for one thing, I can’t complain to my wife because then she’ll know she was right. But for another, trying to get a kicking and screaming three-year-old to go to sleep reminded me of how horribly things can go when you don’t schedule them properly. Events in particular.
What a lot of people don’t figure out until their later years of event planning is that it doesn’t matter if you have the perfect meal, venue, and entertainment planned for your event. You have to also put these things into a perfect timeline if you want your event to thrive.
So, today I want to walk you through the perfect event timeline. We will be using an Awards Banquet as an example, but the timeline can apply to most events where speeches and presentations are made.
The Event Timeline
Dinner is served
Make announcement for a 10-15 minute bathroom break while dessert is being served.
At the conclusion of the break, begin the entertainment
At the conclusion of the entertainment start the award ceremony
Now, to claim this is the perfect timeline, we would have to have some pretty good reasons for why things are in the order they are in, right? My guess is you don’t have any problems with “Guests Arrive” being the first thing on the list or opening announcements following. The real discrepancies tend to come when we get to dinner, entertainment, and the award ceremony.
(Timeline courtesy of Erick Kand, one of the top working corporate hypnotists in the country).
Why is dinner first?
Generally, an event like this starts around five or six o’clock, otherwise known as “dinner time.” People are going to be hungry when they show up to your event. If you put entertainment before dinner, you are cheating yourself out of the full reaction you could receive from your audience. Regardless of how enjoyable a performer is, people will inevitably get distracted by the smell of food and become irritable in their hunger.
As for putting the award ceremony first, many people attend these banquets specifically because of the awards. If you decide to put the award ceremony first, you might lose some of your guests.
Okay, so that explains why dinner comes first, but why can’t the awards come before the entertainment? Well, we have a few thoughts on that as well…
Presenters tend to talk longer when awards are scheduled early in the program.
Scheduling awards before the show brings down the energy of the room before the performance. In comedy, this is known as “killing the room” and lessens the impact of your entertainment.
(And Again) It is human nature that some people will leave as soon as the awards are over, so it makes sense to schedule the awards as the finale for the evening. Otherwise, many people will miss out on the great entertainment you have planned!
So how does entertainment fit into an event schedule?
You should try to avoid using entertainment when there might be other things your audience wishes to focus on (such as dinner). Use it as a tool to boost excitement, mood, and engagement. Schedule the performance during a time when guests might otherwise become bored or uncomfortable. If you do these things, your should have the perfect schedule for your event
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