Looking for entertainment ideas for an upcoming awards banquet?

We are happy to share some unique entertainment ideas. We'll even point you in the right direction depending on your needs.

But before we do, you should know …

Entertainment can make or break your event. Unfortunately, many event planners miss out when it comes to the program portion of the evening.

Awards banquets allow companies, charities and associations a chance to recognize significant members. It is a chance to say “thank you” to key players in your success.

Awards banquets are also an important part of reinforcing brand, message and promoting awareness. They:

  • improve staff, volunteer and member morale.
  • build reputation and awareness when promoted through media.
  • add value when tied into a conference, convention or other corporate event.
  • help build bonds between clients  and  host.

As important as an awards banquet is, you may notice they all seem the same. Which may be the reason most people hate attending recognition dinners. Many event planners become engrossed in meal choices, decorations and entertainment. They lose site of the purpose. Before your select entertainment, it is smart to take a look at the entire event.

Clarifying The Purpose Of Your Awards Banquet

As you plan an awards banquet, it is important to avoid falling into the same old trap. Start by being clear on the purpose of the event. It include be one or several of the following reasons:

  • to make people feel appreciated for their efforts. As individuals and as a group.
  • to help people feel they are part of the big picture.
  • to introduce your volunteers, staff or key members to others.
  • to educate attendees about the impact of those you recognize.
  • to re-commit people to the future of your company, charity or association.

The Basic Format of an Awards Dinner

Now let's look at the standard format of an awards luncheon or dinner.

  • Cocktails / Networking
  • Dinner
  • Speeches
  • Awards
  • Entertainment

Does that look familiar to you? It should. Most awards dinners or recognition luncheons follow this schedule.

Does the schedule actually meet the purpose outlined earlier? My vote is no. It follows the typical agenda of every other dinner event, minus the awards segment.

So how can your awards banquet be different?

First, plan your entertainment immediately following the meal. This will put everyone in a good mood and make them receptive to the speeches and awards that follow.

It will also allow your event to end with the proper focus. You want people to remember your recognitions and message.

Other Awards Banquet Ideas:

  • Cut the speeches and opt for a few heartfelt words.
  • Have presenters share tidbits of information so attendees see the role award winners play.
  • Involve clients in the thank you process. If they can't attend, an audio or video recording adds value to the presentation.
  • Create slideshows that highlight activities and projects. These may run during dinner, or the program.
  • Instead of listing names in your programs, include photos and a breif bio of nominees. This allows you the chance to highlight everyone's accomplishments, making everyone winners.
  • Present some “Goofy Awards” to lighten the mood between larger presentations.
  • Practice your presentations to avoid confusion or delay. You want to keep things moving and not bore the audience.

And Now For Awards Banquet Entertainment Ideas

When selecting entertainment you don't want to forget the reason your attendees are there. Hire banquet entertainment that can highlight your company, association or charity.

Consider the mood you want to create. If you want your audience laughing, open and receptive, a corporate comedian is an excellent choice.  If you want a more reserved response, classical music or an educational speaker may be just the thing.

To get the most out of your banquet entertainment:

Think about the wow factor. Is the entertainment going to impress guests? Will something about the program leave them talking?

Can they incorporate your logo, product or message? This would allow the entertainment to highlight your company, charity or association.

Be aware or the latest entertainment trends. Was there a unique talent that won a television program like America's Got Talent?  You may not be able to afford the winner, but perhaps you can find similar talent that will appeal to your guests. This tip will make your entertainment timely and unique.

Among the most popular awards banquet entertainment ideas are:

  • Ventriloquists – a popular art, seldom seen live. Ventriloquists can be funny, personalize the program and recognize your guests.
  • Comedians – having a room full of laughing guests makes any awards presentation sail smoothly.
  • Musicians or DJ's – these are generally best used following an awards ceremony. This goes against the recommended use of entertainment before the awards. Music selection can also be difficult to please an audience with a wide age range.
  • Jugglers – the concept of keeping several things in the air could be tied into your awards message.
  • Magicians – audience participation and magic with a theme or product is a staple of many corporate magicians.
  • Speed Painters – seeing artwork appear on a huge canvas can be fascinating to watch. The painting can then be used as a momento of the event. Hung in an office or used on the cover of a newsletter or future program, the art promotes the recognition.

For those on a tight entertainment budget, additional awards banquet entertainment ideas include:

  • Karaoke
  • Employee or Volunteer skits
  • Employee or Volunteer speeches
  • Trivia Games
  • Dancing With The Stars/Employees Spoof

If you are searching for awards banquet entertainment, contact Tom now. With over thirty years of corporate entertainment experience, he can help you find the perfect entertainment for your awards event.

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