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Ben Ulin Productions has provided distinctive entertainment for companies and organizations since 1979. Here is a collection of tips and ideas from personal experience of what works... and what wows them!  
For Great Banquet Entertainment
Providing a good environment affects how well any entertainment is received.  
The placement of the performing area is very important.  
1. Seat the audience very close to the front edge of the performing area.  
Distance affects audience participation and involvement.  
2. For rectangular rooms, center the performance area on a long side, not on an end.  
The back row participants will be closer than if you set it on the short side of the room.  
3. Avoid spacing tables widely apart.  
Put tables as close together as is practical (allow room for servers). A decorative divider can hide any empty room space.  
4. Put buffet tables far to the side or on the opposite end from the performance area.  
If someone goes back for late seconds or arrives late, he or she will not be disruptive.  
Knowing when to start my show during your event assures a receptive audience.  
1. Start my show directly after the meal, or a short program.  
A passive, quiet group of people becomes a receptive audience quickly. A meal or a short organizational program provides this environment and is the best time to start the show.  
2. Take no breaks before the show.  
Taking a break, then trying to collect your group and reestablish their undivided attention often takes longer, and is not as effective as anticipated. Bringing up a performer without the audience being properly quieted and focused can kill the start of a show.  
During dinner, ten minutes before the program is to start, it is very helpful to announce something like the following: "The program will start in ten minutes. Please get your drink refills, (go to the little boys and little girls room), grab another piece of cake and then take your seats and get ready for a great program!"  
3. Put my show on BEFORE a long awards program (over 35 minutes).  
My show is a perfect tool to warm up your crowd before starting an evening of prizes or recognition. It energizes people, loosens them up, and puts them in a good mood. It consolidates the group by providing fun moments that everyone shares in. When your program follows mine, the evening ends with everyone focused on themselves and your organization.  
Starting my show after a lengthy program, after everyone has been recognized can suggest that the “real program” is over. The timing of this can cause a tough transition into my show as people break up to discuss whether or not to stay, some get up to chat with friends and make goodbyes. This is fine if your entertainment is a DJ playing music, but a tired, non-attentive group is very hard for a speaking act to entertain.  
4. Finish eating before starting the show.  
No one laughs or applauds with silverware in hand and food in their mouths. Starting the show with this constricted audience reaction establishes a slow pace that can be hard to recover from. (It also makes everyone feel rushed to finish their meal and this is an imposition on their enjoyment of it.)  
1. Discourage use of doors anywhere near the performance area.  
2. Arrange with banquet staff to cease all bussing of tables on a pre-arranged signal.  
3. Helium balloons and other tall centerpieces and decorations should be avoided.  
They prevent the back tables from seeing the show.  
4. Children should remain seated with their parents.  
Encouraging children to gather up near the front changes the way the adults perceive the show.  
A smooth introduction of a performer influences the audience’s first impressions and the pacing of the show.  
1. Move all podiums, tables, screens, etc, BEFORE giving an intro. There is something about the energy of a big round of applause that helps start the show. Introducing an entertainer and then shuffling around podiums and tables makes the show start in complete silence. This is almost worst than no introduction at all.  
2. Avoid talking about heavy subjects before the introduction.  
Addressing pay cuts and eulogies are important. But doing so just before introducing a comedy show makes the show inappropriate.  
1. Do not surprise adult groups with entertainment.  
This never makes the show more fun. Always tell people about it. If you are excited about the act, your group will be too. The anticipation makes the show better.  

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