Corporate dinner entertainment ideas
Last week was a busy one – three gigs spread across the country, to be precise! First we had a law firm retreat event in upstate New York, where “America’s Trivia Guy” Gene Jones emceed a hugely successful post-dinner entertainment trivia contest for 100 of the company’s partners and senior leadership.
Just a couple of days afterwards, TrivWorks was aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA to kick off a 3-day reward trip for The Auto Club of Southern California’s top 92 claims people. I myself was emceeing, and it was such a blast to see such hard-working professionals laughing and getting to know one another through a customized corporate trivia night – on a giant boat, no less!
But the week didn’t end until this past Saturday, when I boarded a plane to Phoenix, AZ to emcee a company dinner entertainment trivia party for the leadership of PepsiCo’s local plant. Believe it or not, this was not only TrivWorks’ first-ever event in the Copper State, but also my first-ever visit as well – so as you can imagine, I was psyched!
This event came together rather quickly – I was contacted by the senior manager only two weeks ago, who informed me that the annual Leadership Team dinner was all set and ready to go, only they didn’t have any kind of entertainment planned. Not wanting to spend three hours staring at each other, he asked me what TrivWorks could provide – which I was only too pleased to tell him!
Like every event we do, this one began with a concise yet comprehensive customization call (I’m proud to say that I kept it UNDER my requested time commitment of fifteen minutes). The event would be small, only 20-30 people, and would be made up not only of PepsiCo employees, but spouses and significant others as well. There would also be a broad age range represented. As such, it would be crucially important to craft and select trivia questions for use which were relevant and appropriate to EVERYONE, not just the co-workers. Especially for events like this – as well as holiday parties – whenever there is a diverse group with guests who don’t work with the company, it’s imperative that we have a balance of both “inside joke”-type questions, as well as broad general knowledge and pop culture questions to truly engage all in attendance.
Once the customization call was complete, we got to work researching and writing original trivia based on the expected audience, as well as selecting appropriate pop culture questions from our database. With the questions written, we then secured materials and prizes, I booked my flight, and we were all set to go!
One of the reasons I love living where I do – Long Beach, CA – is that I have such great travel access. Not only is it centrally located in Southern California, providing me with easy rides North to Los Angeles and Ventura County, as well as South to Orange County and San Diego, but the city also has its own airport! Long Beach Airport is a true gem, and just a stone’s throw from where I am; small and charming, there are virtually never any lines, and it offers regular flights to anywhere in the country I’d ever have to go.
I hopped aboard a small regional jet for the hour and change flight to Phoenix, then grabbed an Uber for the quick ride out to Glendale, AZ. The event would be taking place at a luxury hotel & spa, situated literally right next to University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play (being a trivia company owner, I of course couldn’t stop thinking about Jerry Maguire the whole time).
About an hour before the event was to begin, I changed into appropriate performance attire and went down to the salon room where the dinner would be taking place. I set up my portable professional sound projection equipment I had brought with me from California, got the room and furniture configured the way I wanted it, and then threw on some upbeat music in anticipation of guest arrival.
As folks showed up and enjoyed cocktails, I worked the room doing some informal “roving” trivia, where I casually approached small groups and warmed them up with some fun teaser questions (which you can learn more about here). Once I’d gotten to everybody and helped set the tone of the type of engaging, laugh-filled experience in store, guests were seated for a lovely dinner.
When everybody had finished their salad and entree, the group leader gave some brief introductory remarks, before turning the event over to me. I’ve been doing this a long time – over ten years, to be exact – and for me there’s really nothing better than setting stage right from the start about what kind of experience a TrivWorks event will be. To the extent I can, I like to lead in with a spontaneous appropriate joke about the group, event, venue or other shared experience, just to break the ice and have them starting out with a good laugh. This was no different – plus I had the added bonus of having gotten to know just about everyone already through the “roving” trivia beforehand!
From there, it was just a fantastic event through and through. We did multiple rounds of full-room trivia, including general knowledge, TV/movies, a “name that tune” audio round, photo ID round, and a high-stakes “bonus” round to wrap things up, with each correct answer being worth double points. In between the rounds, I would invite up pairs of volunteer contestants to take part in game show-style head-to-head bouts, which I really have to say are some of my favorite moments of these events. The entire room is cheering on the two people up in front, and we keep the laughs coming by giving out funny novelty prizes. It’s just a great way to keep the audience engaged and entertained, while we do our scoring.
By the end, I had managed to keep this crowd entertained for nearly the entire three hours we were in the room – not an easy feat, especially with such an intimate group. But they were thrilled, I was thrilled, and everybody left with big smiles on their faces, having gotten to know one another better and sharing a great positive experience to talk about next time.
If you’ve managed to read all the way through to the end of this blog post, then you can probably sense that I really do love what I do; I get such reward from helping people have a fantastic experience, and it really means a lot to me when I can be a part of something as special as a leadership team dinner for a prestigious Fortune 500 company. Providing interactive dinner entertainment for corporate groups is really something TrivWorks excels at, and I always love the opportunity to show audiences like this one what we can do!
For more ideas on this topic, click here.