Make Corporate Events Fun

By Mark Peace Thomas, Wedding Entertainment Director

Many of you may be reading my title as “Wedding Entertainment Director” and saying: “Why would I take advice about corporate events from a wedding DJ? The short answer is that I have had the good fortune to book many corporate parties by doing a great job at wedding receptions. The interesting part is that when I first started handling corporate functions I realized there was a need for advanced planning and often times, even a timeline… just like a wedding!

I still remember randomly playing TV tunes as employees came up for awards, or getting the dance floor hopping with energy only to be interrupted by the first set of raffles… “002”… tick tock, tick tock… “002”?

If you really want to impress a corporation, find out what they typically do at their annual holiday party or awards banquet and then offer to meet (in person or by Skype) to discuss how you can make their event better this year.

A. The common time-waster and dance floor killer: The Raffle.

Many companies will have raffles to give gifts away to their employees and nothing disrupts the flow of the party like stopping the dance party for a raffle, that is, unless you prepare. Here are a few ideas that have worked well for me:

  1. Plan for attendees to write their names on the raffle ticket. This avoids endless number calling and makes things more exciting since attendees will often cheer for their friend or family members when they hear their name.
  2. Turn raffle moments into a game/contest. For example, The “musical chairs / scavenger hunt” could be part of your game plan. You pick 15 raffle tickets and call the winners up. Each person will win a prize but the final 2 or 3 will win bigger prizes. This creates a fun atmosphere and encourages people to compete. If you have never played “Musical chairs / Scavenger Hunt”, you simply put out 15 chairs, play some fun music and call out items that contestants must get from an audience member and bring back to sit in one of the remaining chairs. I play songs related to the item BEFORE actually saying the item which gives contestants an “edge”. If I play “Drive My Car” from The Beatles and a couple people run and get car keys, they can take a seat. Of course, if I want to be cheeky, I can say that I was looking for a driver’s license and everyone scrambles!
  3. Find out why the company did not re-hire the last DJ? In Los Angeles, we have a large Spanish population so we often hear about the DJ who did not play enough Latin music… or too much!
  4. Create a timeline. Like a wedding plan out cocktail hour, speeches, dinner, awards, raffles and other moments. Find out more about those getting awards and tailor the music to each person as they come up to get their award. This is much like the “expanded grand entrance” that I discuss in my book: Awesome Wedding Ideas. Personalizing corporate events can bring you years of work while creating a fun night for the company.
  5. Incorporate follow-along dances when approved and appropriate.

Mark Peace Thomas has owned and operated “Awesome Entertainment” in Southern California since 1989 and can be reached at: Mark just released a new follow-along dance called Face the DJ by DJ Peace available for download at CD Baby.


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