The most important factor in choosing entertainment is to match it with your audience, and your event. A clown wouldn't seem right at a formal dinner; a symphony orchestra would be out of place at a barbeque. Yet in the right environment, each can be marvelous entertainment. Sometimes a guest speaker serves as the entertainment, giving a talk on a subject related to your industry, or to theme of the event. Live music is a common choice at many gatherings, but it's only one of many possibilities. Why not consider a fashion show, dance troupe, magician, stand-up comic, or a play? If copyright laws allow, think about showing a movie. Or get really creative, and set up a carnival midway, complete with games and snacks. Other entertainments include art exhibits, garden shows, and auctions. Again, the activities should tie in with your organization or overall theme. You'll also have to work within your budget; big-name acts and large groups will cost more than local talent. No matter what type of entertainers you choose, always get references. And whenever possible, go see them perform in person. Demo tapes can be deceptive.

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