If you close your eyes and imagine a company event, you might see a few usual suspects: punch bowls in the break room, slide decks on the big screen, and name tags as far as the eye can see.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that. However, corporate events don’t need to be so typical—in fact, they shouldn’t be, especially if you’re hosting a larger gathering. As an event planner, you know attendees want to be immersed in the event experience and wowed by what they see. The best way to do that? Corporate event entertainment.

Here’s the problem: Entertainment options are a dime a dozen. The challenge is finding the right idea for your specific audience. Luckily, we’re here to help. 

In this guide, we’ll detail ten corporate entertainment ideas, plus a few tips and tricks you can use at your next special event.

Why your event needs entertainment

It’s hard to overstate the significance of good entertainment, especially when it comes to corporate event planning. Whether it be a trade show, conference, company retreat, or product launch, every company event requires high-quality corporate entertainment.

Why? It’s actually pretty simple. Entertainment options provide a necessary interlude between the sessions, speakers, and panels that make up your agenda. Think of corporate entertainment as an adrenaline booster—an injection of energy that takes the event to the next level. 

According to Skift Meetings, 91% of event planners measure the success of their events based on audience satisfaction. Therefore, entertainment options can make or break the event. If your corporate entertainment ideas fall short of the mark, your attendees may lose interest. This not only compromises the outcome of the event as a whole, but it also reflects poorly on your brand.

In contrast, good entertainment leaves a lasting impression, maintains audience engagement, and reinforces your brand’s vision. The right entertainer can help you satisfy internal stakeholders, sponsors, and attendees all in one fell swoop. Plus, just a single exciting idea can help you generate buzz leading up to the event and maximize attendance.

Corporate entertainment ideas your guests won’t forget

From start to finish, event planning is a lot of hard work. That’s why we’re here to take the weight off your shoulders. To spark your creativity, explore these foolproof corporate entertainment ideas that are sure to rock your next company event.

1. Live music

Fans at live rock music concert cheering

You won’t be breaking any new ground by booking a live band to play at your event, but that’s the beauty of this entertainment idea. Live music offers a timeless way to keep attendees engaged over the course of your schedule—no need to reinvent the wheel. 

What’s important is that you choose a performer that resonates with your audience and represents your brand. Vet a list of available artists and book an entertainer that makes sense for your team (and your budget).

2. Dance floor

Legs of dancing people at a party

What’s a party band without a dance floor? Simply put, dancing is the perfect complement to any musical entertainer you book at your event. Make sure your venue has ample space for attendees to show off their best moves. 

Here’s an idea: Why not turn it into a friendly competition? Invite your guests to participate in a dance battle, then ask the audience to judge their performance. Reward the winner with an appropriate prize fit for a dance floor champion.

3. Corporate comedian

Stand up comedian on stage. Young man talks joke into microphone or sings songs.

Take a break from the seriousness of meetings, training sessions, and presentations with a good laugh. Booking a corporate comedian is a great entertainment idea because it naturally invites everyone to let their guard down, sit back, and enjoy the show. 

Stand-up sets can last anywhere between a few minutes to an hour of nonstop comedy, so be sure your choice of corporate comedian has enough material to make it work. You’ll also want to make sure their routine is appropriate for your corporate audience.

4. Gameshow

Traditional live entertainment options are all well and good, but sometimes the truly memorable experiences are the ones that invite participation. Take an interactive game show, for instance. Classic games like “The Price is Right” or “Wheel of Fortune” challenge contestants to test their knowledge and compete for prizes in front of a live audience.

So, why not bring a game show to your next company event? With this idea, attendees can either watch from the crowd or volunteer to try their luck on stage. For a more authentic experience, book a game show host to moderate the session and keep everyone entertained.

5. Magician

Man showing tricks with cards.

Event planners are always looking for new ways to captivate their attendees and leave them wanting more. Sometimes, all it takes is a little magic—and we mean that literally. Booking a magician to perform at your next corporate party or special event is exactly the type of entertainment your audience will rave about. 

From close-up card tricks to high-tech illusions, a corporate magician can tailor their act according to your event. Choose from a larger stage show for big audiences or a strolling magic act for smaller, more personal gatherings. No matter your choice, this crowd-pleasing option is a no-brainer for any trade show, conference, or internal corporate event.

6. Photo booth

Photo booth with lit sign in front of wood wall

Not every corporate entertainment idea needs to include a grandiose performance. In truth, it’s often the smaller, more intimate ideas that attendees love the most. Photo booths, for instance, are a great chance for people to commemorate the event with a wacky or silly photo op. 

Plus, there are endless possibilities when choosing a photo booth. Available in many shapes and sizes, you can tailor your choice of photo booth to match your event’s theme. Another fun idea is to set up a photo booth where attendees can take free professional headshots on the spot—a must-have when networking with your peers.

7. Cocktail hour

Colorful cocktails close up

Hosting a cocktail hour at your event is a great way to keep everyone engaged as they start to unwind for the evening. Plus, cocktail parties make for fantastic networking opportunities, as everyone tends to loosen up and let go of their anxiety.

If you’re planning a large corporate event, make sure you have ample space to accommodate a big group of people. Scout out a venue with a bar or other space where you can easily make everyone feel comfortable. For a more inclusive event, include mocktails on the menu. 

8. Cooking class

Magia Obrazu

One of the biggest reasons why businesses host corporate events is to build their company culture. Team-building activities, such as a cooking class, are an effective tool for breaking down barriers and helping team members get to know each other a bit better. 

Why a cooking class? First of all, it’s loads of fun. Second, it’s a skill that everyone can use at home. Plus, you get to eat your results. Invite a professional chef to your event to instruct an on-site workshop for your attendees. Over the course of the session, team members can flex their collaboration skills and learn how to work together toward a common goal.

9. Murder mystery

Detective holding magnifying glass and smoking pipe

On the list of fun and engaging team-building activities, murder mysteries usually rank near the top. This interactive roleplaying session offers a fun change of pace for any corporate event. Professional entertainers lead the activity and guide participants through a series of twists and turns as they investigate a fictitious murder. 

It’s a fun idea that combines scripted theater, comedy, and audience interaction all into one little adventure. Pick a theme that matches your audience’s interests, or one relevant to your business. Either way, participants work together to solve the mystery as they practice their problem-solving skills as a team.

10. Talent show

Portrait of cheerful wavy-haired girl star enjoying singing song isolated on bright yellow color background.

Have a workforce full of talented people? Great! Organizing a talent show provides an excellent opportunity for your employees to hit the big stage and showcase their skills.

Dancers, singers, comedians, artists—the list goes on. All you need is a stage, a microphone, and a cast of willing participants. As a thank you for their courage, reward performers with a prize. If they’re comfortable with it, you can even share their act on social media.

How to choose the right entertainment for your corporate event

With a wide variety of entertainment options ripe for the picking, choosing the best ones for your specific audience proves challenging.

The good news is that we have a few tips and tricks to get you started. Consider the following before deciding on your corporate entertainment:

Focus on experiences

If experiential marketing is any indication, people value the power of an immersive experience. In fact, HubSpot reports that 91% of consumers feel more favorably about a brand after a brand activation or experience. The same goes for corporate events, where memorable moments help engage attendees and build a stronger affinity toward the company. 

When booking entertainment, consider how your attendees will perceive the experience. Is it immersive enough? Will it truly wow them? These questions are key for identifying the most valuable entertainment options.

Keep your theme and goal in mind

Don’t get ahead of yourself and book entertainment just for the sake of being flashy. Make sure your choices make sense with the theme of your event. More importantly, consider your objectives. Why are you hosting the event in the first place? Are you focusing on team building, or are you merely rewarding your employees? Some ideas may sound great at the moment, but ultimately, they need to mesh with your overall vision.

Consider your format

Will your event be in-person, virtual, or hybrid? How they attend makes a massive difference in how your attendees experience the entertainment. Some options lend themselves better to the in-person event than others, so make sure you have something that works for your chosen format.

Think of the audience

What will your attendees enjoy? That’s the million-dollar question. Eliminate the guesswork and ask your audience outright what they might like to see. Send out a questionnaire they can answer and give them potential choices to gauge their interest.

Consult your sponsors

If your event is large enough, chances are it has a few sponsorships. In this case, work with your partners to see what ideas they bring to the table. They may even have access to certain entertainment options you didn’t think were possible.

Don’t forget the budget

In 2020, almost half of corporate event planners agreed that staying under budget was their biggest challenge. Entertainment is important, but it can quickly run up a pricey bill if you’re not careful. Keep an eye on your expenses and know the costs of everything required to put on a good show. Consider the additional costs, such as microphones and other equipment, that may be associated with your choice of entertainment.

Entertain your guests with event technology

As the years go by, it’s becoming increasingly essential to support your events with the right technologies. An event management platform, for instance, is key to organizing a successful corporate event.

Take Webex Events, for example. As a comprehensive platform, it’s equipped with a robust array of capabilities, including built-in engagement features to entertain your audience. These tools include:

  • Gamification: Drive participation with friendly competitions, contests, and more.
  • Live polling: Allow attendees to participate in live polls relevant to your session topic.
  • Live Q&A: Give the audience a voice and empower them to ask questions directly to your speakers.

These features, and more, are at your fingertips. With Webex Events, you can reach out and take advantage of them at your next corporate event. Schedule a free demo today to learn more.