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Awards Nights

Producing Awards Nights

How many of us have attended a company or association awards night that was less than entertaining, less fun than an annual review, and just seemed to have dragged on forever. Well we certainly have, and yes we woke up with a hangover the next morning cause the wine was less than excellent, and we left early to go out to another bar where we could actually talk and have some fun.

Too right, if you weren’t up for one of the 69 awards, and not interested in the CFO or local minister harping on 45 minutes, then you’d have come out with the other 30% of guests who left before the final wards were presented!

Creating engaging awards nights

Well its not rocket science, but crafting an engaging awards night presentation is an art form that relies on following a set of basic principles. Keep it quick, fast and interesting, and then make it fun, celebratory and entertaining. Consider the event in two equally important parts, first the formalities and award presentations, and secondly the entertainment and festivities, but not simply in that order – mix it up a bit.

Firstly keep the speeches short and get them over early. Make the awards presentation fast paced and exciting with well-produced multimedia, then add music, and lighting effects for further impact. And break up the presentations into 2-3 segments no longer than 30-minutes each at most. Intersperse the presentations with short entertainment segments then when they’re over celebrate with a change of lighting and a band that will get your guests into the party spirit.

Awards Night Presentations

Most award night presentations involve screen content but all too often they consist of visually bland and predictable PowerPoint slides. Clue Number One – just don’t!

Start by creating a graphically interesting awards logo or visual theme that projects the unique characterists of your company association, and consider adding a tag line that coveys your award aspirations. A visually exciting graphic theme can create the inspiration for a room look, a stage set or more importantly for the development of exciting award presentation multimedia. Then engage a multimedia designer to build the awards presentation – one that doesn’t rely on clunky and predictable PowerPoint transitions and effects.

Secondly, write a script for the awards presentation that the MC or host can professionally deliver, and make sure the script and screen content follow exactly the same order. If you have the budget get a professional scriptwriter to do it for you and they’ll be able to create short stories for each award or winner that will greatly enhance the presentation and hopefully stop the on-stage mindless waffling.

Thirdly employ a professional MC who has an engaging presentation style. If the boss or association chairperson wants to be involved, great but don’t let them MC. Give them envelopes with the winners names to read out and let them have their photograph taken as they hand over the trophy or certificate – but keep them away from the lectern at all costs!

Entertainment for Awards Nights

Remember not everyone is up for an award so the night has to include the right mix of formalities and entertainment. As always don’t just pick what the boss wants, it’s not his or her event, the awards night is for the staff or association members so it’s about what entertainment they will enjoy and remember.

Start the night with a short video or performance.  Create an opening video with animations that bring your theme graphic to life and incorporate images of the awards nominees and/or their projects, and put it to music that ties back to your company, tag line or graphic. Alternatively engage an MC who can dance and sing and start the night like the Oscars with a big opening number that allows the host or MC to capture the audience.

Make sure there’s some other entertainment during the awards – don’t wait till after main course before relieving the guests from the formalities. And maybe consider an MC who can professionally deliver your awards but can also add in some comedy, maybe just a short 5-10 minute impromptu stand up routine to break up the monotony.

Even the awards can be made more entertaining by using music stings and lighting effects as the award winners are announced and make their way to stage. Save the most prestigious awards to last, even consider holding the top 2-3 presentations until after the feature entertainment – it’ll build further anticipation and elevate their significance.

When it comes to the feature entertainment a 20-30 minute set is all you need to break up the night and create a high point. And there’s still nothing that quite matches the impact of an amazing vocal performance backed by a live band. A current trend in entertainment is the DJ hybrid Band – a DJ with 2-3 musicians and feature vocalists. This allows you to do a feature set with vocalists and musicians and then have the DJ play (with or without the vocalist and musicians) for the rest of the night. Something worth considering.

Awards Nights – the final say.

There’s always a few tables full of rowdy folk at every awards night. Rather than seat them at the back of the room where they can get away with being noisy, put them down the front where the boss can see them and the MC can pick on them – its always worth a try!

And finally don’t have too many awards or you’ll do two things. You’ll bore the guests and undervalue the prestige of the awards – enough said! And don’t forget the value in using an Event Producer to do all the work for you – remember Instinct Events and Entertainment can work with you to create the best awards night you’ll ever experience.