Professional Speaking Book


20 Ways to Plan For Fun and Excitement at Your Next Meeting

by Tom Antion
Direct comments or questions about this article to
Tom Antion,
Box 9558, Virginia Beach, VA 23450. (757) 431-1366 Outside Maryland (800) 448-6280, Fax (757) 431-2050, Email,

Other articles by Tom Antion:

Stage Fright Strategies
Make Your Next Meeting Truly Memorable,
20 Questions BEFORE Hiring a Speaker,
Room Set-Up for Maximum Mirth.
Tom's Banquet Tips

Eleven Articles for Speakers
Preparing for International Presentations: The Humor Perspective
100 Question Speaker Quiz
FREE Book Chapter from Wake 'em Up Business Presentations
FREE Complete Text from Wake 'em Up Business Presentations Warning! This is a large file.


The following is a quick list and mini explanation of twenty different ways to plan for fun at your next

1. Engage an entertaining speaker/humorist--Speakers and humorists provide more than just
entertainment. By definition a speaker/humorist provides some percentage of meaningful message that
is delivered with humor.

2. Engage a comedian--Comedians normally provide 100 percent entertainment with little or no

3. Announce a mystery guest--a mystery guest could be a real celebrity, a top industry figure or a
celebrity impersonator. Keep your eyes open for celebrities who may be in the area at the time of your
meeting. These people may be willing to stop by for some extra publicity.

4. Plant shills in the crowd--Hire an actor or enlist a boisterous friend to heckle the speaker. Of course,
this should be coordinated with the speaker. Funny lines and responses could be written for both the
speaker and heckler.

5. Plan audience gags--Solicit fun audience members to participate in funny situations. For instance,
audience members could be recruited to jump up and run out of the room when it is announced that
IRS investigators have just entered the building.

6. Plan icebreakers--Icebreakers are activities designed to get members of the audience interacting and
meeting one another. A simple one would be to hand out several decks of cards (depending on the size
of the audience). Each person takes a card. Then each audience member goes around introducing
themselves. At the same time they are seeking out four other people to make the best poker hand. Give
out prizes to the winning hand(s). A great resource for icebreakers is the four volume set of Games
Trainers Play.

7. Convention updates--Things happening at the convention are highlighted (usually by a comedian
using a newscaster format). These updates are a few minutes each and done at each general session.
This is done every year at the National Speakers Association Convention and brings down the house.

8. Pass out beach balls-- Audience members will toss the balls around in large general sessions before
the program starts--You see this being done all the time at large sporting events. Don't do this in rooms
where tables are set because things will get knocked over.

9. Hold a "safe" murder mystery--"Safe" means that no one commits a murder which scares the crowd
to death. You simply announce that one of the staff, association members, employees etc. is missing
and the audience will all become detectives during the time of the conference. Give prizes to the best

10. Stuff helium balloons with special prizes--Everyone loves balloons, especially if they can pop them
and get a prize. They also make a festive atmosphere in the room.

11. Build large balloon sculptures--The sculptures could be your company logo or some other
pertinent symbol. (This will require a team of balloon experts).

12. Hold contests--Kareoke and lip sync teams are lots of fun and very popular. Other examples could
be indoor miniature golf, bowling, first person seated at sessions etc..

13. Do the opposite--Hold an indoor picnic when it's freezing outside or hold a Holiday party in July.

14. Set up carnival games--Many companies make complete indoor carnival set-ups available for
conventions and meetings.

15. Set-up weird attractions--Human bowling, Velcro jumping, and cash cubes are all goofy, but fun
attractions for your participants.

16. Hire costumed theme characters--Ben Franklin is perfect for Philadelphia, George Washington for
D.C. etc.

17. Hire other characters--Strolling mimes, jugglers, stilt walkers and clowns always draw lots of

18. Plan for fun foods--Caterers can make special candies, cakes or other foods that match the theme
of your conference. I stayed at The Peabody hotel recently. This hotel has a duck for it's mascot.
Everything in the hotel including the butter is shaped like a duck. Of all the hotels I've ever stayed in,
this is the only hotel that I can really remember.

19. Give everyone lightsticks--This would be fun in a large general session or if the attendees are
going to a night time attraction.

20. Print T-shirts--Each division could be issued a different color etc. Put some fun design or company
specific saying on each shirt.

21. (I'm sneaking in an extra one because It's my policy to always give you more than expected)
Distribute a convention or meeting newsletter--Always include funny items that are happening during
the convention.

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