When on a tight time schedule, have desserts placed on the table midway through the meal.
Arrange with banquet staff to cease all bussing of tables on a pre-arranged signal. Many functions have less than interesting openings because service personnel are running around for the first 10minutes of a talk. This gets everything off to a bad start.
Ten minutes before the program is to start, it is very helpful to announce something like the following: "The program will start in ten minutes. Please get your drink refills, (go to the little boysand little girls room), grab another piece of cake and then take your seats and get ready for a great program!"
When planning lighthearted/humorous programs, avoid heavy subjects before the speaker, i.e.,don't show tear jerker slides of starving children (actually happened to a speaker friend of mine), in an effort to raise funds. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for raising funds for good causes, but if you do this just before a humorist or comedy show, you may have wasted your money on the talent and actually made it inappropriate for them to do the job for which they were hired.
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