I have attended several community and school concerts and several Primary Presentations these last couple of months and have also been to two Ward Christmas parties so far in December. The people who planned these events could have used some coaching as to how to put on a successful program.
Just like attending a Theatrical show, audiences nowadays expect certain production standards. That means, they want to be able to UNDERSTAND the speaking and singing, SEE everything clearly, and FIND ENJOYMENT in the experience. People are not ignorant. They can tell when the planners and performers have adequately prepared. (There is nothing worse than having your audience walk out partway through the event!)
1. Planning and Preparation
Obviously, not all performances are equal. (And they need not be to have a successful event.) For example, not all school or community bands have top-notch talent. Not every ward is blessed with people with musical or artistic talents. But they can be well-prepared! That's why planning by a committee is so helpful. Together, the committee people can offer ideas and take stock of resources that the director alone may not be aware of. Despite COVID anxieties, good planning and adequate preparation can guarantee a successful event.
2. Set up (physical facilities)
Know your venue. Set up tables and chairs for a good flow --- such as for getting food and eating, for visiting, for seeing the show, etc. Locate and have enough microphones for the performers or speakers. Try out the lighting before the arrival of guests. Have adequate lights for the pianist or other musicians. Make sure any other tech devices (audio/visual) WORK -- well before beginning the activity.
3. Timing and Movement
Be aware of how much time the different aspects of the event will take. Don't waste time in unnecessary movement or set up between "acts." Make timing and movement maps and stick to the plan! Guests will get "antsy" if they perceive the activity lagging or going on too long. Many just get up and leave.
4. Story Arc and Supporting a Theme
Having a THEME is very useful to keeping the audience engaged. It guides their thinking and expectations. Be mindful of following a story arc --- have a clear beginning, middle, and end --- hopefully with a proper climax in the right place.
Follow these guidelines and you too will have a successful event!