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Is Your Assistant a Mindreader?

Is Your Assistant a Mindreader?

Your assistant is probably not a Mindreader. At Handy Entertainment, we work with people with disabilities. Because of this, I constantly try to improve what I communicate to my assistants, and particularly, HOW I communicate it. Think about how we can communicate in a way that validates the other person. This is part of what equity, inclusion, and diversity are all about. It’s not always easy to set somebody up for success, but each time we do it, we also create more connection. This facilitates connections to attendees at events, to the people we can hire, and to the clients we can reach. Working with people who have disabilities has made me much more sensitive to the different kinds of disabilities, the lack of equity people face at events (and everywhere, for that matter). I see up close how ignoring disabilities disenfranchises a huge segment of the population.

What your assistant doesn’t know is quite a bit. 

When you do something for a while, and you work with someone new, it turns out there is even more that they don’t know.

On top of having the pleasure of working as an assistant to some of the most brilliant, creative, and innovative designers, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some of the most creative, brilliant, and innovative assistants ever!

When you work as an assistant, you get to learn, to stretch, and get ideas. I’ve discovered ways of improving our client experience, for one. Another benefit was learning how to implement new and different elements for our clients. Below are some things I’ve noticed—what works, what could be improved, and how we can streamline the process.

If we don’t say or show how we want an assistant to do something, they might not understand the task

They might understand what we’re trying to achieve, but might not do it in the right order, or the “right” way. Maybe it takes them longer. Sometimes we are surprised by the ingenuous solutions they create by doing things the “wrong” way!

How can we give assistants

-an overview of the completed project;

-a timeline of when each part should be completed;

– instructions on how to do the work?

The answer is to use SMART Goals: Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – and Time-bound.

How to structure work for maximum success

Some people respond well to verbal instruction, and some are visual learners. There are people who like a set of objectives and benchmarks. Yet others prefer step-by-step instruction in real time. Some of us like to see how to do something. Still others prefer guided, hands-on training. Then there are all the different combinations that are useful, depending on the task and the assistant.

Use different ways of teaching

One way to work around this is with show and tell. Show your assistants what things are, where they live, and how things look at the beginning and at the end. It is helpful to show the structure of what we’re doing, the beginning, middle, and end stages and what they look like.

That’s why someone who has previously worked with you before is infinitely more valuable than a first-time assistant. They have an idea of what you want and how you want it, how you communicate, and your priorities.

It can be frustrating to explain things in the middle of an event. It’s even more frustrating trying to get instruction during an event. The noise often makes it difficult to see or hear the person speaking. Tell them what the components are called. It is hard for anybody to see or hear instructions in the chaos and noise of live events!

I’m always amazed at what all those different ‘things’ are called!

Load-ins and Load-outs

A load-in and a load-out are similar, but there can be huge differences in the order. If you know the order to store items or the order to retrieve them, that expedites the process. We explain that we repack equipment to make it easy to quickly locate it for the next event. Use an  inventory sheet to note if items are broken/damaged/need cleaning/or are missing. This simple step saves you and your assistants a great deal of time.

Where does stuff live?

Loading vehicles—which items go where, and in what order? Assume your assistant hasn’t seen all the items yet and can’t know what else is to come until it has been broken down or loaded.

Do you have a vehicle layout/diagram? Are there items that need to be stored differently, or separately? Do you have labels and markers available? About that inventory check-off list with names of items, the count, and the condition—why not add photos of the items to it? Load it on a tablet and send a copy to your client right after breakdown. If the client is still on site, give them the sheet or tablet to sign immediately after you show missing or damaged goods.

Let’s set those new assistants up for success and at the same time, lighten our load-ins and load-outs!

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Richard & Elon collage

Richard & Elon

This is about Richard & Elon.

No. It’s really about taking action. It’s a post from April 1, 2021. It is called True Story because it is a true story.

I hope you enjoy it!

Full disclosure about yesterday’s newsletter–Happy April Fool’s Day!

However, I actually did reach out to Sir Richard and Virgin about eight years ago re entertaining on the Mars shuttle. His executive assistant contacted me. We discussed my offer and I presented my other idea: my concept for helping women develop micro-businesses along the lines of my business for their charity that help women in remote African villages develop sustainable livelihoods. I believe it was for https://www.evebransonfoundation.org.uk. It wasn’t what they were looking for. I’m telling you this to encourage you all to reach for the stars. Now go donate somewhere.

The Giving Kitchen–not a joke.

The Original Newsletter

Hello Friend !

Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson are duking it out on more fronts than one. Spurred to action by consumer demand, they have just entered into a bidding war to keep their patrons and clients satisfied during what could be a tedious flight to Mars. No puddle-jumper this, the famous duo have locked arms in what will become the arm wrestling championship of all time: Who will win Handy Entertainment’s services for the trip to Mars?

APNews spoke with Jan Levie of Handy Entertainment about this turn in events. Here’s the low-down:

How It All Began

AP: Tell us, how did all of this start?

JL: I was busy answering my spam calls, typical Tuesday morning, looking for some ‘Smile Patrol’ entertainers for an event where people are known for getting wild and ignoring safety protocols. Richard called and said, “Have a minute, Jan?” “For you, always,” I said, swooning at the memories. Just then, a lead came in from Elon.

Richard was hell-bent on talking me into entertaining on the next Mars flight.

Elon said he and Grimes were sure they could make it worth my while to entertain on HIS upcoming Mars flight.

I told Elon that not only had Richard asked first, but that Richard and I go way back–how I’d pitched Richard on entertaining on the Mars space ship ages ago, and explained to Richard that I could only do domestic flights until I was done driving carpool.

AP: Carpool?

JL: Yes, I told Richard I needed the flexibility of domestic flights while I was the main source of transportation for my kids. We’re past that now, so I said—let’s do it! But I was holding out for a cute spacesuit-costume…

AP: What did Elon say?
JL: When I told Elon, he gave me the stink eye and said,

“We’ll see about that.” He can be really stubborn. AP&JL: Thank you!

Now, go back to the pink button at the top of the page which goes to The Giving Kitchen–no joke–they are helping thousands upon thousands of hospitality workers across the Southeast.

Happy Easter!

p.s. Ask us about our new line of fun, different, and useful Wedding Favors!

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Meaningful Connections

Meaningful Connections

Meaningful connections

What are meaningful connections? Why are they important? We are just beginning to see the deep effects of the pandemic on children. This podcast is about how we can help our kids develop resilience. They need all they can get to get through these tough times.  Helen Panos of Dynamis Learning Academy interviews Jan Levie, CEO and Creative Director of Handy Entertainment. They talk about concrete steps to let children know they are being heard.

How can meaningful connections help kids?

One of the hardest parts of the pandemic is how to make meaningful connections. Just because we are now starting to socialize again doesn’t mean that the effects of this past long year are going to disappear overnight. You can help your kids (and other kids you know) by using the tools Jan discusses that help create meaningful connections. (Disclaimer: Works with adults, too!)

What can we do to make things better?

Jan touches on how some of the types of event entertainment Handy Entertainment offers help families and children connect again. Lip Print Analysis on a Step ‘n’ Repeat, Palm Readings at a Prom, Handwriting Analysis during a graduation party, or all of the above at your next event, our entertainment brings people together and connects them in a way that will make them treasure the memory of your event.

Anniversary parties, church events, youth groups, weddings–no matter what you are celebrating, can you afford to not engage your guests?

“The only thing people will remember is how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

We all need to feel good again! Book your event with Handy Entertainment today for the best event you’ve ever had!


Jan Levie and Helen Panos pictures for podcast.
Meaningful Connections
What are the effects of the pandemic on children?

In this interview with Helen Panos,  Jan discusses how we can help kids during this difficult time.


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Making Events Meaningful

Making events meaningful is about bringing people together. How do we get over not being able to get all close and intimate with people for over a year? We need practice. We need training wheels. Bring people together, get them chatting, help people feel comfortable. Most of all, let them know how much you appreciate them by making the entertainment about THEM.

Guests were raving about the host at our recent event with Lip Print Analysis! 😊” I haven’t had this  much fun in a loooong time,” one woman said as she booked us for her next event!

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