Trivia Events with Magician Ryan Oakes: A Truly Unique Group Bonding Activity

Corporate.event.entertainers.NYC.jpgCorporate event entertainers NYC

I’ve been shining the spotlight recently on all of the incredible corporate event emcees I have the honor of working with, including NY1 morning news anchor Pat Kiernan, comedian Christian Finnegan and our newly-announced hosts. Today, I’d like to focus on magician/mentalist Ryan Oakes.

Unlike the other hosts mentioned above, whom I met and have gotten to know over the past several years, Ryan and I go back. We actually met in high school, our paths crossing because I was in the jazz band as a sax player, and he was a singer in the chorus.

He also just happened to be a ridiculously talented magician.

Exceedingly energetic and highly professional even back then (especially when compared to my 18-year-old self), Ryan went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania, and briefly considered a career in business before ultimately deciding that magic was where he should be focusing himself. And focus he did, honing his craft and building his reputation to such a degree that he is now one of the most sought-after magicians for corporate events in NYC and nationally, having performed in nearly 40 states, military bases around the world and even at the White House! He’s been featured in Forbes magazine, and made appearances on numerous nationally-syndicated TV shows.

As I say to clients inquiring about his services, Ryan is the Real Deal.

I’ve been incredibly impressed by Ryan for a very, very long time, and he’s been keeping tabs on me and what I’ve been doing creating corporate team building activities in New York City and beyond. About two years ago, we got together and hatched a plan: what if we could somehow combine our skills, to create a wholly-unseen before new offering? The idea was simple: people love the competitive energy and belly laughs associated with my trivia events, and they also enjoy the mind-blowing illusions created by Ryan. What if we were to join forces, and create a hybrid trivia/magic spectacle?

It was one of those things which I knew in my gut would work, even if no one had been specifically asking me for it. I had long been seeking ways to diversify my offerings, to provide groups large and small with a truly novel experience the likes of which they have never had before. I had no doubt in my mind this could turn into something, and that Ryan was the one to do it. The guy has SO much experience with audiences, to the tune of 20 years entertaining groups of all sizes and backgrounds. I mentioned above that he is professional, but that doesn’t quite explain it; the guy is INSANELY professional. Everything I aspire to be as far as a service industry pro, Ryan does flawlessly: interacting with clients, engaging event participants, his level of confidence, how he presents and carries himself – it’s all just done at such a high level. You (and I) can trust him in front of ANYONE, and know that he will represent us well.

During the gigs themselves, he is like a high-end sports car – his engine is revving, all eyes are on him. I can’t emphasize enough just how talented the guy is, and how he captivates the room with his tricks. It’s just unreal! He’s got a fantastic energy about him, and really keeps everybody motivated and engaged when running the trivia contest. In between rounds while our grading team tabulates the score sheets, Ryan does his thing – it’s just mind-boggling. I have no idea how he does this stuff (and honestly, I don’t want to know) but I can say with absolute certainty that what he’s doing for the group? It works!

People walk out of our collaborative events with huge smiles on their faces (partially because of the “grand finale” illusion Ryan does to culminate the event, which I can’t reveal here – but trust me, it’s insane!). It’s even better than I imagined when we were dreaming this partnership up, which makes me so, so happy.

Since we started partnering together, my admiration and respect for Ryan has only grown. We had a joint gig last week for a summer intern entertainment event, and afterwards went out to grab some dinner before I move to Southern California next month, to open TrivWorks’ new office in Long Beach. I find talking to him so easy, and always have – I think because he and I are both self-employed entertainers, and we both get what it means to be supporting ourselves and our families in nontraditional ways. Like me, Ryan is always striving to improve the experience for our audiences, and after each gig together we throw out ideas for tweaking the product to make it that much more fun and enjoyable for those in attendance.

But I have to say, after nearly two years of this with him, the overall show is pretty much the same as our first gig together, only better. That is entirely due to Ryan’s skills as a performer and host, who after so many years of plying his craft has developed instincts about certain things which I am simply not attuned to. He is highly attentive to detail, and comes up with ways – even seemingly small ways – which can add up to have a big effect on the overall enjoyment of those attending. And our collaborations have only gotten better as a result.

I am deeply proud of the joint magic/trivia show Ryan and I have developed. For planners seeking a highly unique activity for employees or clients, one which they for sure have never done before, this is absolutely a compelling new option to consider for groups as small as 20, to as big as 300 or more. It’s sharp, it’s challenging, it’s exceedingly enjoyable, and creates a shared positive experience which nothing else out there can even compare to. We look forward to continue bringing this special offering to groups nationwide, and to working together for many more years to come!

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