Fortunately, it doesn't happen often but every now and then something goes really wrong with audio-visual and it can really derail a meeting, conference, or event. How can event planners avoid audio-visual surprises?
- Keep your options open.
Don't automatically go with the preferred supplier. Remove any clauses from contract that restrict the suppliers that can be used or charge a penalty for selecting an outside supplier.
- Don't assume that the onsite or preferred supplier is
the wrong choice.
On the flip side, if an audio-visual provider is working at the same location on a regular basis, they are often aware of some of the glitches the venue presents.
- Prepare a very specific and detailed brief outlining your expectations and requirements.
- Size of group (i.e. number of participants.
- Format of each portion of the meeting or event
- Number of speakers or panelists
- Room dimensions and set-up
- Format of Q&A session
- Equipment required
- Number and types of devices to be supported
- Types of operating systems to be used (e.g. Apple, Windows)
- Type of content to be displayed (slides, video, audio)
- Types of laptop ports.
- Get quotes from at least 3 providers.
- Ask the audio-visual companies to be really clear and specific about what equipment is required to achieve results.
The day of the meeting is too late to approach the client and inform them that a separate wireless system is needed or that the handheld microphone can't be used at the same time as the lapel microphone without experiencing interference.
- Get references from clients and venues.
Banquet managers can provide some very valuable feedback.
- Provide a clear agenda Identifying all transitions in the meeting when new speakers or facilitators will be introduced.
If the client does not have the budget to keep an audio-visual technician on-site for the entire meeting, arrange for support at the beginning of each day during transition.
- It is important for the technician to remain for about 30 minutes into each segment of the meeting to ensue that audio-visual is functioning well.
Under this scenario, the technician should be on call and easy to reach in case of technical difficulties.
- Be sure to include the audio-visual provider in the pre-con meeting with the venue.
Don't rush the process. Take the time to go through all details.
- Be sure that the audio-visual provider includes you as the event planner in all discussions pertaining to audio-visual.
If you are kept out of the loop and the company deals directly with the client concerning some matters, there will likely be surprises on the day of the event or meeting.
While it's impossible to avoid all surprises, these steps will minimize the number of times that audio-visual glitches derail meetings and events.
Also read 4 Tips to Make the Most of Audio Visual at Your Event, Planners: What You Don’t Know About AV Can Hurt You, 1 Question About Sourcing Audio-visual, When Not to Skimp on Audio-visual, and Cutting Event Costs: Audio-Visual.
Photo Credits: Carrisa Rogers