By Neil Walker, production director of management and party planning for MGN Events.
If you have been tasked with organising a business conference or event and it is not your full time job, there are many elements that you need to consider – venue, seating, food, guest list and more. One element that inevitably gets pushed to the bottom of the list is the audio-visual element of the day yet it is one thing that can make or break a good event.
In house vs External supplier
Venues may use their own in house AV expert but if not, then think about what you may need from an external supplier and set an appropriate budget. Get a few quotes so that you can judge where you are getting the best service and the best price combined. Don’t use a firm just because they cost less than others – you really do get you what you pay for. Make sure that they share your vision of the event and that you can work with them.
Provide a clear brief
It is up to the technical team to ensure that your vision becomes reality. Any AV supplier will need as much information as possible when organising the day. They will need to know details such as duration, number of attendees, seating style, room dimensions, format of the event, equipment required in terms of microphones, power leads, projectors, all devices to be supported, types of ports and content to be displayed.
A site visit with your AV provider will help them to recce what is already on site that may fit your requirements. They will need to be able to see where power sockets are located, what internet access is available, what projection facilities are like, room access and parking to unload equipment.
On the day
The technical team is there to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the day. If they are professional and experienced, they will make your job easier and the speaker’s role less stressful. AV technicians will have sound checked everything in advance to ensure that speakers are positioned and working correctly, they will check hand held and lapel microphones and ensure that the slide show or PowerPoint is ready for presenters. They will also be on hand should there be any technical glitches. They are a vital support on the day and their expertise should not be underestimated.
Getting the Audio Visual technology right is a vital part of your event planning, so make sure you budget accordingly and have professionals on hand to provide support and help to make your event stress free.