Event planners juggle a lot of responsibilities — from contract negotiations to venue selection to managing transportation. For all you do and as detailed as you are, there are some questions event planners forget to ask their AV firm partners at the very beginning of the planning process.
Having the answers to these questions can improve the event, smooth execution, and enhance the audience experience. They can help you stay on budget and possibly save you money. So, before diving into the event planning minutiae, consider addressing the following five questions at the very outset:
How can I make the best and biggest impact on my budget?
You want to give your meeting or event attendees a memorable experience, but sometimes your idea can be bigger than your budget.
Sit down with your AV firm and share your vision for the event and your budget. Open collaboration can reveal ways you can accomplish your goals with features and elements that maximize your resources. That will help deliver that ‘wow’ feel you’re looking for.
What is your experience with the venue?
Highly experienced AV firms handle multiple shows all over the country and the world. So, chances are they’ve worked in every type of venue imaginable. Even if they haven’t worked with the specific venue you’ve contracted with, they have the skill set to assess room size, layout, load restrictions, venue policies, lighting needs, windows, and workarounds when faced with columns and other obstructions.
The AV firm should request a site inspection and review with you any unique challenges or opportunities there may be with the site and how to best utilize the space.
What tools will you use to collaborate and communicate?
Communication between the planner and AV partner is critical for the event, especially as things change in the planning process. For example, schedules and layouts change, so everyone will need the latest version of vital documents. Tools like Evernote, Dropbox, Shoflo and Google Docs make it easy to communicate and collaborate.
AV teams need to be willing to use their clients’ communications workflow and tools if they have preferences. And, event planners should not be afraid to ask for a tutorial on the event production software the AV team uses.
From the AV firm’s side, highly experienced operations will have their own workflow planning and execution procedure. Ask to see examples of the process. Expert firms can easily explain and demonstrate how they plan and execute up front.
What other services do you offer?
You might not be aware of all the services your AV partner can offer. While you may be thinking of just sound and lighting, companies usually offer other services, such as webcasting, scenic design, video production and creative content development.
While some AV companies may not offer a service, others usually have partners that do everything you need and will roll everything into one well-managed production.
What do you recommend to maximize our experience?
Even if you have a clear vision for your event, an experienced AV partner can offer suggestions that can make a significant difference. Be prepared for lots of questions and be willing to share a deeper dive to your vision.
Sometimes it’s a technical recommendation that will improve the sound or visual quality of a presentation, or it may be something spectacular they did for a past client. Whatever the case, learn to lean on your AV partner’s expertise to help make the most of how your event meets your organization’s strategic objectives.
You have a lot on your plate, and your AV partner is there to help shoulder the load with you. Communicate early and often with them and ask the key questions that can make a huge difference in your meeting or event.
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Have questions about AV planning? Find out how Stage Right, Inc. prioritizes and plans its events through StageCraft™, our proprietary planning methodology.