Whether you are planning a corporate planning session for fifty or an industry summit for thousands, technology integration is often one of the most complex and stressful aspects of planning. Different presenters may want to use different operating systems, aspect ratios and applications, or you may have speakers participating virtually. You need to integrate them all for a seamless attendee experience. Oh, and did we mention, we realize this is not your full-time job. So, how do you make it all work? You use the enclosed tips to find the perfect A/V partner:
- Set Goals. Do your research both internally and externally. Understand the objectives for the meeting, the intended attendee experience, and the desired results. If possible, understand both who will be in audience and who will be speaking and identify their needs. Know the budget. Do a bit of competitive research and see what other meetings and summits are doing to achieve their goals for attendance and engagement. From this research, you can define an outline of your needs and goals.
- Making A Match. The key to success is matching your needs to your partner’s experience and strengths. Look for an A/V company that provides the services that you need. Understand the depth of their experience with technology. Consider their experience in venues that are like the venues that you are considering. A good A/V provider should be your collaborative planning partner able to both anticipate and mitigate common problems as well as offer suggestions to enhance your meeting.
- Validate. When you hire a new employee, you check references. You should do the same when engaging an A/V partner. Look for case studies on their website. Talk to companies who have used them in the past. Look to see if they have won industry awards or recognition. Online reviews can also be a helpful source of information.
- Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan. When you select an A/V partner, work together to develop a plan for the event that addresses the specific needs of your attendees and presenters. If you’ve already selected a venue, make sure that your partner is familiar with the space and its infrastructure. Once you have a plan, stick to it. One of the most common sources of a problem is shifting objectives and goals.
- Ask. When in doubt, ask questions. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with part of the plan or a technology, ask questions. Some common problems or miscommunications come from an unclear understanding. Open communication on the project, objectives, and terminology ensures that everyone is working in concert. Make sure you select an AV partner who is accessible.
Choosing an audio-visual (A/V) partner for a meeting or event is paramount to the success of the event. Each meeting has differing needs, and not all A/V partners are the same. While this is usually a significant budget item, even more often it is one of the most significant factors toward the success of your event so selecting the appropriate partner is vital.