Price for flying in world renowned motivational speaker $10,000;
Venue and catering $25,000;
Not being able to hear a word she says, because her lapel mic keeps cutting out and, you were too cheap to retain an on site A/V technician – tragic
Times they are a changin’ and if you are still thinking that your administrative assistant, or your in house IT Technician can look after all of your audio visual needs at your next staff conference….you may be heading straight for disaster.
Cutting corners in you’re A/V area is not fair to your speaker and it is not fair to your audience. Speakers, particularly those traveling the professional speaking circuit, become accustomed to a certain level of expertise. Sure, there are some that will say, “no powerpoint screen? No problem, I can do it without”. But, there are many who have carefully designed their presentation and will be frustrated if their needs cannot be met. I was once at a very large gathering where the speaker, a Master Event Designer, said at the beginning, “I have everything I need right here on my IPhone – I can control the lights, the sounds, the mixed media right here” and…..he couldn’t. The worst part was that he kept interrupting his presentation to troubleshoot his A/V problems and as a result couldn’t deliver what we were expecting. In hindsight, maybe he was showing us what not to do….but I don’t think so.
Audio Visual expertise is not only important for large conferences and presentations, it is equally important for social events. You owe it to your guests at your wedding or party to have a handle on the lights and sound. No one wants to look back on the wedding video and see Great Aunt Sophie holding the microphone like a telephone and not being able to hear her words of wisdom, or your master of ceremonies is unaware that his lapel mic is still on when he makes an inappropriate remark.
So here are some quick tips for ensuring your audio visual goes off without a hitch.
- Get to know your speaker – contact your speaker well in advance to ascertain his/her audio visual needs and expectations. Make sure that you are asking all of the questions required to ensure that you will be adequately prepared for the presentation. Some basic questions to ask are: Do they require a proxima, computer (MAC or PC), lectern, handheld mic or lapel mic, whiteboard or flipchart, markers. Is the presenter going to move around the stage or go out into the audience? If a stationary lectern mic is required, you might want to discern how tall the presenter is and if that will be adequate for his/her needs. If the presenter is short like I am, a stool may be necessary..or if taller than average, you don’t want them to have to stoop to speak into the microphone.
- Hire a professional – If you are moving beyond the realm of the banquet hall sound system and having to rent additional equipment, then hire a professional to be on site. Make sure that you budget for the professional technician to be there during set up and run through to troubleshoot any unexpected problems. I cannot count how many times a speaker has arrived with a presentation that is just that much different that it requires completely different hardware and software. By having an A/V professional in attendance at the run through, you are dealing with any problems and coming up with solutions in plenty of time to ensure the event goes off without a hiccup.
- Examine goals and objectives thoroughly – If you had your heart set on an amazing wedding day video compilation set to music, etc. then perhaps having Cousin Betty capture the magic on her new phone isn’t the best option available. And no….it doesn’t matter if she just finished an online video editing webinar and is “super stoked about shooting the film” – you might want to check into a professional.
- Think a wee bit outside the box – If you have a large number of people attending the presentation and the room is quite large, consider hiring a professional to film and project the speaker onto the large screen simultaneously so that everyone can see him or her. We all can relate to being at the back of the room and not being able to pick up on the subtle nuances of the presentation that come from being able to hear AND see them.
The bottom line is, the proper audio visual design can make or break your event. You can wow your audience with the sights and sounds or you can make them wish they were somewhere else.....