Event planners pride themselves on mastering every detail of their meeting, conference or lecture series.
But it’s often easy for planners to overlook the most important event planning detail of all: attendee engagement.
Event planners should know that the quality of a venue’s A/V infrastructure plays a critical role in the ability of a presenter to engage an audience.
Bad acoustics, boring visuals and poorly lit rooms are just a few ways a good presentation can turn off even the most enthused attendees.
As an event planner, you may think these things are an inevitable part of event planning and are out of your control, but they aren’t. In fact, there are many audiovisual tricks and techniques to ensure your attendees are fully engaged throughout your entire event.
Brighten up your event and energize the room with these 5 A/V tricks to better engage your attendees:
1. Use Your Ears When Picking A Room
Great presentations begin with great sound, so if your presenters’ voices get lost in a huge, boomy room, you’ll lose your attendees’ attention.
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to ensure that everyone can hear is to pick a room designed for presentations, wherein every attendee can clearly see and focus on each presenter.
When searching for a venue or scouting for rooms in your office or campus, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the room have adequate acoustics? Choose a well-insulated auditorium over a big common space. A large room with a noticeable echo can swallow even the most dynamic presenter.
- Does the room have clear lines of sight? Every attendee should have a direct visual connection to each presenter, as well as to each video monitor or projection screen.
- Does the room have a stage and a podium? Elevating or outfitting your presenters with a
2. When In Doubt, Choose The Bigger PA System
Even if your venue is designed for public speaking, a presentation will fall flat if no one in the room can hear it.
Some venues offer event planners a PA system as part of their rental package. But if not, or if you’re outfitting a room at your office yourself, be sure to choose a PA system that will reach all corners of the room.
Always budget for a PA system that’s too big rather than too small. Using an inadequate PA can lead to distortion, feedback and other issues that will negatively impact your audience’s attention and overall experience, let alone cause them to think that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Choosing the right PA system for your event can be a complicated task. Make sure you take enough time early on in the planning process to research and purchase or rent one that will work best for your event.
3. Go Wireless
In order for your presenters to truly engage their audience, they should be able to move and gesture freely while speaking on stage.
This seemingly tiny factor plays a huge role in your presenters’ ability to connect with attendees. By freeing your presenters from the confines of messy wired cables, you allow them to more fully present their sales pitch, case study or personal story.
So, as an event planner, ask yourself the following during the event planning process:
- Will my presenters’ microphones allow them to leave the podium?
- Moreover, will their hands be free when they do so?
There are many benefits to investing in a wireless microphone system, from eliminating troublesome cables to allowing your presenters the freedom to be as emotive as they wish.
Lastly, if your presenters are allowed more freedom on stage, they will make a better presentation and will spread the word about your event after it’s over, which can lead to fruitful networking and marketing opportunities for you and your event planning business down the road.
4. Let Your Attendees Have Their Say
The difference between a good event and a great one often boils down to how included and involved your attendees feel throughout the event.
Therefore, make your attendees the stars of your event. Brainstorm ways to incorporate interaction and encourage participation among your attendees.
Consider planning the following for your event:
- Program time into your event schedule for feedback, Q&A sessions and breakout discussion groups with select presenters. Have at least one wireless handheld microphone ready to be distributed to attendees at all times.
- Hire a photographer and set up a TV monitor that displays photographs or live video from your event.
- Create and visually promote a #hashtag that attendees can use to talk and connect with others about your event on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Adding these elements can dramatically increase attendee engagement and their overall enjoyment of your event.
5. Just Say No To Static Visuals
At today’s events and conferences, dynamic visuals are a given as static slideshows and projections become a thing of the past.
A moving, full-featured visual presentation – even a well-made Microsoft PowerPoint presentation- will go a long way to keeping your audience engaged and on their toes.
Therefore, make sure that you or your venue has adequate projectors and screens for use. Both are essential accessories for your event, even if your presenters are bringing their own media or laptops.
While you’re at it, make sure you have plenty of spare video adapters of all sizes to accommodate various hardware formats. An absent VGA cable can derail a presentation just as easily as a poor presenter!
What are some of the methods you’ve used with success for your events? Let us know in the comments section below!