As an event planner, you’re known for your superhuman feats of organizational strength.
You help create your event’s schedule, secure a venue, accommodate the needs of your presenters and register hundreds of attendees, all the while with a deadline and budget looming over your head.
The one thing you may need help with, however, is A/V production.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most event planners don’t have the expertise and know-how that a professional A/V technician can provide.
Whether a technician is provided to you by your event’s venue, or if you hire one from a third party audio company, you need to learn how to work with your tech efficiently to ensure your event is a success.
Here are 5 tips to help you work effectively with your A/V technician during your next meeting, conference or event:
1. Know the Basics of Your A/V Systems
As an event planner, you don’t have to know how to configure a wireless microphone system, work a mixing board or match a loudspeaker to a power amp.
You should, however, have a general idea of what certain A/V systems do.
Make sure you read up on different A/V systems early on in your planning process, including lighting rigs, projection systems, public address (PA) systems, conference microphone systems and wireless microphone systems.
Having a general idea of what each system does will help you determine which type of system(s) your event does and does not require, which will save you from wasted time, money and stress.
Then, prep yourself by answering the following questions:
— What system(s) best suits the needs of my presenters and attendees?
— What system(s) can my event go without?
— Will all of my presenters be accommodated for during their presentations?
— Do any presentations require additional systems or equipment, like a wireless microphone for audience Q&A’s or breakout sessions?
— What will happen if something goes wrong with a system during my event? Will my presenters still be covered if a system fails?
Planning ahead for A/V production needs and potential technical glitches will go a long way in ensuring that you and your technician are on the same page during the day of your event.
2. Know What Your A/V Technicians’ Jobs Are
If your event requires you to work with more than one A/V technician, you should know what each technician will be in charge of throughout the duration.
Introduce yourself to each tech, and familiarize yourself with what they will be responsible for.
If your event requires a PA system, as most events do, your team of A/V technicians will likely include the following members:
— Front-of-house (FOH) engineer: The FOH controls the audio for your audience and attendees. They are usually stationed in or behind the audience, and in front of the stage.
— Monitor engineer: This engineer controls what your presenters hear on stage via the monitor system. Typically, the monitor engineer works from the wings or from backstage.
— Audio assistants: These assistants set up and break down equipment, plug in cables and replace components as needed.
You don’t need to know all of the technical aspects of what each technician is doing during your event, but it helps to visualize the big picture to know who should be where, and when.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up and Ask Questions
You should always feel safe in trusting your A/V technician’s advice, recommendations and suggestions during your event; remember, your technician is a paid professional.
However, if you have concerns or questions about what they’re doing or suggesting, do not remain silent.
Although you’re accustomed to being in charge of every detail of an event, there is zero shame in knowing your limits, especially when it comes to something as crucial and intricate as audiovisual production.
If you don’t understand what your technician is saying or asking, don’t make the mistake of pretending that you do. Ask your technician to explain what they mean in laypeople’s terms, until your concerns have been addressed and questions answered.
Presuming to know something A/V-related when, in fact, you do not, can lead to bigger problems later during your event.
Don’t allow manageable A/V issues to negatively impact the success of your event. Address and solve any issue with your technician as soon as it arises.
4. Communicate Your Presenters’ Needs to Your A/V Technician
Ask your presenters about their specific A/V needs for your event to ensure their presentations sound the way they want them to sound, and look the way they want them to look.
Moreover, make sure your technician is able to fulfill each of their needs. Vocalize all of your needs to your technician early on in the planning process.
You and your tech can refer to this handy checklist of common reminders before the start of your event:
— Is a wireless microphone ready for hands-free demos during presentations?
— Are there enough wired handheld microphones to go around during Q&A sessions? Additionally, are there microphone stands set up on the floor for attendees in case they need them?
— Are the correct types of adapters on hand? Are they compatible with the venue’s A/V systems?
— Is there a connection for a PC, Mac and/or iPad if needed?
— How many audio sources are there? How many power outlets? Where are the outlets located at your venue?
— Does my venue’s PA system feature mono or stereo sound?
— Do any of my presenters have special needs? Do they need to project transparencies or documents, or play musical instruments or access surround sound?
— Is the right kind of video connection available for each presentation? Do any presentations require a VGA connection? Do any require a HDMI connection?
— What type of video connection does my venue’s lectern or podium offer? Will the connection cover my presenters’ requirements?
— Are any presenters showing slides? If so, what is the optimal aspect ratio needed to display them?
These are all critical questions that should be answered as early as possible to avoid major headaches on event day.
5. Consult with Your A/V Technician Early and Often
Make it a habit of bringing A/V technicians into the loop early on in the planning process.
They can help you quickly identify your A/V needs and point you to the necessary equipment you’ll need to meet them, which will help you avoid unnecessary stress and costs.
As every event planner knows, plans evolve. Be sure to consult frequently with your A/V technician so that they can adapt to any changes with you.
Need help planning your next event? Speak to an AudioLinks A/V technician via email or phone at 1-800-263-0112.
Have any tips for working with A/V technicians? Let us know in the comments section below!