There are various ways to approach the planning for an event’s moving parts. Yet seasoned planners know that working with the AV staff early in the planning stages is the best course of action. Many aspects of the event are impacted by production, and AV planning involves much more than simply knowing what is needed for audio, video, and lighting.
In the end, your audio-visual provider should resemble a consultative partner, offering a wealth of suggestions and options to ensure the success of your event.
1. Start Successfully With A Comprehensive Kick Off Meeting
Once you have a signed contract in place, the production team should plan a kick-off meeting that includes all of the stakeholders. The meeting should have two goals: building a relationship and going through the objectives and details of the event.
A Comprehensive Contract Review
The contract should first be examined to discover whether anything has changed. You could have made some changes, or the AV provider might have made fresh suggestions throughout the bidding process that you may wish to implement. It is important to communicate the event’s objectives, goals, and ideas with everyone involved, as they are all essential in designing the production setup.
“The First Date”
We like to think of this meeting as our first date; getting to know you and your team is just as crucial. The relationship will strengthen the more your production partner gets to know you. We like to understand things such as your preferred methods of communication, your experience with previous events, and even your knowledge of AV technology. Anything your AV partner requests at this point should continue to clarify how they will add value to your event.
2. A Clear And Simple Planning Framework
Experienced production companies and event planners will have their own framework for the planning process. This procedure should be both simple and thorough, with no detail overlooked and no cable missed!
Large and Small Event Details
Aspects of the event that do not generally come under “AV services” but affect how the production will run should also be included. Discussing topics like the room layout, stage size, seating count and speaker training are all important to the success of the event. This should also draw attention to any potential problems or opportunities. Make sure the planning process accounts for contingencies in case any aspect of your event has to change, whether it be the overall event design or a speaker cancellation. There should not be any shocks or unknowns when you ultimately get to the event site.
3. Past Event Examples
Your AV provider should be able to provide samples of comparable productions they have worked on, particularly in the early stages of planning when your event vision and design are coming together. They should be ready to share their best practices with you in the areas of technology, venue selection, event structure, stage design, setting and speaker lineup.
This offers you some confidence that they can manage the complexities of your event. If they have done it previously, they know what to look for, how much to budget, etc. They will have a more detailed strategy. Also, it is another chance for the production team to contribute value by thinking of items on your behalf. If you are not considering it, the production staff definitely should be. Proactively identifying ways to improve, streamline, and optimize the event is a key component of the AV event planning process.
4. A Meaningful Site Visit
The event planning process should certainly include a site inspection, but how much time and effort is spent to make this useful will vary. Your AV partner should have a thorough understanding of power/internet needs, load in and out procedures, and rigging points (if necessary). The site visit is also important to confirm that the creative elements will work in the space provided. Many things can affect this such as ceiling height, pocket walls and locations of entrances and exits.
Be Strategic Onsite
But the visit should not just be about checking boxes; your AV provider should also look closely at the venue to determine if there are any items you may not truly require. You may realize onsite that there is a more cost-effective way to design the stage utilizing existing room features, or there may be methods to reduce the need for breakout room space if you are organizing a hybrid event. Lastly, your AV staff should correspond with any additional vendors (ie. photographers, videographers.) Every one should be acquainted with one another, know who to contact with inquiries before the event, and know how to communicate effectively during the show.
5. Don’t Skip the Debrief
There are a lot of advantages to analyzing how things went, even while we are aware that depending on the scope of the event, it may not be entirely required. What went well and what may be improved should be discussed at a debriefing session.
Design Your Next RFP
It will help event planners create a strategy that will be used regardless of the AV partner for the next event. It is simple to forget what you said you would remember for the next time, especially when there are multiple events in a year! The input from this discussion may influence your next RFP; were there any technical components you needed to add or remove? Do you need quotes for any production services? Are you looking for a certain kind of event design?
A debrief enables you to build on the momentum and success you have already achieved, even if you have worked with your production partner for several years. Are there any technicians you would particularly want to hire again next year? Has the new timeline for events worked out, or should you revert to the old method? What comments did your speakers make?
Planning for the next year will be a lot simpler if you take the time to examine and reflect.
Choose an AV Partner with Intention
The quality of AV services and team can certainly make or break your event. Thus it is crucial to understand each production company’s skills and willingness throughout the RFP process. Start by ensuring these five items are considered during the AV planning process.
Throughout the planning phase, Summit Event Productions goes above and beyond for you. We take a consultative approach to all we do, whether assisting with vendor coordination, aiding with contract negotiations, or providing guidance on setting the agenda.
Get in touch with us today to discover more about the benefits of working with a team truly dedicated to your success!