There are many ways
audiovisual can go wrong during a meeting. Following is a list of
the “six deadly A/V sins” planners should avoid at all costs.
The “wall of sound” might have been big
on the 1960s rock and pop scene, but it has no place in today’s
meetings. Overamplification is a common sin. Attendees should be
able to listen to the message without feeling pain in their
eardrums. Some planners wrongly assume that louder volume will
compensate for improperly mixed sound. Cranking up badly mixed
sound won’t resolve clarity issues; it only will draw more
attention to them.
When it comes to screen images, bigger
is not necessarily better. The rule of thumb: The screen should
correspond with the room size, setup and attendance. Unless you are
designing an experiential marketing ride for a theme park, you
never want your attendees to feel like they are sitting in the
front row of a movie theater.
Forgo the film festival: Keep the
general session opening videos short, say, three to seven minutes.
When selecting music to match the video content, keep lyrics as
well as tempo in mind; you don’t want songs with words that might
contradict the meeting’s message.
In addition, the quality of the images
on screen, whether static or animated, is crucial. Don’t think
pumping up poorly executed visuals to a larger size will make them
easier to see; that only will make their poor quality more obvious
to the audience.
Also bear in mind that
computer-generated slide images can look great on your laptop but
horrendous on a 20-foot screen. Colors are easily diluted and
distorted. Brown, for example can project as a blinding yellow.
Staffing your tech support correctly
will make or break your program. Budget for strong A/V support for
the duration of your event, and don’t forget rehearsal time. Make
sure a rep from your A/V firm attends your pre-cons. If you are
collaborating with several A/V vendors for various elements of your
program, be sure to clarify their schedules.
Recently, I scheduled a breakout
session following our general session in the same room. The general
session was produced by a separate company, and I forgot to
coordinate the tech support in the room with our general breakout
vendor. Fortunately, the producer of my general session caught the
error. (Another strong argument for having consummate professionals
at your side.)
Planners generally fear making their
rooms too dark. While it is true that spectacularly bright and
clear flat-screen images allow for a lighter ambient glow over the
audience, and while it is true that you don’t want the liability of
your attendees falling and hurting themselves in the pitch black,
be sure to take the lights down enough to give your presentations
full impact and drama.
If you are unable to secure a 24-hour
hold on the venue and have a tight turnaround time, you might need
to double or triple your labor fees to move in and set up on time.
Before you sign that venue contract, be sure you understand how
much time it is going to take to set up A/V and/or turn over any
In addition, you can eliminate and/or
reduce room turns by strategically planning your breakouts. Work
closely with your venue and A/V team to streamline room sets over
the duration of your program. This effort can save thousands of
Louise M. Felsher, CMP,
CMM,is senior event operations manager with
George P. Johnson Experience Marketing in San Carlos,