by Ken Kirsh | September 01, 2016
Small meetings often are considered easier to plan and somehow less significant than larger ones. The fact is, they actually can be more challenging because of tighter budgets, less on-site support and fewer resources. But if you know what to look for, you can neutralize these challenges and expand your reach, even if you are planning and producing a meeting entirely on your own.

Each event space has its own characteristics. As a producer of business meetings, broadcast TV, concerts and special events, I have collected some simple ideas to help bring out the best in any venue.

 Prepare for ambient noise. Find out who's doing what next door. That includes your own sessions.

 Up the drama. When presenting awards, for instance, play recorded music. It intensifies the excitement in the room.

 Consider changing the number and position of audio speakers when attendance fluctuates. Keep in mind that too many audio speakers is better than too few and reduces the chance of feedback.

 Get to know the house lights. Check in advance how they can be controlled, linked, isolated and dimmed.

 Don't forget a lectern light. These often are requested and often overlooked. Confirm its presence in advance or bring one.

 Create atmosphere with even just a few LED up lights. They're a great value and offer flexible placement.

 When a screen appears washed out by non-dimmable venue lighting, ask the venue to remove the bulb. This is not an unusual request.

 Prepare PowerPoint presentations for modern technology. There should be no more 4:3 aspect ratios; make sure everyone provides slides that are 16:9 for widescreen displays.

 Use a single widescreen, either centered or off-center. It's a cleaner look and costs less money than using two.

 Encourage engagement. A Q&A format still works, and it's always a better option than lecturing attendees. Suggest to your speakers that they avoid "tell dumps."

 When introducing a presenter, always end with his or her name. It simply sounds more dramatic and professional.

 Have media prepared. Get the PowerPoint presentations, videos and show flow to the audiovisual team one or two days in advance.

 Beware chandeliers. These are the biggest impediments to clear sight lines. Plan your stage and screen accordingly.

 Give yourself ample time in the venue. When booking, include the access time required to set up, load in and test tech equipment, and  rehearse presenters.

 Simple branding can be established by attaching a sign with your logo or theme to the lectern. This extends branding to any video recording for online or other use.

 Make a custom gobo of the company or meeting logo and project it using a single lighting instrument on a wall, floor or set piece.

 Always know your audience and play to them. Know your goals; know their mindset. Nothing is more important.