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AV tips for executing a successful business event in the UK
Organising a business event can yield excellent results. Whether you’re looking to promote your product, service or brand, or simply give your employees that “WOW” factor during the office christmas party - modern day AV technology is crucial to facilitate a memorable business event.
However, from planning to delivery, the end-to-end AV hire process can at times feel somewhat complex.
If you’re thinking about organising an event of your own, then be sure to read our fifteen AV tips for business events. We’ve covered everything from understanding what AV equipment you need, ensuring you find the perfect venue, and of course - dealing with potential technology barriers.
Allow sufficient time to plan the event from start to finish
Although this point might sound somewhat obvious, we can’t stress enough how important it is to allow sufficient time during the event planning process.
This should include considerations regarding the venue, budgets, staffing, catering, entertainment, photography, transport, cleaning, equipment, and decoration. Although in an ideal world it is hoped that everything will go to plan, this isn't always the case. By starting the planning process as early as possible, you'll give yourself ample time to deal with any potential hiccups.
Ask and you shall receive
At the very start of the business event cycle is the creative/planning stage. Spend some time thinking about how you imagine your business event will look. Are you looking for state-of-the-art virtual reality, or are you looking to install cutting-edge sound systems? Nothing should be beyond the realms of possibility during the planning stage.
It might be worth bringing some staff members on board so that you can collectively bounce ideas off of each other. Ultimately, your AV hire supplier should be tasked with making your creative visions a reality.
Make sure your budget is as accurate as possible
During the event planning stage, you’ll need to ensure that you have a stringent budget forecast in place. Regardless of the size of your event, you’ll need to ensure that your budget allows you to realise your creative dreams.
You should also make sure that you make ample provisions for any last-minute hiccups, such as realising you need to order additional sound systems!
Do you know what AV technology is and what it can do?
Before you start exploring what AV equipment your business event is likely to need, make sure you have a firm grasp of what AV is, and what it can offer. In its most basic form, AV technology refers to “Audio Visual” equipment.
This includes the likes of sound systems, wireless microphones, lighting, screens and digital signage, holograms, LED walls, and large-scale projectors. By combining audio and visual technologies concurrently, the possibilities are broad, and the term, when used in the business event space, has also come to encompass hardware that is used to engage with your attendees directly, like tablets around the venue, virtual reality stands, touchscreens, or interactive voting systems.
Assess power capacity levels before finalising your event location
If you’re looking to hire a substantial amount of AV equipment, then you need to consider how much power you are likely to need. In fact, certain AV equipment such as sound systems can require a significant amount of power. Not only should you check this with the venue themselves, but you should also consult with your AV hire supplier.
Where are you going to host your business event?
Finding the perfect venue for your business event should sit at the core of your planning endeavours. Not only should the event be of sufficient size to meet your creative needs, but you should also think about the logistics of your guests.
If you are expecting guests to travel, are there sufficient transport links such as a local train station, and sufficient parking? You should also ensure that there are ample hotels within distance of the event for those stopping overnight.
Overbooking might impede capacity limitations
If you’re looking to promote your business to the masses, just make sure that you make some considerations about capacity levels. While on the one hand you might be hoping to attract as many attendees as possible, most venues will have a maximum capacity that they can legally allow. You don’t want people turning up to your event, only to be turned away!
Does the event venue have sufficient space?
Size is everything in the AV planning phase. First and foremost, if you’re planning to use an event venue of significant size, then be sure to make some considerations regarding cable routes.
An experienced AV supplier will know that in some cases, they might need to utilise HDMI-converter devices or distribution amplifiers to ensure that sound and vision feeds retains its quality via long cables. As a side note, be sure to warn your AV supplier if you think technicians will be required to work at height.
Just how big and powerful do you want to go?
If you’re looking to execute a memorable business event, but you’re unsure what’s technically necessary, it's crucial that you first speak with your AV supplier. Whether it's the numbers of projectors, size of the screen, or even how powerful your speakers need to be, your AV supplier will be able to assist.
Your best bet is to inform your supplier as to the number of audience members you are expecting, and whether they’ll be primarily seated or standing. Although the last point might sound arbitrary, audiences that stand actually absorb more sound energy, so they’ll need more speakers and they’ll be craving screens on a taller stand!
Ensure the room has sufficient space for projectors
Before you order a projector, or set of projectors, be sure to assess the layout of the event venue. This is especially pertinent for smaller events, such as an internal conference.
You should take care to consider how much room your projector(s) is going to take up, as well as whether you require cables to connect to a roof mount. Ultimately, you don’t want to be in a position where your attendees can’t see the projector due to an inefficient set-up!
Consider what time of the day your event will be hosted
For example, if you’re hosting a day-time business event, then it's likely that you will need to hire more powerful projectors, or screens that yield a stronger contrast. It might even be necessary to hire more small screens that can be placed closer to the audience.
Have you ordered the right equipment?
When it comes to assessing what AV equipment you actually need, you might want to start by generating a checklist of items. Think about breaking the checklist down by its respective AV category, such as sound, lighting and screens. You should then list all of the AV equipment you’ll need to facilitate each item, such as mixers, cables or connectors.
When you feel that you’ve considered all of the required AV equipment, go through the checklist with your AV hire supplier. If there’s something that you’ve missed, a good AV supplier will let you know what you need.
Provide your AV supplier with ample delivery information
Continuing on from the above tip, you should also ensure that you provide your AV hire supplier with sufficient information about your delivery location. Try to provide as much information as possible (such as parking bays, loading times, etc), including a contact name and mobile telephone number.
You should also ensure that you inform the building receptionist and security team, so that they are aware of the delivery. Time might not be on your side, so a seamless delivery process is crucial to ensuring your business event goes smoothly.
Are you able to facilitate a seamless delivery?
If you’re planning to order heavy items (or even lots of items) such as sound systems, then it’s important you consider the delivery process. You’ll want to ensure that you have a lift of significant size and weight capacity prior to placing the order. It’s a good idea in this respect to share the dimensions of your lift with your AV hire supplier.
Make sure your delivery layout is planned efficiently
During the planning stage of your business event, you’ll need to spend ample time thinking about the layout of your AV equipment. A reputable AV supplier will ensure that sound systems and screens are correctly installed to avoid feedback, as well as yield maximum sound and image distribution. They’ll also make sure that cables are taped down for the safety of your attendees.
With that being said, changing the layout of your AV equipment at the last minute will be no easy feat. As such, try to make sure you get the layout planning process correct first time!
Make some considerations regarding WIFI
Never assume that your event venue will have sufficient WIFI accessibility on the day of the event. In fact, depending on the specific event location, you might need to make some additional arrangements. This won’t just be for the benefit of your business event attendees.
On the contrary, certain electronic devices will require a fully-functioning internet connection. This includes the likes of video streaming, photocopier and printer devices, as well as debit/credit card processing machines.
Allow sufficient time for on-site testing
While testing your AV equipment prior to the day of the event is still important, it is even more imperative that you allow sufficient time on the day of the event. This is especially pertinent with sound equipment. You'll want to make sure that you are able to yield the desired sound levels for each of the different speakers that will be present.
For example, if certain speakers require different settings, it’s an excellent idea to place coloured stickers on the mixing desk. That way, you’ll be able to seamlessly adjust the settings as and when each speaker is present.
Ensure you stay within the venue’s regulations
Most business event venues will have their own regulations, especially with respect to noise restrictions. Make sure that you consider any maximum noise limits that the venue host has in place.
This further amplifies the importance of pre-event testing.
Have you hired enough staff for your business event?
The number of staff required, if any, will ultimately depend on the size of your business event. However, if your event is likely to be of significant size, then you should make some preparations regarding staff levels. It's always best to arrange too many staff rather than not enough!
Get the word out to increase your business event’s exposure
If you’re looking to host an event to external stakeholders, then it's important that you get the word out well before the day of the event. There is a plethora of UK-based online sources that can help with this, especially in the form of topic-specific social media marketing.
On the other hand, while pre-event promotion is crucial, make sure you don’t over book. Remember, your chosen event venue will have a maximum capacity threshold!
Ask as many questions as you see fit
Planning and executing a successful business event is not only time consuming, but it can be costly, too. As such, you want to make sure that you have all bases covered before, during, and after the event.
Whether it's "How to tune a PA system", or "How to set up audio mixers", your AV hire supplier should be your first port of call. A good AV hire supplier will ensure that all of your concerns are dealt with, so don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you see fit!
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