According to research, the human eye can detect the light of a candle 14 miles away. Now, that’s also assuming this candle isn’t inside a house, covered by trees at the bottom of a hill. Nonetheless, the human eye can capture the smallest details. So now knowing this statistic, wouldn’t you want to ensure every visual component with your event is perfect?

In simple terms, AV, otherwise known as Audio Visual, is the use of both sight and sound to convey a message within a presentation. For example, you may be familiar with a slide projector which often connects a computer to a large screen. Choosing the right AV company is crucial to the success of your event. Below, I have outlined the best process for hiring an AV company for your next event.

1. Come ready with Goals

First, I cannot stress the importance of understanding your goals when hiring an AV company. You can start by asking yourself some of the following questions:
– Who will be attending your event?
– What type of energy will the guests have? Will they want?
– What is the tone of this event?
– What is the desired outcome of this event?
For example, if you have guests that are high energy, you will want to create an event that is invigorating and stimulating. This could potentially lead to the incorporation of Projection Mapping, the unique projection of images across a variety of objects.

After brainstorming all of your key points, I recommend organizing your thoughts into different categories using one of the many Mind Mapping tools. Personally, I really enjoy using the Fishbone Diagram when narrowing my ideas.

Once you have a clear understanding of your objectives, you can begin exploring methods for executing your desired goals. Your AV Company wants to make sure they make your dreams become a reality. Help them in this process by providing them with a clear understanding of what you want to see.

2. Know difference between wants and needs

Now that the goals are clear, I ask you to take a good look at that list. After reviewing your key points, I ask that you narrow this list and sort based on wants vs. needs. Trust me, you will thank me after.

The main reason we sort our wants from needs is COST. AV production can get expensive, quick! Once you outline your needs, I recommend researching the estimated associated costs. The cost of AV needs can range from as small as a few hundred dollars to upwards of $10,000+.
The second reason we sort our wants from needs is to incorporate new trends! Nowadays, guests are bored with the traditional speaker at a podium presentation and want to be wowed! With a better scope of your needs, you can incorporate the most practical trends to truly give your event the spice it needs.

So let’s say, for example, you have a digital marketing conference. It might be more important that you have good screens for your presentation, rather than incorporating the latest iPhone App.

Though it is natural to get excited about all new ideas, keep a clear line between wants and needs.

3. Ready, Set, Action!

When hiring an AV company, you will need to know the exact time allocated for each component within your event. This may include using a timeline template to track the progress of goals before, during and after the event. Things you want to consider:
– Will you need any practice run through’s prior to the event?
– How much time will you need to set-up the set?
– How much time will you need to take down the set?
– Will you need assistance loading/moving set parts?
Additionally, you will want to engage your AV Company with the presenters as early as possible. The AV Company will be able to work with the presenters and account for any additional time they may need. This can include the time to load presentations, re-format, and practice entrances and transitions.

By knowing time requirements, AV companies can accurately prepare to execute an event that aligns with your goals.

4. Address Challenges

As much as I would love to say hiring an AV company is seamless, there are often challenges that come to when deciding on the best company to use. A few challenges you may face are listed below:

Out of House May Be Cheaper: One example may be the venue that you are hosting your event has a recommended or required in-house AV company. Though the in-house AV service may be convenient, they often charge more and event vendors quickly realize they are no longer within their budget. Be sure to review all the AV options you have available before you make a decision.

Out of House Makes Lasting Impact: I cannot tell you how many times I have used an in-house AV service for an event and have been disappointed with the level of customer service. By hiring out-of-house AV companies, you will be impressed with the level of assistance and knowledge they bring to your event.

Be ready to talk tech: Fact: It will be extremely difficult for the AV company if you are not familiar with technological terms. This will include a variety of projection details, screen sizes, and audio components such as mics and speakers. Refer to Audio Visual Dictionary/Glossary for simple words/phrases that you need to know about AV.
Once you overcome these common challenges, you are one step closer to hiring your AV Company.

5. Review Negotiations in Contract

Before you sign your life away, be sure to review (and understand) all components in the AV contract. Feel free to contact your AV specialist to walk you through the ins and outs of the contract. Additionally, you may want to pay special attention to the few additional points below:

Understand Your Quote
Pro Tip: Ask your AV specialist for a drawing/mock design of your event. You will be able to ensure all details for your event are executed accurately.

Know Goals Related to Cost
Pro Tip: Compare costs with other AV Companies to ensure you are being charged fairly. If you feel like you are being overcharged, do not hesitate to negotiate or leverage costs using outside resources

In-House May Reserve a right to “bid” on it
Pro Tip: Beware of this clause in contracts. This means the in-house AV Company may bid a lower price, but may not align as closely with your goals as the out-of-house AV Company.

Power Clauses
Pro Tip: Know how much electricity you will need to power your event (projectors, speakers, etc) and if you will have to pay for it. The more complex your event, the more electricity you will need. If you have to pay for power, the bill can add up quick!

If you keep an eye out for these key contract details, you will have a seamless transition when hiring an AV company for your next event.

Have a good time!

Your AV Company wants to enjoy this event as much as you do. Incorporate your AV Company as part of your team and include them in the entire process. By following the steps above, you will create a smooth execution of your event and you will likely form a lasting business relationship with more events to come.

Download How To Remove In-House AV Restrictions Guide Now!

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Katie Christianson

Author Katie Christianson

Katie has been involved in the events industry for years! When she is not working, she enjoys working out, riding motorcycles and walking her wiener dog, Holly. She is passionate about traveling and learning about new cultures and hopes to experience living in many different countries. Katie values a hard work ethic, a light-hearted personality and a good pun.

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