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This Whiteboard Wednesday is all about the stuff AV people say. If you’ve happened to catch our #EventIcons Shit Event Planners Say, then you know you are in for a treat! Brandt Krueger of Event Technology Consulting will be walking us through commonly heard shit AV people say, as well as why they say it. This should help anyone who has heard these phrases before understanding the reasoning behind them (and grab a few laughs along the way)! 

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stuff av people say

Video Transcript – Stuff AV People Say

Today we’re gonna be talking about stuff AV people say. Now, these are the things that AV people say on a regular basis. I actually reached out as part of an article I was writing for Meeting Mentor Magazine, I reached out to AV people all over the world asking them what their biggest gripes were, what they wanted their planners to know, what are the top things that you wish that your planners knew? And this is what they came back for. Now, this is the director’s cut of the responses that I got back because we had to really short it up for the article but since this is Whiteboard Wednesday I can talk as long as I want, we can really bring it to you.

So, let’s start it right off with planners are asking us all the time, “Hey, is that really … do we need all that gear, that’s more than I asked for?” And the answer that we give is, yes. Here’s why we added all of that gear. So, here’s the deal. Most of the time AV people they’re not wanting to take advantage of you or anything like that. They’re really just trying to cover both your ass and their ass, right? To make sure that you’ve got what you need to pull off your event.

And so it’s not that they’re trying to add equipment, to pad the bid or anything like that they just want to make sure that they’re covered, and that you’re covered. So, maybe they throw in a little bit larger soundboard or maybe they throw in an extra projector here and there or something along those lines or a couple of extra microphones. So, yeah, as you’re looking through that list and you’re like, “Well, okay. I only needed these things, and these things, and these things, sometimes you might see a few things on there that you didn’t ask for.

Now, here’s the deal, the more that your AV company is confident that you know what you’re talking about, that you know what your agenda is going to be, we’re only gonna need this number of mics, we’re definitely only gonna need this many screens and it’s really only gonna need to be this brightness, the more confident that they are that you’re confident that you know what you need, the less likely they are to try and add stuff onto the bid to make sure that they’re covered.

So, the more educated you can be and the more clearly and concisely you can communicate that to your AV company, the more likely you are to get exactly what you asked for and exactly what you need. So, if you’re ever feeling like this is more than I need, ask them about it. It never hurts to ask and say, “Why did you add this on and why did you add this on?” And they can probably just say, “Well, we find a lot of people wind up having to throw on an extra mic,” or something along those lines. So, that’s what we’re gonna have to take a look at and let’s move on to the next one.

I want the nice one!

So, here’s one that we hear a lot of the time is, “Hey, why can’t we get the really nice projector? It doesn’t take up any more room on the truck so just throw it on.” No big deal, right? You already own it. So, just throw it on the truck.

Well, yeah. We would love to give you a nice projector but here’s the deal, the 20k lumen projector costs a lot more than the 5k projector or the 10k projector. So, yeah, it doesn’t make good business sense. The general rule when it comes to rental prices is about 10% of the purchase price. So, if you can rent it 10 times it’s gonna be paid for, but until that happens you’re not making any money off of that equipment. So, yeah, sure, it doesn’t take up as much space on the truck but we still need to cover being able to afford that equipment.

Now, the other part of that is the lower lumen projector, the 5k, the 10k, things like that, because they’re less expensive AV companies are more likely to own more of those. So, maybe they only own like one really high-end projector or two really high-end projectors. So, they wanna make sure that they’re not taking that out of their inventory in case someone who really does need the really bright projector comes along and is willing to pay the rental price.

Now, that being said AV companies all the time will frequently upgrade your equipment or throw one of the little extra equipment like we were just talking about. But let that be their doing, right? So, if they do that and they say, “Hey, we didn’t have anything else going on so we brought you the really nice projector,” that’s great. But don’t expect that to happen all the time so that when you go for your next AV company and show them the bid and say, “Well look, we got this really fancy gear for a lot less money and we want you to do the same.” You can’t really expect that, but if they want to do that, that’s a great partner, that’s a great relationship, and that’s someone who you wanna keep a hold of as you move on as a vendor.

Don’t Force Us to Understaff

Moving onto the next one. All right, don’t force us to understaff. So, this is one that I heard from a couple of different places from a couple of different AV folk. And it’s a little hard to wrap your head around a little bit and that if you get two different bids, and let’s say that they’re both $10,000 bids. And one of them says they can do it with four people and one of them says they can do it with three people, don’t assume that the other one is, again, padding, trying to get more people on the bid. Different companies have different processes and different companies have different divisions of labor. And so if that’s what they feel that they need don’t try and force them or at the very least again ask them about it.

Say, “Hey, what exactly is it that you’re gonna do with this fourth person?” And they might have a very good explanation. “Well, we like to have one person who’s video, one person who’s audio, you mentioned that you were going to be recording this and selling the tapes afterward,” yes, I’m sure on my age there were talking about tapes.

“So, we wanna make sure that we’ve got someone who’s dedicated to that because if you’re gonna be trying to resell the video afterward, we wanna make sure that someone is monitoring that, watching the color, all of those kinds of things rather than pushing that on to the person who’s gonna be doing switching live during the show.” So chances are if they’re doing something live like that they’re not gonna be able to dedicate their focus to make sure, “Oh yeah, those records, how are those doing?” That kind of thing.

So, it’s okay to challenge, it’s okay to ask but don’t try and force a company that says that they need to do it with four people into doing it with three just to save money. Really kind of talk it through with them and give them an opportunity to explain that’s why that’s their process.

We Don’t Get Paid for Overtime

Okay, all the way up to here. This is a classic. Now, when we’ve got planners involved especially happens a lot of times with corporates where they’ve got one big annual presentation. They’re willing to stay up till 3:00 in the morning rehearsing it as many times as the CEO wants to and then turn around and come right back down again at 4:00 in the morning.

So, we hear a lot, “Hey look, we don’t get paid for overtime, why do you guys get paid for overtime?” And it’s a really simple answer. The human body was not meant to work 16, 17, 18 hours a day every day, that’s why we have overtime laws in a lot of the worlds, right? So, it’s because you can’t exist and do that, physically the body starts to break down. So, while it might be your annual conference and you’re willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, a lot of times those planners then get to take a week off afterward.

So, while it might be your Super Bowl, it’s our Tuesday and then we gotta go onto the next show, and the next show, and the next show, and the next show. So, that’s why these overtime rules and laws and that’s honestly part of it as well is it depends on where you’re at in the world, what venue you’re at, it may actually be legal regulations forcing you to have overtime charges. Just to smooth that out, a lot of AV companies around the world will actually follow those rules whether or not that’s an actual legal reason or not. So, the short answer is, yes, we do charge overtime and it’s already based on a pretty liberal day. Most AV days are based on 10 hour days as opposed to the standard eight-hour workday.

So, you’re already getting a couple of extra hours in your day to tacked on. So, that’s why, yes, you might be willing to do that every day but then you could take a week off afterward and we have to go back and do it.

Bring Us in Earlier

So, next one, and I hear this all the time from AV folks, is please, please, please, please, please, please bring us in earlier. Bring us in earlier in the process. Even if you haven’t decided if you’re gonna use us, as a company, if you haven’t decided that you wanna do that, bring us in earlier because almost every AV person that I know will be happy to look over a bid for you, would be happy to look over a venue contract for you. There are so many things that we’ve seen people get burned on in venue contracts and I think we’re gonna do an entire Whiteboard Wednesday dedicated to negotiating venue contracts and how it involves AV.

So, we’ll say, we’ll put a pin on that and come back to that later. But let us take a look at it. Let us help you look through that contract and see, “Oh man, you guys got to negotiate that away,” or, “Oh no, you don’t have to get charged that,” or, “Oh no, you don’t have to use their rigging company, we’ve got a company that we use and we trust, and here’s how you can get out of it.” So, bring us in earlier even if you haven’t decided on whether or not you wanna use our particular AV company.

I Can Just Buy It For That

Now, let’s go ahead and look at this one because I skipped one. So we’re gonna come back. Yes, you can buy it for that, right? So, this is [inaudible 00:09:12], “Man, look at that price. I can just buy it for that.” Yes, you can buy it for that. But where are you gonna store it? Who’s gonna clean it? Who’s gonna make sure that it works? Who’s gonna make sure that it works when it goes out? Who’s gonna make sure that it works when it comes back who’s gonna make sure and take care of it while it’s on site, how are you gonna ship it there? What boxes is it gonna come in? All of these things are true. So yes, you can buy it frequently for what a lot of times you’ll see on a bid, maybe someone’s not following that 10% rule, some companies advance. Let’s leave it at that.

But yeah, you have to take that into account. Yes, you could buy it for the price sometimes and I’ve known a lot of planners that do own some of their own AV equipment. They look at what they’re paying for breakout sessions and things like that and they say, “Okay, it makes sense for us.” But think it through. Take a moment. Again, where are you gonna store it? You can’t just put it in an empty office somewhere because otherwise it’s gonna walk away, it’s gonna get dust on it, or whatever. So, where are you gonna store it, who’s gonna take care of it, who’s gonna make sure it’s working? Who’s gonna service it on site? So, yes. You can absolutely buy it yourself but make sure you really think it through about how it’s gonna work and who’s gonna take care of it.

Feed Your Crew

Here’s one that was a fun one that came in from some of the AV folks and that is the one tip that they could give to planners was make sure that you feed your crew, it just goes a long way. A fed crew is a happy crew. You’d be surprised at how much goodwill that you can bring in providing a meal, and not just flat meat, we get a lot of flat meat meals in hotels, but if you can actually … whatever the guests are having just throw on a few more frequently you’re trying to get up to a certain count anyway. And you’d be surprised how often you sit down and the AV crew is like, “Oh man, this is delicious thank you so much.”

A couple of extra added benefits. Not only the goodwill that you get for that but also keeps them on site, right? They don’t have to run off to another part of the venue, down the street to the sandwich shop or something like that. So, if something comes up and there’s an emergency you’re not trying to track them down and find out where they went.

Sorry It’s Gonna Take a Little Time

Here’s another one, sorry it’s gonna take a little time. Now the context of that is especially in the event business there’s a lot more needed now, needed now, not a short-term turnaround. So, and we need to get our AV bids and we need it tomorrow because the event is in two weeks and that kind of thing.

So, try and give us a little bit more time when it comes to putting together those bids because you want them to be accurate, you want them to really think through, we need this, we need this, we need this, and we need this, and you’re going to be happier with your bids. So, try to take you know… pump the brakes a little bit. Try to slow down a little bit and give your AV company a little time to respond rather than, “Here’s the RFP, and I need it tomorrow, or I need it by the end of the week,” so that they can really think through, hop on a phone call and talk through, make sure that your really gonna get it.

Because if you don’t they’re just gonna ballpark it. They’re gonna have to try and do it as quickly as possible, roughly as possible and then that’s when you start to run into problems of, “Oh crap, if we really wanna do what you wanna do, it’s gonna be a lot more. And I know we said we could do it for this, turns out it’s gonna be twice as much because we didn’t have time to really research what it was gonna take to have a fake helicopter come down at the end of your opening speech.”

Oh, It’s So Smooth!

Finally, a lot of times we see folks going like, “Oh, it looks so smooth and casual, everything looks so amazing.” A lot of times the more casual and smooth that something looks, chances are they rehearsed the snot out of it, right? So, really it’s the old how do you get to Carnegie Hall joke, right? So, how do get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

So, the more time that you can dedicate to rehearsal, the better your show is gonna be. I know it sounds really simple, but it’s true. It’s so true. Just making sure that you’re not driving from immediately from set up, set up, set up, set up, do an hour of rehearsal and then we’re in the show. So give it time to breathe. Maybe do set up on the first day and then do rehearsals on the second day, or if you’re starting in the afternoon have rehearsals all morning. Really try and get your executives or your speakers up on stage, and comfortable, and seeing the confidence monitors and the notes and all that kind of stuff. All of that is gonna add to their comfort factor and make them feel comfortable on stage, make them be the best speakers that they can be.

I will say on the other side of that, sometimes you can do a little too much rehearsal, you can do a little too much, “Yeah, let’s run through it again, and run through it again, and run through it again.” And maybe there’s a point of diminishing returns after rehearsing in a certain amount of times. But definitely make sure that you’re making sure that you’re getting enough rehearsal time and not just having to slam immediately from set up to closing, to right into running the show.


So, that’s about it. That is the shit that AV people say. If you’ve got some more if you’ve overheard some shit that AV people say please do let us know in the comments. If you like this Whiteboard Wednesday be sure and give us a thumbs up. if you didn’t like it or you think I’m totally off base on some of the stuff, please, please, please do let us know in the comments we’re definitely reading the comments, we’re definitely checking it out.

Otherwise, if you did enjoy and you wanna make sure you don’t miss another Whiteboard Wednesday, click that little subscribe button and we will be going right into your YouTube feed and we can join you every week. So thanks so much, and we’ll see you next time on Whiteboard Wednesday.


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Brandt Krueger

Author Brandt Krueger

With over 20 years experience in the meetings and events industry, Brandt has spoken at industry events and seminars all over the world, been published in numerous magazines and websites, and teaches public and private classes on meeting and event technology and production. He provides freelance technical production services, and is the owner of Event Technology Consulting.

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