“EG Tips” – 5 Essential Audio Visual (AV) Questions Event Planners Forget to Ask

“EG Tips” – 5 Essential Audio Visual (AV) Questions Event Planners Forget to Ask

Event planners are the types of people who like to have their hands in several proverbial pots. To be a successful event planner, you also have to be a good marketer, negotiator, and leader.

In addition, event managers often have to make soirees into fields like design, catering and AV. The field of audiovisual technology especially, is a crucial part of any and every event, and is often a gap in the knowledgebase of aspiring and novice planners. Below are 5 questions Event Planners didn’t even know to ask an AV provider:

  1. Is There Anything misleading in My Venue Contract?

    Check your contract (with an AV professional if possible) before signing. In order to better liaise with your venue, be sure you know what comes standard. It is easy to take things for granted (in my case, it was assuming our venue would be providing power). Some venues place restrictions or penalties on the client for using an AV specialist that is not in house. The best time to know this, is up front.

  2. What Can I Get for the Money?

    There is nothing wrong with having an honest conversation about budget at the outset. Clearly express what your budget is and what you expect from your event (do you need it to be sustainable? Will there be live streaming? etc.). Be sure to also go over what equipment you will need (how many mics and in what quantities, soundboards, switchers, projectors etc.).
    Also, if you plan to do a run through – how much and how far in advance you will need to rehearse certainly affects AV and thus, price. Being honest about your budget will make it so that you do not waste time with a company that cannot accommodate your needs. Be sure that you have a real grasp of billing before you begin.

  3. Can You Tour the Venue With Me?

    Event planners all know the value of a good venue walkthrough. However, it can be just as important that you tour the venue with your AV provider whenever possible. Having an AV specialist walk through your venue with you can clue you in to elements that may not have made it onto your checklist like ceiling height & other architectural elements (which will determine equipment). Your AV provider will also be checking for structures that will allow for ease and efficiency of load in, storage & security issues, HVAC capabilities and more.

  1. What Information Do You Need to Get Your Job Done?

    Discuss the AV team’s need for bandwidth, adequate power, and room access. Make sure you know how much time they will need for set up and teardown. How many presenters/speakers will you have? What kind of content will they be disseminating to your audience & via what mediums? What are the preferences of the speakers in terms of software, hardware etc. What kinds of microphones, and in what quantities will you need? Your AV specialist needs to know all of this information in order to set you up with the proper audiovisual technology to make your event run seamlessly.

  2. Who’s On the Team, & What Do They Do?

    All audiovisual teams were not created equal. Knowing who is on your AV team, can clue you in to how extensive the company’s services are. In addition, having a clear idea of who is point person for various aspects of your event can make it so that tiny details like who operates the presentation (the presenter or someone from the sound desk?) and via what medium, don’t fall through the cracks.

In Conclusion

Getting the most out of your AV specialist is a matter of asking the right questions. Novice planners and event veterans alike have a million and one tiny details on their plates. Never be afraid or unwilling to let your audiovisual provider take a few of those details off of your hands by keeping them in the loop from the very start.

Going over items like budget, and contract issues before you choose an AV provider will help to ensure that you don’t waste your time. Once you have chosen an AV specialist, toured your venue with them, asked about their needs, and enquired about the team, you will have a better grasp on your AV providers’ ability to accommodate you.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 5 Negotiation Mistakes Every Event Planner Should Avoid

“EG Tips” – 5 Negotiation Mistakes Every Event Planner Should Avoid

Negotiation is a big part of the job when it comes to being an event planner. From negotiating with vendors and venues, to clients and even employers, the negotiation never seems to end. Below are five common mistakes of new event managers, along with ways you can avoid them during your next big negotiation.
  1. Lacking Confidence

    Negotiations can be intimidating. When you first start out as a planner, these tough conversations might be something you want to avoid. But over time, through practice and experience, you develop the skills and confidence to approach the negotiations in the proper way.

    When you begin negotiations, go in with a sense of confidence and prove that your ideas and needs are valid. By showing a sense of knowhow and holding a firm stance, you are much more likely to get what you want. Coming to a mutually beneficial agreement or compromise is always a positive, but be sure to stand your ground during tough negotiations.

  2. Not Asking For Enough

    It is simply amazing what you can negotiate for. I have used my negotiation skills for everything from professional contracts, to getting an extra-special deal on my yoga membership.
    Oftentimes, items that may seem off the table or out of reach, can still be acquired by using the power of negotiation. It is good to ask for more than what you want or need, in order to meet in the middle with the other party.

    Many planners shy away from this to avoid sounding selfish or needy, but professionals in our industry expect you to come in with strong negotiations. Who knows, you may just get a better deal than you had originally planned for!

    These tough conversations can bode very well for your event budget and the only way to find out what you can gain is by asking and negotiating for more.

  3. Taking Things Personally

    Often times the negotiation process can become a bit awkward or challenging, but you should never take it personally. Instead seek to understand the other party’s point of view. If someone is under estimating your skills, try to see things from their perspective and focus on the reasoning behind their behavior or ideas.
    Approaching negotiations from a business mindset and not a personal one, will go a long way in your discussions and ultimately your agreements. Many planners see their events as an extension of themselves and, while it is good to show ownership, you want to leave these emotions behind when it comes to negotiations.

  1. Losing Your Cool

    The easiest way to lose out on a deal or end a negotiation is by getting angry or upset. No one enjoys working with someone who has lost control of their emotions. This behavior will never lead to any type of successful compromise. “You should always maintain respect for the other party and keep your focus on finding a solution.”

    Keep your head on straight and maintain a calm and cool demeanor. Nice people are much easier to work with and clients enjoy negotiating with patient and understanding individuals. State your needs and negotiation points in a direct, but professional manner. This will always win out over being pushy and difficult.

  2. No Prior Relationship
    As much as we talk about removing the personal side from negotiations, developing quality relationships play a major role in how deals are done. People like to work with real, honest, hardworking individuals. The only true way to prove yourself to a client or vendor is by establishing a quality relationship early on.
    “always take the time to get to know the vendors and venues you are negotiating with. Learn their needs and see their perspective, so you can use that knowledge to your advantage”.
    Do the research, work hard to network in your community and utilize these relationships in a smart way. By putting in the work early on, you will build many connections with vendors, clients or potential employers that you might one day be negotiating with. When that time comes, these individuals will be much more willing to work with you and perhaps bend a little more during the tough conversations.

In Conclusion

Negotiation is a must-have skill for planners on all levels. Oftentimes, simply going for what you want and respecting the other party will lead to success. Whether you’re negotiating a contract, your salary or even your day-to-day expenses, you can learn from the 5 mistakes above. Once you know how to navigate negotiations, the process can become a more enjoyable challenge that you look forward to in your planning process.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 5 Insights from 20 Years of Dumpster Diving at Events

“EG Tips” – 5 Insights from 20 Years of Dumpster Diving at Events

If you’ve ever watched an episode of CSI, you know you can learn a lot by going through the trash. Event waste included!

First, What is an Event Waste Audit?

Most people are familiar with financial audits. Well, waste audits are similar, except instead of analyzing “the books” you analyze materials that are being thrown away at your event, and how they are being handled. The purpose of the process may be to experience some of the benefits below.

  1. Avoid Unnecessary Hauler Costs and Venue Fees

    The economic model for paying for event waste varies. Sometimes fees are hidden in facility rental costs. Other times they are charged outright based on the amount of waste generated. In some cases you may be charged different fees for different kinds of materials based on if they are landfill, recycling or compost. And some kinds of waste, like cardboard and metal, may even generate rebates and revenue for venues! Data from a waste audit, combined with an understanding of the economic model for waste management at your venue, may help avoid costs.

  2. Identify Over-Ordering to Curb Expenses

    Waste auditing can reveal excess materials that are being disposed of. This is particularly helpful for events that have food service, or are giving away branded or printed items. Even if you can’t do a full-scale waste audit, walking the show floor on move-out and peeking into waste bins is a great way to get a sense of what is left over, and if it could be eliminated or recovered. A particular thing to watch for is excess print collateral.

  3. Expose Design Flaws that Could Be Improved

    Waste gurus have said that landfills are not a waste problem. They’re a design problem. Meaning, if we designed things with their full life-cycle in mind, we’d be better able to keep landfills from filling up, and avoid wasting money on things like packaging. One good example of this issue in the event industry relates to flooring. Think about all the carpet that gets laid for a tradeshow. Now think about whether you want your booth to be a cubic design, or something that is more curved and organic.

    While it might look nice to have a wavy ribbon of carpet flowing through your booth, the trimming necessary to create the effect has a trickle-down effect in terms of waste. Small, curved pieces of carpet have little reuse potential and low to no recycling value. At four pounds per square yard, seemingly small pieces of carpet trim that accumulate in event dumpsters can start to add up to an increase in disposal costs. Considering the potential for manufacturing and set up waste at the outset of the event (or exhibit) design process can stop these problems before they start.

  1. Reduce Risks to Participants, Sponsors and the Event Brand

    As event managers, taking care of our participants, sponsors and event brand is always top of mind. Yet experience in auditing events shows we don’t always extend our duty of care to being mindful of what is being thrown out and whose name is on it. And what it might mean if information about excessively wasteful practices were to be shared publically.

    Waste auditing can help inoculate against these kind of brand risks, by uncovering issues, such as disposal of confidential or private attendee information (registration list and credentials). Or excessive amounts of branded items being sent to landfill that may have reuse potential. Going further: catching wasteful giveaways by exhibitors and providing sensitive feedback about waste-wise practices that reduce costs and protect brand can help to strengthen sponsor relationships.

  2. Discover Sustainability Opportunities to Create a Greener Event Experience

    Lastly, but perhaps most importantly: waste audits help earn good planetary karma. Quite simply, they show you specific, practical ways to reduce waste, and keep more things from going to landfill, both of which ensure we have a cleaner, healthier environment, longer. They are an ideal first step in designing a waste recovery program that fits for your event, based on what kind of discards you have, and how involved you want attendees and sponsors to be. They also give you data, which can be used to share factual information with your event participants about how you are reducing negative event impacts, earning goodwill.

In Conclusion

Sometimes the best way to fix the plumbing is to look at what’s coming out the bottom of the pipe. Such is the case with event waste, where audits and adventurous dumpster divers can shine a light on inefficient and costly issues that impact your event and the planet.

(Social Coup LLC)