When it’s time to select your venue, a site visit is one of the most critical steps. Not only do you get to physically step in your space and imagine your event coming to life, it’s a chance to ask the most important questions with your potential venue team.

Unfortunately, so many of us are busy with the details of the space contracts and food and beverage minimums, that our time with AV providers is often cut short. On your next site visit, be sure to squeeze in some time with your AV partner and ask these questions to ensure a successful event.

What would you recommend to make a greater impact with my budget?

If you only ask one question, this is it.  As planners, of course we have ideas right out the gate with an inspiration board – but no one knows the space better than an on-site event experience team. During your site visit, discuss your vision and ask what they would do to make it work within your plan and budget.

Because they have worked so many events within the very space you’re standing in, they can take the groundwork of your initial plan and elevate it – whether it’s rigging screens differently for new vantage points or trying new seating levels. This discussion can change the whole direction of your event and catapult it to new heights.

What other services do you offer?

These days, AV companies do so much more than just audio-visual. With teleconferencing, content design, and event internet, the same company will likely be able to provide you with almost everything you need for your event. So, before you start the taxing process of looking around for extra technology quotes, be sure to explore the opportunity of leveraging your in-house partner.

Are there any exciting new technologies I can employ?

It’s the old adage of “if you don’t ask, you don’t know.” Technology changes rapidly, and there may be something new on the horizon offered by your event partner. Maybe it’s a new mobile engagement app that could be a great way to show meeting value to your stakeholders. Your provider will be eager to talk to you about everything they have – you just have to ask!

Who will be my point of contact, and how hands-on will they be?

Don’t wait until you’ve already signed a contract to ask this question (or worse, until there’s a day-of crisis). Ask up-front how big their team is, and who will handle which parts of your meeting. It’s also a good idea to find out if the entire team will be on-site, or if there is an off-site team (for example, in the case of internet), so you know exactly what you’re dealing with going into your meeting and who’s on first.

What information do you need from me?

Communication is a two-way street, and your event partner may have some questions for you as well that will spark some ideas. Be sure to open up the conversation and make sure they have a full understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish up-front to avoid complications later on.

Takeaways

Arming yourself with these questions for your event partner during your site visit can instill confidence in your decision with venue selection, and ensure a seamless event from the start with a team that understands your goals.

When we first become meeting planners, we quickly realize that there’s a whole new world of terminology to familiarize ourselves with. From contract language and event orders to taxes and food and beverage minimums, the knowledge we have to accumulate – at a fast pace, and on the job – is simply overwhelming.

Today, I’m here to break down the most common AV terms you’ll run into throughout your career in a way that makes sense, and point out how these solutions can be used to help bring your vision to life.

video mapping tilesVideo Mapping – One of the quickest ways you can transform the look of any space. Sometimes referred to as “projection mapping,” video mapping is the projection of images (or videos) onto a flat or 3D surface or object. There are so many possibilities that video mapping deserves its own blog post, but here are two: backdrops for presentations that you can easily switch out between sessions, and artwork projected on the outside of a building for a unique arrival experience.

chime event appBandwidth – The maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection or the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. With the right amount of bandwidth your event can do incredible things – like power a global webcast or have your entire audience engaged in presentations via a mobile app like Chime. For more on bandwidth and knowing how much to buy for your event, check out our full post on event Wi-Fi.

gobo event lightingGobo – One of the most common lighting tools with one of the most indistinguishable names. Essentially, a gobo is a stencil that goes in front of your lighting to project an image or a pattern on a surface. Commonly used in weddings to temporarily highlight the couple’s initials on the dance floor, there are tons of ways to use gobos no matter what type of event you’re planning. Think brand launch parties with the company logo and color palette, or a celestial-themed gala with constellations on the ceiling and stars on the wall.

Truss – Structures that allow lighting, video, audio, or any other staging equipment to be hung. Basically, a truss is what makes it all happen! Your AV expert will often discuss room design, so it’s important to understand the basics of how a truss will impact the setup. If you have a larger meeting, a truss is needed to flow screens and speakers throughout the conference center to make sure everyone can see and hear the action on stage.

throw distance projectorThrow Distance – The appropriate distance between the screen and the projector for images to show up correctly. When something moves fast, we usually say it’s “faster than the speed of light.” But it doesn’t always move as far as we want it to move. Lenses in projectors can only push out an image so far before the image starts to get stretched, blurry, etc. So, when you hear the term “throw distance” come up from your AV provider, don’t panic -they’ll handle the technical part of the setup. You can help get the best experience for your attendees by providing high resolution content ahead of time, or work with your AV provider to create new content for your event.

Takeaways

Remember: while understanding AV solutions and equipment is helpful and can save you from last minute panic, the real secret behind any successful event isn’t memorizing a dictionary of terms. As long as you work on developing a relationship with your Director of Event Technology – or someone on your AV team – you’ll have a trusted individual in your corner from start to finish. They’ll not only know these terms (and so many more!), but they’ll understand your goals and help you achieve them.