Tag Archives: event planning team

Best Practices for Working with your ETM Partner

What is the best way to maximize your relationship with your Event Technology Management partner?  The most important thing to do is engage your ETM partner as early as possible in your planning process.  Haven’t chosen a venue yet?  Why not invite your ETM partner along on your site visits?  Use their knowledge and expertise to figure out which venue and which room will work best for the kind of technology you want, or need, to use.  Room shape, size, and ceiling heights all play a major role in the design of a stage and what event technology (audio, video, and lighting) can be utilized.

Another great way to best use your ETM partner is to rely on them to figure out what technology is needed… after all it should be what they are experts in.   By sharing with them a clear understanding of the purpose of the event, the desired audience response, and the allocated budget, they will be able to offer a practical, viable, and affordable solution.  For example, perhaps the best way to light the stage is to rig a truss in the ceiling, but your budget doesn’t allow for such an expense.  Your ETM partner can figure out a way to do a ground supported light system that is more affordable.  However, be sure they tell you what you are losing, or what the downsides to that alternative are, so you can decide if it is worth the cost savings. That, once again, speaks to the importance of open and honest communication.

Probably the hardest “best practice” when working with your event technology management team is to trust them.  There is a reason you chose to work with them, so utlize their expertise and trust that they will give you the best show you can have with the money you have to spend.  They should be spending your money as if it were their own… not just adding in technology because it fits the budget, but using what is necessary and what makes sense, and possible saving you some money in the end.

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It’s time we start working together!

Client ABC wants to hire an event technology partner for their general session.  They feel that there is no need for more than 4 technicians in the room during the running of the event, and they simply will not pay for more than four techs.

Here is what the general session consists of: Audio support for 300 people, with up to 8 presenters on stage at a time (that’s at least 8 wireless microphones to manage); two screen show with multiple video rolls; basic stage wash with back lighting and some up lighting around the room for decor.  Sounds simple enough and could be operated with 4 techs… except there are also three cameras for IMAG (image magnification) and recording.  Well, unless the cameras are not moving (which will make for a unique shoot), or they are remote controlled (which they are not), three of our four techs will be tied up.  That leaves one tech to run audio, video, and lighting.  Is that possible? Of course it is possible.  Is it likely to be a smooth running, successful event?  Doubtful.

We would like to point out, before we get an influx of angry comments from event planners, that this scenario could easily be flipped, where the event technology company tries to dictate to the client what they have to have in the room from a technology and labor perspective, regardless of what they want or what they can afford.  Just because you can do something, or because it is the best way to do it, doesn’t mean you have to.  Is it nice to fly the technology from the ceiling?  Yes. Is it always necessary or worth the extra expense? No. There are many ways to effectively get your messaging across to your audience using technology. The trick is to work as a team to figure out what equipment and labor meets those needs as well as the needs of the budget. Sometimes concessions and/or compromises will have to be made on both sides, but that is why it’s called a collaboration and what makes it a true partnership.

This is why we have spent years perfecting what we call The Advanced Way. The Advanced Way is a philosophy of doing business that permeates throughout our company.  It is that philosophy that sets the stage for great collaborations and that allows us to be a trusted resource for our clients.

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Modify & Adjust – How Good Are Your Partners?

The secret to any successful event, from any perspective, is the ability to modify and adjust.  In every aspect of planning and executing an event, there are bound to be unexpected challenges and changes.  The ability of your team of trusted partners to modify and adjust quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively is what will be the defining note of your symphony.

Your attendance numbers spike a few days out, can the venue you’ve chosen handle the change? There are issues with shipments and the lobster tails won’t make it.  Does  the caterer you’ve chosen to partner with have solutions to ensure your guests, who have paid $250 for their ticket, will still be impressed and pleased with their meal?  The hotel books one of the salons of your ballroom for an evening event, causing an air wall to have to be closed, which was not part of the plan when your event technology management partner installed their truss grid and rigged all of their equipment in the room.  Are you confident that the partner you have chosen to work with has the ability to modify and adjust and find a viable, cost effective solution so that everyone is happy?

Keep an eye out for the Advanced Staging Productions newsletter in October, which will give you a real world example of how we had to modify and adjust to an air wall issue after finalizing our room set-up, complete with pixel mapping.  If you are not currently receiving our newsletter, and would like to, please email Kim Pagliaro-Bussard at KimPB@AdvancedStaging.com.

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Winter Is no Match For The Advanced Way

We began the New Year jumping into our normal routine of national sales meetings in the various resort destinations, which our staff were even more eager to do given all the snow storms.  Thanks to our planning processes, we never had to miss a beat because of something Mother Nature had to throw at us.  We can attribute that to our detailed and thorough planning, which we see as a key element to true even technology management.  A delayed equipment delivery or a delayed flight could mean the event ends before it even begins.  That is why during the winter season, we pay close attention to the weather and plan our shipping and receiving accordingly.  On a couple of occasions, we flew crew members in days earlier than needed to insure that they would be ready to load in as scheduled. 
However, let’s say for argument’s sake, a truck did arrive half a day late for an event load in.  What would your technology partner do?  How would they be able to get the show up on time?  If your partner is doing things The Advanced Way, they would be able to rely on their local partners that they trust and work with often to assist with necessary elements to get the ball rolling.  Once their truck arrives, what does it look like?  Is it a hodgepodge of cases that aren’t labelled or loaded properly for easy access?  If things are being done The Advanced Way, the truck is packed for easy offloading and the cases are all clearly marked with their contents and the staff knows exactly where in the ballroom they need to go.  Once opened, all the cases are neatly packed for quick setup.  Organization is imperative to a smooth, painless load in and set up of a show.  It can mean the difference between the show being successful or not.
All of this starts back at the office when the event starts to be formed.  The organization and detailed planning begin as soon as the equipment is entered into a quote and/or the drawing of the room begins to take shape.  This, along with solid, consistent communication with the various team members, the client, venue, and other vendors is what separates run of the mill AV companies from true event technology management companies.  Is your current partner doing things The Advanced Way?  Why not?

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The Key To Effective Event Planning: Communication

An event is only as successful as the team who puts it together. communication-resized-600Teamwork is an integral part of planning an event, and the biggest success factor of effective teamwork: communication.

Event planning teams usually consist of large numbers of people. There are many tasks to be done before, during and after the event, and each task requires skilled professionals. The event planner is responsible for keeping all team members in check. How do you do this effectively? Grab a megaphone and shout directions? That is a definite possibility, but for the stunning event you have in mind, team communication needs to be much more effective than bossing around through a bullhorn.

To ensure the best possible outcome for your event, communication with your event planning team should follow a couple of guidelines:

1. Plan Ahead

Most failures during the execution of an event trace back to the planning stages. When your team knows exactly what to do before they do it, the time you save is tremendous. Communicate to all team members important times and dates and any changes in them. Changes in the event schedule and venue access times affect the entire rehearsal schedule, so be sure to keep everyone in the loop. Along with being highly professional, this is also simply common courtesy. You don’t want your AV crew loading up all that heavy equipment only to find the venue doors locked.

Pre-event huddles: This is a great way for you and your event technology team to discuss progress, any changes or concerns either of you may have. Consider having these huddles at the beginning of each engagement so you are both consistently on the same page.

2. Establish Chain of Command

Every team needs a hierarchy. Establish which team members make which decisions regarding which tasks. Establish to whom certain questions should be directed. The client shouldn’t be asking the technology team about the planning progress, they should be asking the event planner. Once the event planner has established direct communication with the client, the Project Manager should be informed of any changes and then discuss them with the crew.

3. On-site Communication

Possibly more stressful than planning the event is executing it. There are certain mishaps and malfunctions that happen during an event, things that are simply out of your control. For example, you don’t plan for a fuse to blow, but it most certainly could. To ensure quick recovery from any glitches, agree on a crew communication system for the running of the event, like cell-phones or walkie-talkies.

From planning to execution, you see how communication plays a key role in events. Communicate early, communicate often and communicate to the right people. If you follow these simple guidelines, your event planning and event execution is sure to flow seamlessly.

Want to learn more about effective communication with your event planning team? Contact the event technology management experts at Advanced Staging Productions at 866-431-8202 and open the door to event planning success.

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