March 17 2021

By Warwick Merry

As an event host I always make sure to introduce myself to the AV crew. If I can, I try and get them some snacks too. Because this is the crew that makes everything look good.

Their job is to go unnoticed. To make everything look awesome and go smoothly to the extent that everyone forgets they are there. In fact, the better they do, the more forgettable they are. Dressed in black, they just blend into the background.

If someone is asking for the AV person or if the AV person is urgently needed, you know you have a problem. Even more so for virtual and hybrid events. So, let me say that AV crews, we love you. You make our events shine so all praise to you.

But there’s no room for complacency.

Now that we don’t have time or space for mistakes, instead of cruising at the desk as the speaker presents, waiting for them to say “and in conclusion”, you have to stay focussed and “On” for the entire time.

I have seen too many events where they switch from the Zoom feed back to the Studio only to have the person on Zoom say something after their presentation and it then becomes the live feed again.

That’s not ideal.

What it means for us as event organisers is we will typically have our preferred AV individual. Now that individual may work for an AV company but we will align with them because they know our event. They know what we like. They know how we do things and they know what we expect.

In the same way that bands will happily use whatever sound gear has been brought in for the event, they ALWAYS bring their own AV guru and lighting expert. We are heading the same way.

An issue we face is that often venues have their own sound gear and sound team and we will be obliged to use them. It can be worth the investment to have your preferred AV manager and get them involved from the beginning. That way, they run the AV for your event and make it look magical, all while using the venue people and equipment as contracted.

Now more than ever, your AV will make or break your event – particularly if it has an online element. So let’s change our perspective. AV is no longer an expense – it is an INVESTMENT in a great event.

This means that we will be expecting a return on our investment and the AV crew need to provide that.

How is your relationship with your AV team?

When do you get them involved with your events?

How do you make sure there are no surprises for you, them or your delegates?

The AV will make or break your event. Make sure you invest wisely and have them involved every step of the way. They are the unsung heroes of our events and we need to make sure they have everything they need to take our events to the next level.

Warwick Merry CSP, CVP is a Certified Speaking Professional, Dual Certified Virtual Presenter and Past National President of Professional Speakers Australia. He hosts and produces online events. Discover more at WarwickMerry.com