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Virtual and Hybrid Events

5 Ways Forever-Changed AV Makes Meeting Planners Shine

Mark Miller

President, Rental & Staging Network

Meeting planners need a trusted AV partner when it comes to the rapidly changing technology and evolving demands for events.

The good news is that help is out there.

More star power

Want an A-lister for your next keynote presenter, but the price tag is bigger than the name? Before the pandemic, you might have had to pay an influencer for two days plus food and lodging.

Eric Newkirk, who’s VP of design and creative at CEAVCO Audio Visual in Denver, says meeting planners today can save up to 50 percent by leveraging technology. He offers planners several options, including a high-quality video feed over a laptop or cellphone so they can easily connect with keynotes anywhere, which means they only have to pay the speaker for an hour or two. With that savings, why not get a higher-profile keynote and attract more attendees?

More control 

With uncertainty at an all-time high during the pandemic, a little more control seems to be on every meeting planner’s list. AVT Productions president Rick L’Heureux says his technical production company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is delivering a record number of pre-recorded content for upcoming events. 

Pre-recorded content bypasses the regular worries about low quality content and suspect Wi-Fi connectivity. It also allows you to tell a better story. One of AVT’s clients conducts a quarterly three-hour event where the executive leadership team delivers a live presentation and Q&A, while pre-recorded segments are inserted between to give the audience a better experience. The event is broadcast globally with seamless execution.

More engagement 

Too many times, attendees at live events become lulled into being passive spectators. But “one-way street” events have gone bye-bye, according to Steve Wildemann, president of Advanced Staging Productions in West Chester, Penn. His company uses different online platforms and streaming methods that enable attendees to become part of the event. 

With new tech, they can proactively engage and interact with the presenters, the content and their fellow attendees in a systematic and intentional way. Today’s AV partner, which plays a larger role in events, should design the show flow along with the content and pull it all together.

More options

As event planners return to events amid the pandemic, change will remain a constant — Plan B has become the new Plan A. Giving presenters options for on-site and remote access is an important part of today’s contingency checklist, says Donald Guzauckas Jr., vice president at HB Live in North Haven, Connecticut. 

The AV company may ship higher quality equipment to the presenter or send a crew for a professional setup to provide last-minute remote capabilities. To energize the audience, they’ll use interactive tools (i.e., chat, promote-to-panelist) to create buzz among attendees, and a “Fan Wall” of videos to bring the whole experience together for the presenters on stage.

More outcomes 

Before the pandemic, in-person events limited the number of people who could participate. Thanks to advancing technology, hybrid events can now double an event’s participation and increase fundraising outcomes by as much as 50 percent, according to Brad Poarch, who is CEO of Cory’s Audio Visual in Oklahoma City. 

To make the audience at home feel just as special as the ones in the room, Cory’s adds a separate master of ceremony who talks to the remote attendees, giving them an extra element to keep them engaged. While the attendees at home watch the presenter in the room, this knowledgeable, friendly person gets results by working the chat.

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