Event Production: Setting the perfect stage.
Yesterday I had lunch with a dear client who is in the midst of producing the big, annual fundraising event for their non-profit. They have a lot riding on the success of the event because it generates a healthy percentage of revenue that's used to support their programs in the community. During the course of conversation, she related that last year there were issues with the A/V during the event. So I asked her to tell me exactly what the issue was and she said it was feedback when they started the program. That's it?...Yes, she said. Well, that's easily resolved and it led me to ask more questions in rapid succession:
Did you build time into the event setup to test lighting and sound?
Did you do a stage rehearsal?
Did you have a professionally written script to work from?
Did you test the lighting at the podium to make sure anyone speaking would be able to see what they're reading?
Did you allot time for any speakers in the program to come into the event space early and get comfortable with their surroundings and practice on stage with the microphone if they wanted to?
What type of presentation was on the screens behind the stage? Was it sleek and clean and easy to read?
Was everyone in the room able to clearly see the stage?
Did you have more than 200 guests? If yes, did anyone suggest you bring in IMAG?
Was there uplighting set on the stage to ensure the speakers were visible for the entire audience without shadows?
Was anyone from your staff or planning committee responsible for collaborating with the A/V team, even sitting with them in the A/V hutch when the program started to keep the flow going?
What happens on stage is the heart of an event and it's LIVE. You don't get a do-over. The stage is where the most important messages are communicated to tug at the guest's hearts, where an organization recognizes superstars and gives out awards for contributions and achievements and videos are show to hammer home the purpose of the organization and its mission. You owe it to the audience to make sure what they experience the moment they walk into the event space has been thought out with only one goal in mind: Make the experience so tremendous, every guest will talk about the event positively and keep coming back year after year! As my client and I continued talking, with my questions coming faster than she could answer, her eyes got bigger and she understood that they'd not been investing enough time with what will happen DURING the event. So much of the focus goes into everything that LEADS UP TO the event: The marketing, procuring sponsors, selling tickets, composing a silent auction and getting volunteers to be onsite for the event to help with logistics and registration.
Whether you're tasked to plan events for your company or serve on planning committees in your community, pay close attention to the staging phase of planning. While all the other "stuff" that goes into planning is fun, exciting, and at times even glamorous, it's all for naught if the whole thing falls apart because of poor staging.
And of course, you can always engage my services to assist in helping you have the BEST EVENT you've ever had. That's a promise from me.