Last weekend when I was cleaning out some very old files, I came across an article that I had saved from the October, 2004 issue of Corporate & Incentive Travel. An 11 year-old article, but the message is as important today as it was then.
The message in this article was: “The more your can bring your producers into the process and let them handle all of those things that are behind the scenes, the more headaches it saves the event planner.”
This seems to be counterintuitive to planners though, as so many have their venue in place, contract signed with the traditional basics (lectern in each meeting room), overhead projector (really?), and a flip chart, before even thinking about talking to their technical team.
Then about a month prior to the conference they send out an RFP to 2 or 3 independent production companies and the in house AV company. Why do they wait so long, when they’ve been planning the conference for months. Don’t they know that working in advance with their production team in fact makes the technical arrangements an easier and more efficient process? Utilizing best practices of production planning can enable content delivery to be at its best so attendees pay attention, learn, and retain what they’ve learned. And best of all, this adds immense value to the event. Whether it’s a sales meeting, an inventive general session, an awards event, a product launch, etc., isn’t content the driving force?
Why do so many planners behave this way? I think that it is due to a false sense that bringing in your producers early on will cost more money. Most likely this is not so. There also seems to be a tradition of taking the technical production side for granted, assuming that the production team will magically be able to make everything happen the way you want it, regardless, at no extra cost.
Consider this: without the knowledge of the production folks it is quite possible that you could over-order equipment or order the wrong equipment.You could miss out some key detail entirely, only to have to scramble – and spend more – at the last minute to solve something that would otherwise have been straightforward. Planning your event and consulting with the producer can help assure you that you will not be wasting your time or money on unnecessary things, and that the story that your brand needs to tell will be told so attendees understand and remember the message.
Have a look at what we couldn’t have done without early collaboration with our technical team: