Your event production team is more important than your guest speaker. There I said it. Your guest speaker is worth it, don’t get me wrong. They are going to do a terrific job, presenting their message in a way that puts every TED talk to shame. However, without your event production team, your guest speaker won’t be able to do their job.
Your event is made of many different pieces–the venue, the content, the food and the decor. Each piece should serve the overall purpose of your event. But there is one component that ties all of the other pieces together, and it is the most frequently overlooked – Production.
Production done well is invisible, but it’s the glue behind the scenes that is holding everything together. Most pieces serve a specific purpose; once they are used, they have completed their role in bringing this vision to life. When you step back and admire the work, it’s easy to overlook, but there is one piece that connects all of the others together. While we consider our position a behind-the-scenes role, production affects everything and everyone—your venue, your entire team, your guest speaker, your guests, and every other vendor.
IT’S THE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE, NOT THE HARDWARE
FILO – First In, Last Out. This is the staple phrase of the production industry. Your event production team will be the first to arrive for setup and the last to leave wrapping up the event hours after your other vendors. When you think about production, I hope what you remember is a feeling, not a bunch of black boxes. Meaning the speakers, lights, and other equipment that make up the production elements, shouldn’t become the focus but rather create the experience while disappearing from view. The entire point of production is to become invisible in pursuit of creating an atmosphere or experience. Excellent event production fades so that your message is heard. We achieve that by leveraging technology and expertise to transform all the elements of your event into one remarkable experience that impacts the stakeholders of your organization. Our team thinks about how each production element, from lights to audio to projectors, will impact the greater aesthetic. We won’t compromise on the quality of production, but there are intentional ways to accomplish both. We think about how your guests will feel in the room. But we also consider how this will translate to other areas such as the video recording of the event, which will be remembered far longer than the experience felt in the room.
Achieving that transformation isn’t easy. That’s why your event production team should be the first to arrive and the last to leave. This kind of transformation requires proactive planning and extreme attention to detail on the part of your event production team. Ideally, planning begins as soon as the event itself is scheduled. We are tuned into the schedule of your event, focused on the timing and order of setup to wrapping up long after your guests leave. Our team uses a unique template to plan for your event, start to finish. This even plans for the contingencies along the way.
KEEPERS OF THE MASTER SCHEDULE
The best steward of your event schedule is your event production team. In fact, the best advice I can give you here is to lean into your event production team as more than just the team that provides the speakers and projectors. While it is mutually beneficial, leveraging your event production team to be the leader and coordinator for the master schedule. Let them manage all of the timing that affects your other vendors from catering, florist, furniture, décor. This is the single best decision you can make, removing the burden from your already infinitely long to-do list.
Any production team worth their salt will gladly coordinate the master schedule. We like to think of this as a “one team, one dream” situation. We are all here to make this event an incredible experience for your guests.
No matter the scale of your event, consider what takes place from a production standpoint. Even if there are only a handful of speakers and microphones, make sure that the tables and chairs are not preset in the room to help you event production team organize the equipment and cases efficiently within the room. While not impossible to do, having things set out of order can add significant time to the setup process, leaving your team with little to no time for rehearsals or a buffer before your event begins.
The schedule matters. Timing matters. But think about the people. The event production team you select will also interact with your team, your guest speakers, and most importantly, your guests. Your event production team will be interacting with your team far before the event day. They will be coordinating details, transitions, presentation files, microphones, and many more details. Your event production team will be on your phone favorites as you think through every detail of your event. Your team will lean in and listen to your event production team’s knowledge on how to best plan and execute your event. They know what works well and what doesn’t. Having worked on countless events in many different contexts, your event production team has seen the effects of elements such as table placement, flow and traffic within rooms, where to best place catering, among others. They know the small details that tie the bow on top of the guest experience, and what makes things confusing, boring, or lackluster.
Your event production team represents your event as they work with guest speakers. They need to have a positive and productive attitude, competence, and provide an excellent service as your representatives. Who you’ve selected and the attitude they bring when helping a presenter pick a font or color scheme that will be most effective in their presentation means a lot of face time. Your speakers will remember how they were treated and the experience they had just as much as their interaction with your guests from the platform.
Your guests will also remember how they were treated. I remember one show where we were supporting a local music organization at a concert in a non-traditional venue, an airport hangar. There were some obvious challenges such as acoustics and getting our gear into the hanger across the runway while dodging airplanes. But, there was something that was even more challenging for the 450 concert attenders, which was locating the restrooms. Our team was setup near an exit that led the bathrooms, and, while our goal was to blend in and disappear, it was only a matter of time before someone shuffled over to ask us for directions. I couldn’t have been more proud of our team for their attitude and how quickly they became an extension of our client, offering a warm, positive, helping hand. Something as subtle as “the bathrooms were so hard to find” could have easily become the thing guests remembered most from the evening. My team could have responded very differently to such a simple request, which could have changed the ENTIRE dynamic of the evening. This seems like a small detail, but consider the impact your event production team can have on an event. You can’t control how people respond, but you can control who you choose to work with.