There will come a time in most peoples lives that they will have to work with a microphone. And when I say work with, I mean speak into a microphone. This can cause some serious problems for those that are shy or suffer from abject terror at the mere idea of standing before an audience of more than, say, the family pet. If you are in fact on of these people, or just someone who could use a little help making better presentations, this article should make the process easier and hopefully less painful
The first step in the process is to rehearse ahead of time whenever possible. If you’re at a wedding reception and are put on the spot, rehearsal is not an option. So just relax and think happy thoughts. Thoughts like “Hey! There’s an open bar waiting for me after I’m finished” or “I so can’t wait to get my hands on the Best Man’s throat after he’s had a few drinks.” Having said that, let’s get back to preparation. The more comfortable you are with your material, the easier it will be to incorporate the aforementioned technology.
Since I brought up the subject of technology, now is a good time for a terminology primer. When working with microphones, you will sound way cooler if you can use the correct terms when communicating with the technical folks. The most common type of microphone is of the hand held variety. This is what you hold, in your hand, when speaking. The hand held can be either wired (meaning with a cord) or wireless (using radio frequencies to transmit the sound to a receiver). So far so good? The second most used microphone is a lapel microphone, also called a lavaliere, lav, or clip-on mic. This is what you wear attached to a tie , shirt, jacket, or lapel, hence the name. This microphone will usually be small and unobtrusive. The lavaliere can also be wired or wireless. If wireless, it will be attached to a (hopefully) small body pack that holds the batteries and transmitter.
So you’ve decided to have an event, and you’re not sure whether or not you need professional assistance. A good event management company should be an asset to your event, not a liability. They will bring knowledge and experience to the table which can help you save time and money. But not all event managers are created equal. Here are a few tips to help you find the right professional.
Ask about their experience. Event planning sounds like a glamorous job, which is one reason why event planning and management companies are popping up all over the world. However, there is no licensing or education required for one to call themselves an event planner, so ask to see examples of past jobs. And if they have beautiful pictures to show you, make sure they explain what their involvement was in the event pictured. Did they actually manage the event, or were they a volunteer helping with a small portion of the event?
Ask for references and follow up with them. It’s invaluable to find out what a past client’s experience was like. Make sure that you get a list of past client references and not personal references. Also, does the company have a list of repeat clientele? Consider checking with these clients, because repeat business is a testament to the quality of their work.
Ask about the company’s relationship with venues that you are considering for your event. An experienced professional should be able to work in most environments, but it can be an added bonus if they are experienced working with a particular venue. This can help save you a lot of time and expense with labor scheduling, site visits, and any union issues that could arise.
Ask how the company will charge for their service. Is it an hourly charge or is it a percentage of the event? Are they contracting and paying the vendors or will you be responsible for payments? If the company is responsible for paying the vendors, do they have good credit terms? If they are not responsible for contracting and paying the vendors, you will need to make sure that each vendor is properly licensed and insured.
Ask if the company owns/operates their own equipment. Some event management companies are able to provide services such as audio/visual production, decor, rentals, etc. in house, which may help reduce the end price. If they do not own or operate the equipment themselves, find out who are their partners in service.
Ask about the company’s network. Do they have access to unique ideas and services for your event? Are they current on industry trends?
Ask the name of the individual on staff that will be in charge of your event. After the contract is signed, will you work with an event coordinator throughout the process? Will that individual be on site for the event? If there is an intern or assistant coordinating the details during the planning phase, how are they being supervised?
Ask if they will be responsible for assuring the load out and clean up will be completed according to the facility’s requirements. Every event has an ending, and the clean up is an important part of the production. There may be fees involved if anything is left behind, so someone needs to be in charge to be sure the job is complete.
Ask for an example of how they’ve handled an emergency. If there’s one thing all experienced event managers will agree on, it’s that things never go exactly as planned. A good event manager will be able to analyze the situation and make quick, informed decisions to keep the event on track. The ability to make good decisions is what makes a good event manager great.
Can you plan your own events? Probably so. Then why do you need the services of a professional meeting planner? You don’t. That being said, please accept my challenge:
I guarantee what you’ll find will be of interest to you every time you need to make a business decision requiring your commitment of a large block of time. You need a calculator and a pencil. Stop here and return when you’re ready to churn some numbers.
Ok, first off, take YOUR yearly gross salary, then multiply it by 30% and add the two numbers. (For example if you earn $100,000 multiply it by 30%) $30,000) then add the two numbers = $130,000)
Now, divide the total number reached above by 2000. The number you see here is YOUR approximate hourly wage ($65)
Now, this is an interesting number but the equation isn’t over yet. Part two is a bit more subjective.
- What am I presently working on?
- How much revenue do I derive yearly for my firm or organization?
- What major projects take up most of my focus?
- Am I working on a highly visible tangible project such as a new contract, the move of a building or headquarters, the purchase of another company or perhaps an IPO?
If so, ask yourself: “what is the real cost of diluting my focus on these issues?”
Now, in order to complete the equation let’s turn to your event. The one common denominator that transcends the planning of every event or meeting is time. There is of course, the time between today’s date and the actual date of your event. There is the time you must invest in order to produce a world-class event. The two are without a doubt interrelated yet very different. The primary focus of this article is on you and the amount of time you’re able to commit to the planning and execution of an event. There is no getting around it –proper planning takes time and always more than meets the eye.
My argument here, respectfully submitted for your understanding, is that more than likely you can’t afford not to use a professional planner and the numbers truly tell the story. A simplistic comparison: taking one’s clothes to the cleaners. Can I wash and iron them myself? Sure can! But the cost per shirt is nominal for professional laundering when I consider the time I’d have to invest in order to accomplish the same task myself.
Time is money. We’ve heard this over and over again throughout our careers. Why do you think corporations spend millions maintaining fleets of private aircraft? They are not executive perks; they carry busy professionals who don’t have time to waste, men and women whose contribution to the bottom line of their company far exceeds the cost of maintaining executive aircraft.
From another perspective – if you’ve ever had the opportunity to put together a toy or kitchen gadget on a holiday morning, I am sure you can relate to the following point: People who do something over and over again, do it more quickly and efficiently!
In my opinion, that is the best case for using professional planners for your event. In addition to having their ear to the ground about venues, industry issues, etc., they know what “not to do.” They know the risks involved in certain decisions and can clearly see danger well ahead of others who plan meetings from “time to time.”
Returning to my original statement, you are more than likely capable of planning your own event and most probably could do it well, but unless you do it all the time, you’re not going to have access to the information and knowledge base of someone who lives the craft professionally and in most cases, socially as well.
Using our equation model, what is the real cost of your total involvement for countless hours on end? I believe, significantly higher than of a professional planner.
Numbers do tell the story and the model I’ve suggested here today can be used in other areas of your business and personal life as well.
Copyright 2000. Avery Russell, Alexandria, VA, USA. Reproduction permitted.