Get the small things right to make your corporate event a big success

Timing and energy can make or break a corporate event.

“Everything matters,” says Matt Radicelli, founder and CEO of Rock The House Audio Visual. “The audio, video, lighting cues, color palette, music, every detail is noticed by attendees, making them all important to the event’s success.”

Events such as kickoff and annual meetings, trade shows, conventions, seminars, even galas and fundraisers might not all incorporate every production element, but moving the event through its stages without disruption means the difference between average and excellent.

“An event is the vessel used to deliver a brand message,” he says. “It must keep people’s attention. A quality production can do that. Otherwise, attendees leave thinking they wasted their time.”

Smart Business spoke with Radicelli about what it takes to put on a top-notch event.

What production elements have become more common at corporate events?

Corporate event productions recently have taken a more relaxed, fun approach. There are more musical or video introductions, and there’s an emphasis on interactive engagement through technology, such as smartphone apps that allow people to instantly give feedback.

Events have bounced back from the years during the recession that saw pared down presentations. Now people are chasing bigger and better, more fun, and more excitement and engagement. And they’re seeing that it’s not necessary to spend big money to achieve that.

Regardless of its size or budget, an event can be great just by ensuring the audio and video cues are right on, that the content is quality and that the event structure, including breaks, are intelligently planned. There are, however, popular flourishes, such as video bumpers with 3-D graphics and celebrity interludes that show up more.

How important is timing and energy to a corporate event?

The timing and energy of an event are critical to its success. Properly planned events with great timing can do well despite having a small budget.

It’s important that the event starts on time, as should all other aspects of the event. For instance, when the speaker introduces a video, it needs to start on cue, at the appropriate volume level, and in coordination with the lights dimming. Otherwise, there are awkward moments that prevent attendees from becoming immersed.

Bad timing elicits unwelcomed emotional responses, giving attendees the sense that things aren’t going well. That can throw the energy of the whole event off, which likely means the brand and message are negatively affected. Attendees’ level of engagement suffers because they’ve been distracted by poor production.

What common mistakes do companies make in the planning stage that can hurt an event?

Most common is that the agenda and program are not being properly scripted, which throws off the timing — some portions run long, requiring that other portions are cut short to compensate. Script or plan out the agenda to cover everything that will happen from who talks, how long, the type of microphone they’ll use and more. This keeps everyone on the same page.

Another common mistake is not giving enough time for the setup of the event. Typically setup should be done the day or night before the event. Trying to save money by cramming setup into the few hours before start time rarely has good results.

How can companies ensure their corporate events are well-produced?

Take notes at events and use those notes when talking with your production partner to convey the elements that worked and what didn’t. Talk with people who host events and pick their brain to learn their lessons. And trust the professionals hired for the job. Give opinions, talk about goals and give feedback during pre-planning conversations and then let them do their job.

A good production partner can apply its knowledge to make the program more palatable for attendees. From parking considerations that factor in traffic patterns to ensuring power is available to charge attendees’ myriad devices, it’s important that every detail is considered so guests’ needs and comfort are accounted for.

Insights Entertainment Services is brought to you by Rock The House