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AV On the Road

By on March 26, 2014

Executing the AV for a road show takes careful planning, excellent communication and a balancing act. There are many issues to consider and several ways to deal with them, depending on the experience and comfort level of the event planner.

The first decision is about who will help to plan and organize the road show. If the organization’s event planner does not have extensive experience with road shows, he or she is well advised to solicit help from their trusted AV provider. Even if the show does not include the AV contacts location, they are a valuable resource.

The Message is the Medium

Be clear about the message being delivered. Is this a good news message, a bad news message or good information?  Is it a casual breakfast meeting, a training luncheon or a gala event? The staging of the show should match the message. This matching of the AV system to the message can include decisions on whether to use front projection (with dress kits or a simple tripod) or rear projections screens, lighting, walk-in music, podium style and a host of other options.

Venue Size and Obstacles

The AV system has to match the room size. This goes for the number of people attending the presentation. If one location expects 400 attendees and another location expects 45 attendees, it is reasonable that the AV system should reflect these differences. A standard room staging plan is great, but one-size does not always fit all.

Diagrams of a room can be a great help when considering booking it for a show, and photos of the room are invaluable in seeing objects that are not listed on the room layout diagrams. I remember setting up the AV for a presentation from a former Prime Minister. We were told to set up exactly as diagrammed. The event planner walked into the room two hours before the doors opened and was surprised that the ballroom chandelier blocked the view of the rear screen and even the view of the Prime Minister at the podium. The venue did not want it removed, but there was no choice. We took apart the chandelier block by block and thankfully re-installed it perfectly! Photos are also great at identifying potential issues such as windows and bulkheads.

Who is the Audience?

The room staging should also match the audience. Is this an invite only event, a captive internal audience, or is it open to the general public?

Who is Delivering the Message?

Will the same individuals be delivering the same presentation at all locations? If the presentations entail the same people, who are experienced in public speaking -delivering the identical presentation at each stop, they can most likely use concise notes to help them deliver the presentation. If some of the individuals change and the presentation is highly scripted, a teleprompter should be considered. Speaker comfort monitors (a video monitor at the foot of the stage in front of the podium) are often used so that the presenter can see displayed slides without having to turn around. This enables them to maintain eye contact with the audience.


As a show travels, the content of the show can evolve and sometimes the AV needs to evolve as well. Maybe the script needs to change as a result of audience feedback or new information. A system must be in place to manage change. If the decision maker travels with the show, then making changes is straightforward. If the decision maker is not on the road with the show, a process needs to be in place. This can be as simple as having the lead technician at each show telephone or email a report immediately after the show.

Ralph Niekamp, Inland AV Saskatoon General Manager addresses audiovisual considerations important to event planners. As a branch manager, Ralph brings a unique perspective, as he is involved in permanent systems design, integration, and AV rentals applications.


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