Gala dinners can be one of the best ways to gain support for your organisation and cause. They usually include dinner, entertainment, dancing, raffles, and silent and live auctions. While they require a huge amount of planning, they are so effective in raising awareness, fundraising and presenting your organisation and cause in a professional light.

Here are some of our tips for hosting a successful gala dinner.

Define the Event’s Purpose

Outlining the purpose of the event and what you hope to achieve will give everyone involved a clear picture of what’s ahead and keep people focused on the desired outcomes.

Set your Budget

You should determine a budget before the planning begins. Include all possible financial considerations, such as venue costs, food and beverage, entertainment, audio visual equipment and support, advertising, and prizes and items to be auctioned. Hopefully some of these things can be donated or discounted, but it’s good to budget in for some contingencies.

Identify your Fundraising Methods

Selling tickets to the gala dinner is a great way to raise money for your cause, but that usually won’t give you the most profit, so finding other ways to fundraise is necessary.

Some of these other options could include holding a raffle, a live or silent auction, selling advertising opportunities, and selling sponsorships or corporate tables. Depending on the event you could even have games that require a ‘pay to play’.

Decide on the Venue and Theme

The environment and atmosphere of your event should be welcoming and allow people to socialise or network freely. Choose a venue which will be inviting and impressive for guests.

By selecting a theme for the event, for example ‘striving for excellence’, you can set out your vision or goal for the event. This will bring all activities together cohesively and set the tone.  A theme will also inform your decorating styling choices, entertainment, lighting and audiovisual elements, menu selection and activities. It’s important that everything flows together to create a visually stunning environment, after all, you want this to be a night to remember!

Get the right AV Technical Support

Work with a reliable, creative and experienced AV provider.  You want access to quality equipment and dedicated people to help you deliver a spectacular event. Your AV provider can provide audiovisual, innovative design and styling, support to create that magical atmosphere for your guests.

Activities and Entertainment

A successful gala dinner includes suitable and on theme entertainment and activities designed to raise money. It’s good to make sure guests have time and space to mingle, but you should also consider how you will maintain the energy of the atmosphere and the interest of guests throughout the night. A dance floor and games with small prizes are great for involvement.

Marketing and Advertising

It’s so important to put the word out about your event throughout the community. Reach out to the local newspaper, TV stations and radio stations for pre-event coverage, and use social media where appropriate. You may even be able to use these avenues for seeking sponsorships and donations.

Interested to hear more about how AVPartners can help wow your gala dinner guests? Talk to us today.

Event styling is one of the most impactful and cost-effective ways to add that wow factor to your event. At AVPartners we’ve helped create nearly every event theme or style you can think of – from the Oscars, to Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge, Masquerade and many more.

Event styling incorporates furniture, decor, centrepieces and table layout, props, audiovisual and digital elements. It takes your guests on a journey, showcasing your theme, your branding and your ideas.

You want to make sure that your event is hitting the mark and delivering your desired event message to your guests. How can you be sure that your event will do this successfully?

Begin by confirming the reason for the event, and why you are gathering together. This is the message you want to get across. Think about the power of your message and how you can convey this to your guests.

Next you will want to look at what new, fresh ideas are available for your event, to impress, inspire and connect your guests. These days, event styling and theming draws heavily on technical production with content displayed on digital screens, unique lighting and other audiovisual elements creating a dynamic, immersive experience.

By combining traditional styling with bespoke ideas, themes and modern, digital options your event can really make an impact.

This article originally appeared at Business Events News.

Remember the last time you viewed a PowerPoint presentation? Was it engaging and inspiring or did it leave you feeling bored – eyes glazed over and counting the seconds until it was over? This is known as the dreaded Death by PowerPoint.

PowerPoint can be a fantastic presentation tool, but it is only a tool. The presenter makes or breaks the presentation! There are some classic mistakes presenters make which can lead to Death by PowerPoint.

These include putting too much information on slides, using poor images and fonts and reading directly from slides instead of engaging the audience with stories and ideas.

As a presenter, there are many varied ways to add some zing to your PowerPoint presentation to help your audience stay focused and interested.

Know your message – Consider your message and the reason for your presentation. What do you hope to inform others of? What is there to gain from it, or what do you want people to do with the information you present? Remember that you know your topic inside out, but this may be the first time your audience has ever thought about this matter. Make sure your message and presentation objectives are clear.

Make a good first impression – Make sure the first slide is attention-grabbing and on topic. Your presentation needs to stand out and be different from the start to pique interest.

Leverage visuals – Use visuals that make sense for the presentation subject and that can support your points. This can include graphs, infographics and photos. Often images are more memorable and interesting so will drive audience engagement. It is important, however, not to overdo it. Unrelated images will distract and confuse your audience and gimmicky animations can become distracting and seem unprofessional.

Know that less is more – Use fewer words on your slides and use bullet points where appropriate. This will allow your audience to quickly read and digest your words which makes a bigger impact than if they have to read lines of text.

Cut the number of slides – You want the content of your presentation to support what you’re saying, not act as a script, so use fewer slides and incorporate more discussions and ideas into your presentation.

Get funny and personal – Present your information with personal stories and humour to keep people interested. Stay on topic but keep it light where possible.

Involve your audience – Keep your audience engaged by asking them questions, undertaking polls or breaking into groups for discussions.

Talk to AVPartners today about how to take your next presentation from good to great.

Tilman (Tilly) was recently appointed head rigger for AVPartners at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (PCEC).

Tilly’s sense of adventure has meant he’s had an extremely diverse and exciting career all over the world. Tilly says “experience through misadventure seems to be my tagline!”

Tilly has worked as a gold prospector, concierge, cook, room-service attendant, tent manager, warehouse manager, time-share sales associate, caterer, glassy, bartender, short filmmaker, wicker furniture salesman, house sitter, babysitter and rouse-about – and now rigger!

Most recently, Tilly worked in Exhibitions with Perth Expohire, prior to moving to AVPartners.

He is excited to take up the role after working as a casual Rigger with AVPartners at PCEC since 2014. Tilly says “PCEC is a central hub for some of the most significant events in Perth. The diversity of the people and characters you get to meet and work with is more than reason enough to keep coming back.”

Tilly loves the events industry and sees it as an interesting way to peek into the world around you – in all its diversity – from one place.

One of his favourite events to work on was CANCEC, an annual Canadian defence and business exhibition. Tilly says “I remember having to push past some high ranking military brass waiting in security checks because I had a chair to deliver. It was quite an extraordinary experience.”

“It was a lot of fun and sent me down the path I’m still on now.”

Tilly was born in Guatemala on Lago De Attitlan, Panajachel, and moved with his mother to Australia. He has three brothers dotted around the world of which he is the eldest but in his words “certainly not the wisest.” With family scattered evenly around the world, Tilly is proud to represent the clan down-under.

In his free time, Tilly enjoys cooking, filmmaking and watching a good (or cheesy) film. Some favourites include Black Dynamite, Aliens, City of God and Children of Men.

A big welcome to Tilly to the AVPartners team!

Do you want to add that something special to your next event? Gobos are one of the most striking, versatile yet affordable lighting options.

A gobo is essentially a stencil cut out of glass or metal, that is then positioned between a spotlight and the area you want lit, creating a unique projected shape. The gobo can be made to project patterns, text, logos, and other special effects, which makes them a great option for promoting brands and products.

The projected imagery can be projected onto almost any surface, such as the dance floor, the stage or a prepared backdrop – instantly decorating and lighting the surface, transforming the space and promoting your event’s message.

Using gobos can help draw attention to an area of your event, highlight your brand, for sponsor recognition or to share a specific message. For example, gobos can be used at weddings to project bride and groom’s names or alternatively just their initials onto the dance floor or behind a bridal table.

However, they are more than just a decoration or improvement to the event setting. Because of the flexibility in design and impressive visual elements, they really help to set a mood and atmosphere at your event, which gives guests an even better experience and leaves them with a lasting impression of your message.

This article originally appeared at Business Events News.

Audio is one of the most crucial and yet fragile components of an event. You’ve brought these people together to hear your message – what if they can’t? Without the right expertise, things can and do go wrong. How can you ensure that the sound at your next event has the right tone, volume and clarity?

Use the right technology

Quality audio equipment is essential to get the sound right. A good AV technician will be able to guide you on what technology will best suit your event.

For example, it is important your AV technician selects the right microphone depending on the situation. The microphones for your presenters will be different to the microphones used for the musical instruments in a live band.

The voice of a presenter can be relayed clearly with the correct microphone choice and positioning, with adjustments made to the signal to compensate for changes in the presenters voice or when different people are speaking. Everyone speaks at different volumes and clarity levels, so expert attention is needed if different people are to be using the same equipment.

You’ll also need the right loudspeakers, plus subwoofers for music, to deliver the sound to your audience, taking into account the event space, numbers of attendees, ambient noise – and a dozen other factors!

Engage the best AV technicians

A knowledgeable and experienced AV technician knows how to get the balance right to ensure sound is clear, consistent and at the right volume.

Your AV technician will make adjustments on their sound mixer to smooth out variations and distribute a more consistent level of sound from presenter to presenter, or song to song, as your event progresses. They will also tune the audio system to combat any complications in the acoustics of the event space and amplify the output signal from the presenter to the loudspeakers at the right volume for your audience. Sound reinforcement is not set-and-forget!

Do a sound check

Prior to the event, it’s crucial all presenters do a sound check. The AV technician will pre-set the calibrations for each individual presenter, ensuring that the audience experiences a smooth level of sound throughout the event. This will make all the difference in sound quality.

Match the sound to the atmosphere

At different stages throughout your event, the required type of sound will change, whether that be speaker presentations or music. Make sure your event style or theme is reflected in the sound you use, such as the genre of music chosen. For example, classical piano music would suit a sit-down gala dinner event, but isn’t so great for the dance floor.

The volume should also be suitable for the various phases of the event. For example, lower background music works at the times when you want people to talk amongst themselves, whereas a crisper, louder sound is required for a speaker’s presentation.

Choosing the right equipment, setting it up, going over every detail and operating it correctly are vital to ensure great sound at your next event. Engage a knowledgeable and experienced AV provider to gain peace of mind that the sound at your event is in good hands. Contact AVPartners today to see how we can give your next event perfect sound.

The key to a successful presentation is preparation. You can spend as much time as you like on content and organisation however if you have not spent time on preparation, you may risk falling short of the mark. A lot of time and effort goes into a presentation – creating, memorising, rehearsing and finally, delivering it. It is imperative presenters feel prepared, confident and supported before stepping out on stage.

Here are a few ways the audiovisual technician will prep your speakers before an event:

Ease their nerves

Your speaker will have rehearsed their script many times before the day, but as their presentation looms, nerves can set in. Some gentle encouragement in the lead up to and on the day can go a long way to relieving some of the pressure on them. An experienced AV technician will make sure communication lines are open and make themselves approachable.

Run through the details

It’s important your AV technician runs through some general event details about the event space, run sheet and schedule with your speaker. This will allow your speaker to know where they need to be and when. This can include where they will get ready and be given their microphone, remote mouse/laser pointer, where they will step onto the stage, where they will sit before and after their presentation, how you will cue them to begin or if their time is running out, and how to exit the stage.

Test the technology

Testing the technology for the presentation with the speaker is vital. This includes a sound and mic check, lighting, projectors and presentation if applicable. This will ensure all AV is set up correctly for each space and speaker, and should be done in advance to factor in any technical issues and ensure your speaker is comfortable with the technology.

Above all, remember a prepared speaker makes for a great presentation. If the experience is seamless, relaxed and fun for the speaker, it will be engaging, interesting and fun for the audience.

Projection mapping is transforming event styling to create some truly unique and transfixing event experiences.

The projection technology has gained prominence through the Vivid festival in Sydney where buildings are transformed into public art installations, though the process also has application on a smaller scale.

Using specialised software and high-powered computers to turn objects or structures into a display surface for projected videos, projection mapping brings objects to life and turns them into illuminated and interactive displays.

Projection mapping works by modifying – pixel by pixel – the projected video to fit the surface and space. The image will then mask and change the look of whatever you are projecting onto, making existing features “pop” or completely overlaying them to create a new, virtual object.

Projection mapping is used to add extra dimension and movement to stationary objects. The displays are commonly combined with audio to create an audiovisual narrative.

Projection mapping works on most surfaces including buildings, cars, walls, stages and furniture. At Hamilton Island we have projected onto a 3D cube suspended over the pool, created a 4m tall ‘talking’ truck (which MC’d the event!), projected onto the entire surface of a suspended sphere and turned the entire foyer balcony into a projection screen. The options are limitless!

Offering a diverse range of styling opportunities, projection mapping is a great solution for all events including trade show presentations, conferences and live concerts.

Projection mapping can offer a cost-effective and creative way to transform any event space. The visual impact of projection mapping goes beyond ordinary video projection to deliver an unforgettable experience.

This article originally appeared at Business Event News.

Rick Keane, Partner at One&Only Hayman Island with AVPartners, used to work on the island back in 2002. Rick reflects on the differences in AV then and now, and his experience of “teaching an old dog new tricks.”

“Back in 2002, the gear we used was a little different from today. Back then you had to do your maths, making sure that you didn’t have too much on the one circuit. Putting Par 56s out in the garden to highlight trees and waterfalls meant lots of cables too.”

“Now we use LEDs and rechargeable battery lights which are brilliant and can be controlled via wireless DMX. Charge them up overnight for a 5 hour dinner on the beach with no cables and no worries about finding a powerpoint.”

“I love the new advancements in lighting which mean less power usage and more control. Even I can program all the different colour schemes.”

“My junior tech is teaching me about the changes in screen projections such as the shift from 4:3 to 16:9. When I likened this to Beta vs VHS he looked confused and thought I’d had a stroke!”

Face it. You may be a fascinating presenter, but you will still most likely need slides to support your presentation. Rich content such as images, videos and charts are now the rule.

Ensuring your slides are engaging and accessible are the big challenges. We have all watched the audience nod off at the first slide or cringed at amateur efforts such as tacky slide animations.

Worst of all is when the presentation won’t load and you suddenly forget everything you have ever known about the topic on which you are, reputedly, an expert. Death by slide is a real danger on either side of the podium.

Can you preserve yourself and your audience from the twin evils of tedium or technology malfunction? The answer, as with all things, is that it depends. Your choice of platform such as PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi can make the difference.  Here’s how the three tools stack up.


Powerpoint is the most commonly-used tool. It is reliable in the sense that PowerPoint is likely to work with any equipment you may be offered. However, Powerpoint hasn’t been updated in a long time. The standard slide templates can be painfully boring. Presenters need to put extra care into creating polished and professional-looking slides.


Keynote is a Apple product, even older than PowerPoint. It is relatively easy to learn for PowerPoint users and has some advanced features that add flexibility. If the lecture room offers only a Windows machine with an older version of PowerPoint, you may then be faced with the daunting and uncertain task of converting the presentation to PowerPoint or exporting it to PDF. If you know you have a Mac available, however, it may be the best choice.


In an alternative approach, Prezi is web-hosted and built on an infinite–canvas platform. It offers some interesting potential for collaboration and the exploration of how ideas relate in a non-linear format. Prezi is accessed via the internet and hence you must have an internet connection in your presentation space.

So, how can you make the most out of your presentation?  PowerPoint is not the only choice. The best solution is to work closely with your AV rep to get advice on which tool will work best in the space to give your presentation the dazzle it deserves.