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How to hold an engaging panel discussion at your next event

A panel discussion is a great way to bring together influential speakers at an event to offer their advice, stories, and expertise to the event attendees. The audience is given a chance to ask thought-provoking questions and get different perspectives in real time. Panel discussions are a great inclusion to many events, however they do require a bit of planning to ensure success.

Here’s what you need to know to hold an engaging panel discussion at your next event:

Mix up your panelists

To ensure you have adequate diversity in your panel, make sure to include people with various opinions, backgrounds, industries, specialisations, ages, and experiences. This will mean your audience can benefit from a range of knowledge, and it also means your panelists won’t be competing with one another.

Choose an engaging moderator

A moderator is an important part of a panel discussion. They will introduce each speaker, ask questions and direct attention to certain people or topics. The moderator keeps the discussion on track and flowing, so it’s best to choose wisely. Ideally you want someone who can get the most out of the panelists while having a little fun with the audience.

Get prepared

It’s a good idea to prepare early and choose panel questions well ahead of schedule, giving each panelist time to prepare their answers. Make sure the moderator and panelists have input, this will make them feel valued during the process.

Set the stage

Generally speaking, panel discussions are on a stage with panelists seated on a lounge or chairs facing the audience. It’s best practice to not have them sit behind a desk as it can cut off the open flow of communication. It’s a good idea to check with your AV provider about what AV is required, such as spotlight lighting, fixed desktop microphones, lapel microphones or a shared wireless microphone that can be passed along to each speaker. At AVPartners we have an exciting ‘Question & Answer’ product called Catchbox. It’s the world’s first ‘soft throwable microphone’, allowing easy and fun audience participation, discussion and most importantly, encouraging engagement.

Using a reputable AV provider will ensure the panelists are successfully seen and heard, and that their messages are conveyed effectively to the audience.

Contact us today to start planning your panel discussion!

How to promote your event

Promoting your event is one of the most important factors for success. Without getting the promotion of your event right, even the most interesting and well planned events won’t be successful. Promotion is what sells tickets, increases brand and event awareness, and builds excitement.

Ultimately, you want to attract people to your event, and the best way to do so is to spread the word far and wide. These days, technology can play a big part in that, and is an extremely useful marketing tool for event planners.

As with any marketing activity, you’ll want to make sure you have given yourself enough time prior to the event to promote and advertise it. Depending on your event type, you might even start a year in advance!

To help, we’ve put together some ways to promote your event:

Social media

Social media is now a must for any event. There are many ways to promote your event by engaging with your audience and targeting your message to interested parties, through strategic paid and unpaid social media campaigns.  

Online and offline advertising

Online advertising is a great way to promote events as highly targeted ads can achieve a great return on investment. Offline advertising through certain magazines, newspapers, or even mail box leaflet drops is also a good option.

Media and publicity

A media campaign can be a great way to gain coverage for your event, driving further awareness. This approach can work well for trade shows, markets and festivals.

Local signage

Depending on the type of event and location, you may find that signs and banners, even digital signage, placed locally around the event area will spark some interest.

Website

It’s also a great idea to have a designated section of your website for your events or give the event its own website. This will assist anyone looking for more information and will also improve your SEO so people can find you through Google.

The venue

When you’ve chosen and booked the venue for the event, they may be able to start promoting your event on their website and social media channels too, along with promotions within their venue such as posters or flyers. Make sure you cover all bases when researching venues, such as catering options, venue size, and audiovisual capabilities.

At AVPartners we take great pride in hosting events of all types and sizes; using lighting, audio, and visual technology to take events to the next level! Contact us today to chat about your next event.

Is a seminar the type of event your business needs?

Seminars are one of the most common type of events. Educational in nature, seminars bring together like-minded people to learn about a particular subject. A seminar is a more formal event, focused on training or information sharing, offered in an academic instruction-style setting. They differ from more informal events such as conferences where opinions and thoughts are shared more readily and informally.

They are also usually shorter in length than other similar events. Seminars are a great means of building brand awareness and thought leadership for your business.

What do seminars involve?

Seminars usually feature one or more experts on the subject matter who, with the help of visual aids, demonstrations, and interactive equipment, present their information with little participation required from attendees.

A few of the common seminar types you may come across include business, personal development, and academic seminars. Seminars may also be held as part of a conference.

Where are seminars held?

Seminars are usually held in hotel meeting spaces, conference rooms, convention centres or at an academic institution.

What equipment is required?

Like any great event, seminars tend to rely heavily on audiovisual aids, which assist the presenters or trainers in communicating their knowledge to attendees. A great AV provider will offer a combination of visual slides, staging, lighting, styling, microphones and speakers to ensure the seminar message is conveyed successfully.

AVPartners has the knowledge, creativity and technology to make any seminar successful! Contact us today to discuss your seminar needs.

Microphone on a table

Top tips for clear audio at your event

Audio is one of the most important, yet often overlooked, elements at an event. Any issues with audio at an event can leave guests with a negative impression, and make you or your business appear unprofessional or unprepared.

For clear audio at an event, you’ll want to ensure announcements are audible in an open space, or that presentations or music can be heard both at the front and back of the room.

Here are our tips to ensure your audio is clear:

A little goes a long way

You don’t need to overdo the volume or audio effects to make a great impact on guests. If there are changing parts to a presentation, such as a shift between speaking, music or video, make sure the volumes are set and that you won’t shock your audience by a sudden increase in decibels.

Match the right tool for the job

Just as you wouldn’t eat cereal with a fork, you need to use the correct microphone or speaker for the job. Microphones and speakers all have their own qualities that make them best suited to particular sounds or presentation settings.

Make sure presenters know how to use their microphone

With the many variants of microphones available, it’s important to give your presenter a quick intro to the one they will be using, so they’re aware of it’s capabilities and how they should best handle it. For example, a presenter may need to wear a lapel microphone and as such they will need to be advised not to create excess noise through their clothing covering or coming into contact with the microphone.

Ensure you have qualified technicians at the soundboard

Audio at an event is not just a ‘set and forget’ type of support, it needs qualified technicians to organise, manage, and control it throughout the entire event. Hiring an in-house AV team, such as AVPartners, can be a fantastic option as in-house teams know their venues well, can offer you a wealth of knowledge and experience, and tailor audio and lighting options to suit your event.

To find out about the best ways to use audio at your next event, speak to us today!

Conference break out session

3 things to consider when planning a conference

Conferences are great for bringing a large group of people together to discuss and learn about certain topics. They are sometimes held over a few days, or even just within a few hours. Either way, there’s always plenty to think about when planning one.

Here are our top three things to consider when planning a conference:

Venue

Conferences tend to be larger scale events, so it’s a good idea to research venues that will cater to your needs in terms of size, amenities and style. You might need separate rooms or sections for break out sessions, or just one big hall to present in. Make sure the venue is appropriate for your conference, that it speaks to the style and theme you want to present, and that it is convenient enough for guests to get to by car or public transport.

Sponsors

Having sponsors who pay to feature at your conference can really help with costs. You might have a few different sponsorship options and levels available, or just one or two main ones, and sponsors may be granted exclusivity or a chance to present at the conference. It’s entirely up to you and the needs of your conference when determining how deep the sponsorship relationship goes, but don’t be too shy when seeking sponsorship income as sponsors can be a huge support during this time.

Audiovisual support

A great conference relies on great AV support. Work out what you need in terms of AV – such as microphones, lighting, staging, monitors, teleconferencing capabilities, or video access for virtual attendees. Many venues have an in-house AV team, such as AVPartners, and are able to make your conference AV needs for sound, lighting and audio smooth and professional!

If you’d like some more information on planning your next conference, contact us today!

Event trends

Event trends you need to know about

Are you planning to hold an event next year? If so, you’re probably hoping that it’s an interesting and engaging one, and that everyone has a great time. One thing to consider when it comes to planning interesting events is what is ‘on trend’ at the time.

There are so many unique ways to impress your guests and give them a talking point during and after your event.

Here are our favourite event trends for 2017:

Creative catering

Unique catering is a great way to stand out and impress, and you can also use it to brand your event. Elements such as signature cocktails using your brand’s colours, or desserts with edible rice paper logos or messages on top, are interesting ways to get creative with catering.

The extreme dessert trend is likely to continue into 2017, with dessert walls (think donuts and Nutella) becoming part of the decor!

Personalisation

People want more than the standard cookie-cutter event, so they’re looking for more personalised options when they scout their venues and plan their events. The possibilities for personalisation are endless, with more simple things such as personalised email or app communications to guests through to more complex data driven elements such as tailoring events to the individual based on their reactions on social media.

According to a study by Eventsforce, personalisation is a key priority for 82% of event planners, with 97% saying they believe that event personalisation can change a guests perception of your brand or event.

Audiovisual technology also plays a huge part in personalisation of events. Lighting effects, colours and staging options can all contribute to a more tailored event. At AVPartners we pride ourselves on fully understanding our client’s event and design briefs so that we can deliver on a completely unique and successful event.

Digital interaction

More and more we are seeing that event planners are embracing digital channels to reduce costs, to be more environmentally conscious and to better engage guests. There are so many interesting ways to deliver information at your event digitally rather than expecting guests to take notes constantly or handing out paper. Examples include leveraging an event app, providing a digital handout via files made available on a USB or having notes delivered by email.

Video content

We all keep hearing that video is the future, and in 2017 we will see a greater role for video at events. One example of where video is being used effectively is through the live-streaming of events. This is where an event is filmed and delivered to online viewers in real time, so that they don’t miss out and can be part of the action as it unfolds. Usually this footage can then be packaged up and shared on a business’ website or social media, or used in-house.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to go overboard with event elements to create an impact. Choosing just one or two ideas and exploring how they can meet your business and event needs will be enough to impress.

Talk to us to start planning your 2017 events!

Top tips for improving presentations at your events

Presentations at events are commonplace, and are held for various reasons. You might be presenting awards at an award show, giving a speech thanking donors at a charity event, or speaking to your guests about the upcoming direction of your organisation.

Whatever the reason or desired outcome, the basics of presentations are the same – be as prepared and as engaging as possible. However, what has changed over time, is the ways you can take your presentations to the next level, and really impress your audience.

Here are our top tips for improving presentations at your events:

Include imagery and video

A picture is worth a thousand words, so if possible, include some photos, graphs or illustrations to support your words. Imagery is a great way to explain your point, or provide extra information. Bonus points if you want to include short video clips too! To read more about the importance of including content in your presentation, check out our article on how to create standout presentation content.

Be clear and concise

It seems obvious, but along with being prepared for your presentation, ensure that what you are saying needs to be said, and that you’re saying it in the best way for your audience to hear and digest. A great presentation will be the perfect combination of concise information delivered with the right tone and manner that encourages audience engagement.

Be aware of your audience

Be aware of who is listening to you, and what they might need to better understand you – are they elderly and would appreciate a slower pace, or are they your employees who you can be more casual and fun with? Tailor your approach as needed.

Set the mood

The instant you are in front of people, you are giving an impression and setting the mood, so decide how you want to be seen. You can also use your surroundings to help support your presentation. For example, using modern lighting techniques such as flooding the room with a certain colour scheme while you present, or using a spotlight to follow you on stage.

Have fun!

Everyone loves to be entertained, so injecting some humour into your presentation will help people loosen up and become engaged with what you have to say – after all, they won’t want to miss the next laugh! You can use imagery within a presentation to lighten the mood, or just pure banter – the possibilities are endless.

To start preparing for your next presentation, and really impress your audience, contact us today!

AV Favourites Wrap Up post

AV Favourites Wrap Up

With all the exciting events going on and new technologies we get to use, we’ve realised our blog posts cover a lot of ground in the audiovisual space. We thought it would be great to look back at some of your favourite posts over the past year!

Here were some of the topics that our readers found particularly interesting:

Digital technology for your event

Social media has become a huge part of events. We looked at 5 ways to use social media to promote your event, along with how to integrate social media into your event.

Planning an event is a complex undertaking, with countless tasks to keep track of, tight deadlines and multiple stakeholder demands. With the use of apps, the enormity of event planning becomes a whole lot easier.

Event styling, planning and layout

For those not sure how long certain event planning aspects may take, we asked how long does it take to plan an event? We also investigated how to take your event to the next level with event styling, and depending on the type of event you’re having, how to decide on the best seating layout for your event.

Events and your business

Attending an event can make such a positive impact on your business and brand. In this day and age, we often overlook the importance of being in a live environment and interacting with people face-to-face. This in person interaction means you have a great chance to improve brand exposure, and really engage more with your audience.

Audiovisual elements

Audiovisual elements can add a special something to your event. Whether you use lighting to create atmosphere in the room, or require a stage to be set up with microphones and speakers for perfect sound, a good AV team will have you covered.

The right AV team supporting your event can be the difference between a good or bad event.

Interested in finding out more about any of these topics or have a topic you’d like us to explore? Contact us today!

Attending events

How attending events can impact your business

Attending an event can make such a positive impact on your business and brand. In this day and age, we often overlook the importance of being in a live environment, and interacting with people face-to-face. It’s important that while attending events, you utilise this time for your brand and business, and you’re not just a fly on the wall.

Being active at events can bring your business many benefits. Some of the most positive impacts from attending events include:

Networking

While networking can be a bit of a buzzword, the act hasn’t lost it’s charm. Most people attending events have similar goals and are likely to be interested in networking as well. It can be really refreshing to connect with people in your industry that you can help or who can help you in some way. You never know who you’ll meet or what collaborations may come of it!

Changing up your routine

Attending events and putting your business out there is a great way to shake things up and inject some life into your team. The day to day of business can get mundane at times, so it’s nice to let off some steam and change up your normal patterns.

Showing your brand to the public

Events are a great way to showcase your brand and services to the other guests. You may be well-known, in which case an event can be a great time to humanise your brand, or you may be just starting out, which means people can get to know you straight away. People do business with people, so show them that you’re real and that you have passion for what you do.

Educational opportunities

No matter how much you know about your industry, there is always something to learn, even if it’s in a general sense. A lot of events have fantastic educational components and can leave you with a lot of great ideas to implement.

Above all, don’t forget to have fun! The event may be business related but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax and enjoy yourself. You’ll be far more approachable that way too.

Excited to plan your next event and impress your guests? Talk to us today.

 

How to improve brand exposure at your event

Regardless of the type of business you are in, holding an event can be a great way to improve brand awareness and get some attention on your message. Whether it’s a holiday party, an awards night, a launch or a fundraiser, holding an event gives you personal interaction with your guests and can work wonders for brand exposure.

Here are some ideas on how you can improve brand exposure at your next event:

Use subtle brand placement

From having your logo printed on napkins, to making special drinks with you brand colours, to using lighting techniques to blanket the room in your brand colours, the options for brand exposure and a unique event experience are endless.

Give guests a gift

You might want to offer a promotional bag for guests to take home with them, as these branded gifts can be a great way to say thank you and leave your guests feeling spoilt by your brand.

Create an event website

You don’t necessarily need a specific website for your event depending on its size, but you should at least have a dedicated event page on your website that is updated regularly. Not only will this ensure that people have the most up-to-date information regarding the event, but a decent webpage can speak volumes when it comes to brand perception. You can also use the page for photos after the event.

Use social media and an event hashtag

You can use your social media channels leading up to, during, and after the event to create a buzz, build brand exposure and keep the excitement going.
Before the event, use social media to tell people about the exciting things they can expect at the event. During the event you can post updates and photos, and afterwards you can use it to keep your event’s message and your brand in front of people. Creating an event hashtag is important so that you can engage people, and if they are searching for your event, they can find all posts under that hashtag, for example #AVPfundraiser2016
Incorporate audiovisual technology

There are so many different ways you can use audiovisual technology to increase your event’s wow-factor. At AVPartners, we can use lighting techniques to project patterns or your logo on the walls and floor, along with using your brand colours in a variety of ways.

You could also have a digital social media screen where your guest’s social media posts get chosen to appear on the screen. This encourages people to post more social media updates at the event in the hope that their post will be shown.

Have an event photographer

Having a photographer at the event is a no-brainer, as you will want to have the guests and their enjoyment captured. You can add the photos to the event’s website or page, and this will encourage people to visit the website after the event to see the photos of themselves. If you allow them to download the photo, you could have it watermarked with your logo so they can remember your brand positively.

If you’d like us to help build your brand exposure at your next event, contact us today!