Nothing makes a meeting attendee lose focus quicker than a sound issue — those annoying booms, ear-aching basses and distracting crackles, pops and squeals.
David Scheirman knows how much sound matters. He spent years as a sound engineer for live events and meetings and has handled audio for Fortune 500 companies, Summer Olympics competitors and a U.S. president. He is among the volunteer leaders of the Audio Engineering Society, the only professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology, with 14,000 members internationally.
I spoke with him about ways meeting planners can silence sound problems at their meetings and conventions. Here are his suggestions.
Get to Know the Technical Staff
A meeting planner’s point of contact is typically a sales manager. Make sure your relationships go deeper. “If you have cultivated a relationship only with the salesperson, that person cannot solve your sound problem during the meeting,” said Scheirman. “They can only find someone else who can talk to someone who can help. The more people between you and the person responsible for sound, the less likely you will be able to solve the problem in a timely manner.”
Know Who Is in Control
Identify the individual who knows the most about the AV at the venue, and then tell them in writing or in an email about the requirements. Here’s a start on a list, but realize there are many other details you can supply: number of speakers; types of musical recordings or programming; session formats, for example, panel discussions, motivational speakers; types of mics; Q and A. “The more you can tell the technical staff what you are going to be doing, the better,” said Scheirman.