Four things your AV partner wants to know before your event begins

Can you even imagine hosting an event without the expertise of AV professionals? Neither can we. These talented folks (also known as super heroes) often make the difference between a flawless event and one riddled with missteps.

Unbelievably, though, some small- to medium-sized convention centers don’t even have dedicated AV professionals on staff. “You might end up working with someone in catering who also happens to do AV, and there’s no way that person would be able to keep up with all the changes in the ever-evolving AV world,” explains John Klingelhoets, lead AV technician for Monona Terrace.

To minimize technical difficulties, first select a venue with AV experts on staff—and then plan to work closely with them long before your event begins. We talked with our AV team to find out what they’ll want to know.

What sort of event is this?

All successful events require an element of design and flow. A banquet creates a different atmosphere than a talk-driven conference, and inherently requires different AV support.

“A skilled AV team can lean into this design and flow and bring out the event’s character and personality,” offers Klingelhoets. “We love it when planners are able to describe the feeling they’d like their event to convey to their audience and what they want people to say about it after its over, because that helps us choose exactly the right approach,” he says.

What methods will you use to deliver content?

A business meeting can make use of PowerPoint presentations, keynote speakers, video, web conferencing, interactive mobile applications—you name it.

Explains Schuyler Cleven, AV technician: “We’d like to know how you want those elements streamlined not only for your audience, but also for those delivering the content. It’s really helpful to know what kinds of computers, phones and tablets to expect, and the video and PowerPoint formats you’ll be using, because then we’re fully prepared,” he adds.

And if your event isn’t a business meeting? The AV team will still want to know if you’d like special lighting or plan to include audio or visual elements.

How would you like to use the venue to its fullest?

To an experienced AV professional, a room is never just a room. Matt Bittorf, AV technician, offers this perspective: “We see lighting possibilities, creative signage, different things we can do to bring the room to life,” he says.

For example, a stencil placed in front of a light source—called a GOBO, or “goes before optics”—controls the shape of the emitted light. Electronic signage can also be used to change throughout the day and feature images, such as client logos and photographs.

And just because a building is “green,” don’t assume its lighting options are limited.

“In fact, it’s just the opposite,” explains Bittorf. “Part of becoming Gold Standard LEED certified means that we stay on top of what technology is coming next and plan for it accordingly. A perfect example is when we changed all our fixtures to LED. Now we’re more energy efficient, but we didn’t lose any functionality,” he says.

How “connected” do you want your event to be?

The world is an ever-connected place. Your AV partner wants to know the interactivity of your event, whether it’s something as simple as social media tags to more advanced technology, such as interactive phone apps dedicated to your event.

Klingelhoets offers these questions as food for thought: Will you expect everyone to not only have a phone on them but also a laptop or tablet? Will anyone need connectivity to a projector? Will there be a lot of heavy internet traffic, such as video conferencing or file downloads? He says to be sure that the facility has the bandwidth to accommodate the needs of your event and suggests you ask when the last upgrade took place.

“These are the types of things we are always thinking about because we want to make sure that we’re ready for any type of device that rolls through our doors,” he says. “It’s our goal to make every meeting—and meeting planner—successful.”

To learn about planning a meeting at Monona Terrace, contact Laura MacIsaac , Director of Sales, at or 608-261-4016.