“Technical difficulty.” It’s the stuff of nightmares for event planners. Our onsite audio visual (AV) technical experts share the seven most common tech-related pitfalls that haunt planners and how to avoid those problems in the first place.

Pitfall 1: The wrong connectors

Solution: Laptops and displays feature several types of connecting ports. With laptops getting smaller and high definition video becoming more common, connections like the tried-and-true VGA is being replaced with High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and USB-C cables. Know the type of connector you need to connect to your display—and bring along back-ups.

Pitfall 2: Projector speaker issues

Solution: If there’s audio used in your presentations, understand how to change audio output from HDMI to a headphone jack. Otherwise your audience will hear sound coming from the projector only.

How do you change the audio output? That depends on what operating system you’re running. Check with someone in your company’s IT department or ask your venue’s AV contact to walk you through the steps. Then practice on your home TV with an HDMI input and headphones. If you can play a video on the screen and play audio through the headphones, you’ve got the hang of it.

Pitfall 3: Missing video

Solution: Don’t rely on a venue’s internet signal to play an online video in real time. Instead, download videos ahead of time—which also allows you to avoid making your audience sit through an ad.

Pitfall 4: Corporate information technology (IT) restrictions

Solution: Know what you can and cannot change on your laptop before you get to the meeting. For example, many employers restrict changing the display settings. That means you can’t turn off the “go to sleep” or “black screen” commands after 10 minutes of inactivity. Ask someone in your IT department to override that restriction so that your speakers can deliver their presentations uninterrupted. Also, if you’re bringing a loaned laptop, make sure you know the logon information.

Pitfall 5: Dead batteries!

Solution: Test your wireless clickers and other accessories ahead of time and bring extra batteries.

Pitfall 6: Unclear communication with your AV team

Solution: There’s no second chance with live presentations so discuss your ideas and expectations with your venue’s AV contact long before your meeting begins.

Also consider rehearsals before the big day to minimize any technical issues and allow the AV staff to smooth out any rough edges. Rehearsals also help you feel more confident that your event will run the way you envision it. Then on the day of your event, check in with your AV team to make sure everyone is set up and ready to go.

Pitfall 7: Not considering technical failure

Solution: Identify all the possible problems and know how you’ll address them so “technical difficulties” don’t ruin the day. For example, let’s say your video won’t play. That’s no big deal if you copied the presentation to a flash drive, or you emailed yourself the presentation, or you stored it in the cloud.

Above all, choose a venue with experienced AV professionals—and plenty of them—available to you before and during your meeting. They’re key to helping you execute a worry-free event.

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