Know the local rules
Some venues don’t allow gaffer tape to be put on the floor. In these venues rubber matting needs to be put down so there’s no trip hazard.
Always take a spare microphone
Speaking is such an important component of many events that it’s worth having a back-up.
Make a floor plan
Always create a floor plan, to make sure you don’t try to squeeze too much into too little space.
Make the important decisions early
If you know how many people are coming and the shape of the venue you can check there’s enough space for all the equipment and staging. Very often people plan in terms of ‘bums on seats’ but forget to account for mixing desks, catering or stage requirements.
Meet face-to-face at the venue.
Insist on meeting your conference planner well before critical preparation milestones. Ask them to take you through each piece of the floor plan. You need to make sure that 20 waitresses aren’t all going to trip over the same piece of cable every time they bring a dessert out.
Make sure that fire exits are on the plan
It’s not unheard of for a big stage to be built without anybody noticing that it blocks the only emergency exit on the site. Anybody noticing this and who has the power to do so, (health and safety officer), can close the event down immediately.
Allow for other people’s overruns
If you are due to take over a room at 5pm to be prepared for a conference at 6pm then don’t be surprised if the group that said they’d be out by 5 are still voting on their major Annual General Meeting. Always allow contingency time.
Plan for the worst, expect the best
If something goes wrong and you’ve planned for it, then you’ve planned for it. If nothing goes wrong, and you’ve planned for it, well done. Someday it may make all the difference.
Don’t forget at many events, there’s a natural need for some questions and answers at the end
Even if it isn’t on the agenda, it sometimes breaks out spontaneously. And a question and answer session means having a separate microphone, which will also require a radio microphone attachment. Don’t forget to put this on your AV equipment requirements.
Spend 2-3 times your set-up time planning
If a set-build requires 20 minutes to put together, spend a full hour planning how you are going to do it. If it’s a 3-hour set build, be sure you spend 6-8 hours planning prior to going to the venue. What is the shortest route from the loading bay to the room? Do you know what exits they will and won’t allow you to use? This can make a critical difference to your set up times, and the eventual success of the gig.