For most meeting managers, working with a new audiovisual team isn’t exactly love at first sight. It takes time to get to know each other, build up the courage to say what’s really on your mind and get to a point where you feel totally in sync. During a session at Connect last year, AV experts Austin Johnston, Matt Clouser and Brandt Krueger compared the progression of a planner/AV team partnership to that of a romantic relationship, offering these five clever criteria for evaluating whether you’ve found a long-term commitment or if things are doomed from the start. After all, that’s what dating is for!
When you send an RFP, do they acknowledge it? Do they respond quickly to say they’ll be back in touch soon, or does your email get lost somewhere in cyberspace? Do they act in such a way that they want your business? (Or are they swiping left?)
One way to evaluate someone’s character is to look at who their friends are and talk with them. Even with in-house AV, don’t be afraid to ask for references. Not being provided references upon request can be a sign their reputation is less than stellar, warns Krueger.
Do you have a good flow? A strong rapport? Confidence to call each other up with any problem that arises? This one’s tough to measure, but as Johnston puts it, “You have to work well together.”
Be wary of an AV team that answers any question with a simple “no problem,” says Johnston. They should be prepared to talk through things with you in detail. Also watch out for anyone who has a combative relationship with a venue’s in-house AV.
Even if someone checked off all your boxes on paper, they still might not be the perfect match for you—and that’s OK. If it comes time to break up with your AV team, do a debriefing: Tell them how they could improve and communicate what went wrong.