Don’t worry. This is not a self-promoting post about why you should hire me as a team building supplier, (although I wouldn’t mind!) This is about the importance of making sure every link in your event planning chain is solid, dependable and ideally stupendous.

Last week I provided a keynote session for over seven hundred people. I know from experience that audio-visual can make or break my presentations and performances so I take my pre-production planning very seriously. I did my due diligence and emailed directly to the in-house hotel AV supplier that my client had engaged. I followed up my written production requirements with a phone call and I was assured that our specific needs and challenges would be addressed, to include four headset microphones and four wireless hand held microphones.

Sound-check: Only one headset microphone and not a functioning one. But hey, I’m easy to work with so I suggested that if they could get one lavaliere microphone I’d be fine with that and the four hand held wireless mics. So we sound checked with that equipment and at the end of soundcheck the AV tech said they had found one headset mic that worked properly so we switched to that.

Presentation: I came on stage wearing the headset microphone and I began to speak. Snap, crackle, pop…bzzzzz…rinngggg. So I did what any good speaker would do. I started laughing, keeping it entertaining and removed the headset microphone now dangling from the back of my shirt. I said to the audience, “Good thing we’ve got these other vocal microphones on stage. I’ll just use the microphone here in front of my piano.” I then reached over to slightly adjust the boom-arm of the microphone stand. As soon as I touched it, it fell off. Yes – fell right off the stand onto the ground. The audience laughed with me. I asked the AV tech to come fix the stand and he did. He then walked away and I began to adjust it again. Yes – it fell to the ground again. AV tech comes back, and I coached him on the proper way to screw an arm onto a boom stand, in front of over seven hundred people.

The Ending: The story ends well. We turned what could have been some tense moments into some good laugh moments and the audience stayed relaxed because I stayed relaxed. We went on with the show and the audience participation part of the show was great. BUT – I never had the opportunity to deliver my ten minute keynote introduction as promised. I did deliver a five minute AV fiasco instead and then we went right into audience participation. The keynote moment had been lost!

The Conclusion: You only have one special event. That’s why it’s called a ‘special’ event. Every link in the chain is vital. Don’t rely on suppliers who are not vested in performing for you, who don’t have to earn your business or your trust. Take the extra step and make sure every supplier you use cares about you.

About Billy Kirsch

Billy is a Grammy & Emmy nominated, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter with numerous Top 10 hits to his credit. His team building programs and keynote speaking presentations help people tap into their creative abilities to become more innovative and engaged in their work. Clients include Fortune 100 companies and organizations throughout the world.