Could financial disaster strike your conference?

Glossophobia: The Fear of Public Speaking
July 7, 2017

Could financial disaster strike your conference?

You’ve given your upcoming conference a lot of thought. Your planning team has come up with some really great ideas that will make the conference one to remember. Excitement about the event is becoming infectious. Then the ax falls. The finance committee has reviewed the plans and is slamming on the brakes with a loud “Whoa!” Sadly, your boss is in agreement with the financial committee and insists that “We need to make some cuts to pull this conference into budget.”

You’re left with no options but to start looking into areas that seem optional. You start asking questions like, Do you really need confidence monitors?  What if we used less bright projectors? Are techs necessary?  All good questions, but eliminating any of them opens the door for something to go wrong. Too often organizations think they have successfully “gotten away with” cutting audio visual elements from their conference simply because nothing overt happened. They were lucky…very lucky. It’s like playing Russian roulette. Eventually, things go wrong. Do you want to take that chance?

Now is a good time to set up an outline for your conference. As a team, you may find that you can include all of the bells and whistles your planning committee suggested by being creative.

  1. 1. “Wish list” : Make a column of specific items you would like to have as part of the presentation.
    List stage props, lighting, backdrops, audio video equipment, techs, confidence monitors, etc.
  2. 2. Financial column : Create a column with the hard cost for each item in your wish list.
  3. 3. Alternative column : Come up with less expensive options for the items in your wish list.

Exercise a little creativity and you may find that you can reduce expenses without sacrificing quality. For instance, do you need projectors at the entrance to display sponsor logos if other means existed? Could you use one stage monitor instead of two? Does the office have a wireless presenter you could use instead of renting? Are there office computers available for use?

Scrutinize your outline and try to come up with alternatives before eliminating any of the items. What if an item you omitted lead to a significant meeting disruption? How would that affect your job? How would that affect the conference?  Take a peek at this video of an event in which a stage backdrop collapses onto the presenter and the attendees. Did the audio visual company suggest hanging the drape from the ceiling and the client said “no” due to cost?  Alternatively, maybe the issue was not addressed at all because the “cheaper” AV company got the job and didn’t anticipate the problem?  We may never know why, but we certainly know what happened.  See for yourself in the video “Stage curtain falls on Fiorina during Texas Speech.”

Don’t let this happen to you!