SmartSource Rentals Blog


4 Ways to Make Your Next Meeting Suck
Apr 29, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
YawnWant your next meeting or event to be dull, lifeless, and disorganized? Just follow the tips and techniques below and I can guarantee your attendees will be totally dissatisfied with your event. Okay, okay I’m not going to leave you hanging. At the bottom of each faux pas, I will give you best practices for a great meeting

1. Set up your presentation services audio visual and have the talk during the meal.

Don’t give your attendees any chance to network without outside distractions. Have the AV technician wheel in and test all the equipment and make certain to have the speaker run through all their slides while the meal is going on. Make as much noise and create as many distractions as possible. 

Best Practice: Have the powerpoint presentation equipment, sound system, and speaker in the room 1 to 2 hours prior to the talk and make certain everything is set up and tested prior to letting anyone in the room. Use the meal time for maximum networking opportunity and encourage business card exchange. Consider having a table captain that can ask a series of networking questions to keep the conversation moving along. 

2. Don’t test the sound system. 

Hook up all the mics to the sound system and put the lavaliere mic on the presenter. Don’t test the wireless mics in various parts of the room. If you do test, save it for last and rush through it. After all it is simple technology, and the speaker can shout if they need to, right?

Best Practice: Often times, the sound system is the life and breath of your meeting. In a large meeting, it is a must have. Make certain the AV technician and your staff test all parts of the system, from the speaker’s lavaliere mic to any and all wireless mics you might use with a panel discussion or audience participation. Test them in all parts of the room. Make certain the AV company has batteries and backups in the meeting room, ready to go with a moment’s notice.

3. Have more chairs than people: Set for 75, when you are expecting 25

Give your attendees every chance to sit in the very last row of your meeting so they can not view the presentation or hear the speaker. Let them easily sleep or nod off, check their email on their smartphone, talk to the person next to them, or make an easy exit. 

Best Practice: Look at your attendance at the conference and assume your breakouts will be equally divided with participants. So if your conference is 200 people and you have 4 breakouts, assume that 50 people will attend each breakout. Then, add 10% to that number. Then the MOST your room should be set for is 55 people. Make the room size work for your set up.  If there is too much space in the room (like having 55 people in a ballroom), the meeting looks poorly attended. 

4. Use the same screen size for every room, regardless of room size.

Don’t measure the room, look at your attendance numbers, or the challenges of the room (oblong, pillars, etc). Just order the cheapest projector and screen rentals you can get. Let your budget dictate what equipment you rent. 

Best Practice: The cheapest screen is not solution, the right sized screen for the room is. The best presentation in the world isn’t going to make a bit of difference if the attendees cannot see the presentation. A quality AV company will spend time in the room configuring the right projector and screen rental to maximize the visual ability of audience members.

Whether it is Powerpoint presentation equipment, sound and lighting rentals, or screen rentals, AV Event Solutions is available to assist you with event planning in California. 

In Honor of Earth Day: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rent
Apr 27, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
“Greening” an event or meeting involves all aspects of the planning process, including a detailed collaboration of everyone, from planner to supplier, from venue to attendees. Below are some tips to make your next event much greener, thus improving your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and image.

Renting Audio Visual Equipment

  • Use kiosk rentals for digital signage, advertising, and sponsorship promotion instead of a printed program that also needs to be shipped to the event. 
  • Eliminate or limit paper. Instead incorporate Audience Response System rentals for surveys, feedback, or training purposes. Rent Tablet PCs, iPads, or laptops and download the prospectus and sponsorship information onto these devices. 
  • Renting AV equipment is earth friendly. It promotes the element of reuse. 
  • When contracting equipment, rent local. Locally owned companies stimulate the economy by creating local jobs. In addition, by renting local there is no shipping or long-haul trucking of equipment, thus reducing carbon emissions.

Meeting Room

  • Use cloth tablecloths and napkins.
  • Choose centerpieces attendees can take home and use, such as potted plants, fresh cut flowers, or fruit. 
  • Ask that the hotel or meeting venue to NOT put out pads and pens at every seat.

Food & Beverage

  • Have the caterer or hotel use china and glass; no disposable items.
  • No bottled water; the bottle usually ends up in a landfill because most people throw the bottle away even when there are recyclable containers in view. Have pitchers of water, juice, or aluminum cans of soda available.
  • Set up recyclable disposable bins next to the garbage and encourage its use often.


  • Reduce carbon emissions by encouraging and participating in carpooling.
  • Let attendees know of all the alternative ways to get to the meeting and post those ways, with phone numbers and website URLs, on event host’s website. 
  • If appropriate, encourage cycling and walking to event or during free nights at the conference.
If event planners implement one or two the items listed above, carbon emissions will be reduced, trees will be saved, and in the end, costs will be cut from the event organizer and attendee’s prospective. This information is an excerpt from a new ebook coming soon to AV Event Solutions called "How to Incorporate New Tools and Technologies into Events and Tradeshows." Look for it very soon!

Look to AV Event Solutions to provide your organization with interactive technology tools that will help promote social responsibility and save Mother Earth! Call them today!

Supercharge Your Meetings with Wireless Audience Response Systems
Apr 25, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Wireless Audience Response System RentalsAudience Response Systems (ARS) give you the power to transform any meeting into an interactive and productive gathering from boardrooms to conventions and from companies to associations. 

How does audience polling work? Wireless Audience Response Systems transmit wireless feedback from attendees to event organizers with a simple press of a button. Real-time results are then displayed on graph or chart in the front of the room. Audience Response System rentals are great for:

  • Association Conferences: ARS units are perfect to evaluate presenters in meetings and/or allow the speaker to gather information about the audience to better tailor the presentation.
  • Business Organizations: In organizations where a lot of training goes on, Audience Response Systems can be used to pre- and post-test employees on their knowledge base and retention. In addition, trainers can learn what works and what doesn’t with employees and tweek the training as they go along.
  • Sales Meetings: When completing a product launching event where new concepts and terms are being delivered, renting audience response system will allow the company’s managers to determine if the sales force has sufficient knowledge of the product or service to roll it out to their clients, or they are in need of more information. 
  • Focus Groups: In a small group setting, these polling devices can allow market research professionals  to determine what the group likes and dislikes about the new product or service. In addition, feedback is anonymous.
  • Surveys: This can be used in a plethera of ways. Wireless Audience Response Systems can be utilized with the presentation to allow the speaker to alter their talk. In addition, it can be used to evaluate the speaker, the conference, and even the tradeshow. Because the information is gathered onsite, at the meeting, all the data is fresh versus taking an online survey days after the conference is over. 
  • Strategy Sessions or Board Retreats: Executives can use the wireless keypads to vote on the organization’s priorities for the coming year. 
  • Market Research: As a consumer tool, a company or organization could show the audience a commerical, video, or display of photos, and analyze the audiences retention of that information. 
  • Annual Meetings: In particular with public stockholder meetings, ARS units can allow easy voting of Board of Directors, company initiatives, and the ability to gather audience feedback about future strategies.  
The benefits of using ARS technology include:
  • Increased participant understanding
  • Increased attendee attentiveness and participation
  • Ability to gather and report critical information in real-time
  • Easy-to-use technology
  • Customizable presentation with countdown timers and correct answers
  • Once the data is gathered, it is stored and there are many reporting options
  • Can be used in remote locations, to include Hybrid Meetings
  • Green, no paper
  • Saves time and effort, event staff does not need to type in the comments
Call AV Event Solutions to launch your next meeting with productivity and attendee participation with Audience Response rentals. AV Event Solutions staff is pleased to provide you with a free, complete quote and answer any questions you may have about this technology or any other audiovisual rental equipment

Spring Celebration from AV Event Solutions
Apr 22, 2011 by Melissa Bailey
Tulips in Bloom
Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.  ~Ellis Peters

   Celebrate Spring and all that it has to offer!

From your friends at
AV Event Solutions

6 Benefits of Using Kiosk Rentals for Tradeshows and Events
Apr 20, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

Computer kiosks
are durable and ideal for tradeshow and event use. This technology usually includes a touchscreen monitor, PC that is encased in a locked, durable cabinet, and wireless Internet. The best things about this tool is it can be utilized 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, requires minimum set up and take down, and does not have to be manned by a person. 

Touch Panel Kiosk Applications Include:

  • Self-service event registration: This is ideal at a large conference where many of the attendees may be checking in over a several day or several hour period of time. By letting the attendees know ahead of time, allows them the maximum flexibility in arriving at the event. In addition, if your meeting wishes to allow for last minute walk-in registrants, the kiosk can be fitted with a secure credit card reader.
  • Wireless Internet Cafe: During breaks and in the evening hours, attendees can search the Internet for restaurant and attraction suggestions, as well as, the ability to check their emails. 
  • Digital Signage: With a large association meeting or convention, computer kiosks can be strategically positioned throughout the conference to direct attendees to their meeting rooms. 
  • Interactive Sitemaps: Using a GPS software package, attendees can see where they are on the convention floor and trace turn-by-turn directions as to where they wish to go, or even walking directions within the city. 
  • Product Launching Events: Kiosks can be used for teaser videos, testing the attendee’s knowledge about the company, or even playing games. 
  • Surveys: Attendees can be asked to take a survey about the event using touch panel kiosks located throughout the event. No more papers to process and input. All the data is located on the PC or Internet and attendees can fill it out anytime during the conference. 
  • Playback of Digital Presentations: If your meeting or conference is hosting a lot of breakout sessions, it is possible to load those presentations on the kiosks and allow attendees to view the presentations they missed, anytime during the conference. If the session was being recorded with a video camera, it is also possible to load the video onto the kiosks. 
  • Exhibitor Locator Stations: This is a map of the exhibit floor, but it allows attendees to type in an exhibitor’s name and locate their booth easily. 
  • Lead Retrieval Systems: Rather than gathering business cards, a booth exhibitor can direct an attendee to the kiosk and ask them to fill out a brief information gathering form. In addition, if the exhibitor staff is busy, the kiosk can serve as a marketing person, running video, asking questions, and playing games.
  • Event Promotion and Sponsorship Opportunities: Unlike most promotional opportunities, kiosks offer endless ways because the branding can be placed on the unit and within the PC! Here are the ways your organization can brand any kiosk rental at your next event:
    • Brand on the Physical Monitor
    • Brand on the Kiosk Body
    • Continuously run on the kiosk monitor
      • Company Slogans
      • Company Logos
      • Company Videos
Computer Kiosks can also have the following accessory optional features:
– Keyboard – Headphones
– Magnetic Stripe Reader – Printer
– Webcam
Here are the benefits of computer kiosk technology:
– Easy to Use                                 – Touch Panel Kiosks are highly intuitive
– Durable – One-stop marketing tool with
  • Internet
  • Corporate Logos
  • Digital Signage
  • Color Graphics and Video
– Small Footprint – Ideal for selling different level sponsorships

If you are event planning in California, give AV Event Solutions a call or click on their website for a quick turnaround RFP Quote on this great technology tool!

Ways to Motivate Your Attendees with SUCCESs (no this isn’t a typo)
Apr 18, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
 How many of you have been to a PowerPoint presentation that looks exactly like this?
  • Speaker walks up to the front of the room and thanks everyone for being there;
  • Runs through a black and white PowerPoint Presentation with about 60 to 75 crowded slides in 55 minutes;
  • Rushes through a 5 minute Q & A and;
  • Skates out of the room at the end to catch a plane or car.
I have been to a million (okay a little exaggeration) of these and in the interest of full disclosure, I have planned (guilty) many, many more.

But what’s the problem? There are many problems with this, but most importantly, tAudiovisual Rentals for PowerPoint Presentationhese presentations are cliche, expected, and boring. Quite honestly, we have become comfortable with this method of presenting just like that pair of fuzzy warm PJs we refuse to throw out. But it is time to CHANGE!

Think about it. Powerpoint presentation equipment came to the forefront of speaking methodology in the late 1980’s. That is over 20 years ago! Now, we have interactive technology tool rentals that can provide color, sound, light, and audience response, without breaking the bank. 

So how can we motivate our attendees so they don’t sleep through the next presentation? SUCCESs! Dan Heath and Chip Heath wrote a book called Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die… and they outlined an acronym that they believe will motivate attendees. Powerpoint doesn’t have to die, but it definitely needs to be retooled. So here are some suggestions using the SUCCESs model:

  • Is the slide and presentation SIMPLE? Back in the day, presentation services audio visual equipment was meant to aid the presenter, not replace them. Somewhere along the way, we lost that concept. Stick to the 6 x 6 rule. No more than 6 lines on a slide and 6 words across. 
  • Is the presentation UNEXPECTED? Do something different. Do Q & A upfront for 55 minutes and presentation for 5 (check out our most recent blog, The New Way for PowerPoint, PechaKucha). Rent iPads and pass them out at the beginning of the presentation so attendees can be involved. Put the room in a circle, get rid of the tables. Be bold. Attendees will be buzzing about your words long after the meeting. 
  • Is the presentation CONCRETE? Is the facilitator or speaker giving facts, or their opinion? Audiences today are hungry for actual facts, not fluff. Use data with graphs and color. Your presenter doesn’t need to connect the dots, let the audience do it. 
  • Is the presentation and speaker CREDIBLE? More than ever, people will Google the presenter, check out their website and social media, and see their message is consistent among the platforms. Make certain you know they are an expert in the area they are speaking about.
  • Is the message EMOTIONAL? If attendees are going to get motivated, they must be emotional. What is the call to action for the attendee? 
  • Lastly, does the presenter tell a STORY? What is the story that is going to motivate the audience to buy this product or service? Attend this benefit? Go to this city for the conference? We need stories sprinkled in the presentation because they they make the speaker very credible and if told right, become emotional. 
AV Event Solutions, is available help motivate your audiences with state-of-the-art conference equipment rental units. They can help make your next meeting, event, or conference, a true SUCCESS!

How to Use “Crowdsourcing” at Your Next Association Meeting
Apr 15, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Crowdsourcing, as defined by Wikipedia, is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by one person, to a large group of people (a crowd) through an open call. It was developed to solve complex problems and allow multiple people to contribute with a variety of relevant and fresh ideas. 

Crowdsourcing was first coined by Jeff Howe in Wired magazine as combo word for "crowd" and "outsourcing". Henk van Ess, a social media strategist, said "Crowdsourcing is channeling the experts’ desire to solve a problem and freely sharing the answer with everyone."

How Association Meetings can use Crowdsourcing

A typical association meeting consists of thousands of like-minded individuals who come to a 2 or 3 day conference to network and learn more about topics relevant to THEIR industry. Who usually selects the speakers and topics? A very small group of volunteers and event meeting services staff that are looking at last year’s evaluations for guidance. 

How about letting the attendees shape the agenda and select the speakers? Utilizing online communities, as well as tools, such as Facebook Fan pages and LinkedIn groups, can allow the crowd to submit topics and speakers based on their interests. In addition, any tool that allows users to submit posts, including blogs, works well. 

A great event organizer will start to see a trend within the community, sort through the suggestions, and put a trial agenda together for the crowd to vote on. A wonderfully dynamic process that should help build attendance as well!

While attendees are at the conference, the association can use a sundry of interactive technology tool rentals to create an environment of user input. Here are a few examples:

  • Everyone can have a wireless audience response system and a series of problem questions the association is facing, can be positioned on the screen with many multiple choice answers. The attendees can vote on the best response anonymously, thus lending to greater participation by the attendee.
  • Computer kiosks can be strategically located through the hallways of the convention center and foyer of the hotels where attendees are staying. These kiosk rentals can either have a keyboard or touchscreen, where various questions are asked and attendees can submit their responses. The attendee can even submit their own question.
  • The association can rent iPads, Tablet PCs or Laptops for attendees to complete mindmapping, a hip way to brainstorming with a crowd. A whole session can be dedicated to this for the association’s most critical problems. 
Benefits of Crowdsourcing
  • Problems or fresh ideas can be explored quickly and with relatively little cost.
  • The association can tap into a very wide range of talent and expertise
  • Event organizers get first-hand insight into their members’ desires.
  • The attendee has an sense of ownership with the association and its problems.
AV Event Solutions, can provide meeting planners with great technology tools for your next association meeting to assist with crowdsourcing, including ARS, iPad, iPad 2, Tablet PC, laptop, and kiosk rentals. Give them a call today!
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