SmartSource Rentals Blog


Happy New Year from AV Event Solutions
Dec 30, 2011 by Melissa Bailey
Champagne Flutes

"With New Year comes new possibilities, new relationships and new opportunities. "

~ Anonymous

Cheers to the New Year!

Your friends at

AV Event Solutions logo

4 Big No No’s When Planning a Meeting
Dec 28, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

You schedule meetings and events on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis with the intent to keep the attendee engaged and interested in the topics presented. However, in all the hustle and bustle of planning and executing meetings, sometimes the little things can snowball into big issues.

No No's When Planning a MeetingHere are 4 "No-Nos" to avoid at your next meeting or event:

No Game Plan

When you have no measurable goals, objectives, or plan for your meeting, your event will appear to be disorganized and uninteresting.  Here are some quick fixes to this problem:

  • Put in writing your goals and objectives for the meeting.
  • Establish a project manager and have regular status meetings regarding the event.
  • Make certain the Powerpoint presentation equipment has been tested, the speaker is fully familiar with the equipment, and the AV technician has been introduced to the speaker.
  • Allow attendees to easily take notes, rent Tablet PCs for easy note taking and presentation sharing.
  • Gather questions during the presentation via Twitter or an online community, to maximize interactivity and attend to participant’s needs.

Hiring Speakers that Over-Share

Some speakers want to give every detail, thought, and plan they ever had about the subject matter they are speaking about. This can turn into a PowerPoint nightmare, because they will fill each slide with oodles and oodles of information. Here are some ideas to bring the presenter back in focus:

  • Review all your speaker presentations and make certain they are only highlighting the topic, not giving a college lecture on it.
  • Ask the following questions when reviewing each slide:
    • Is this slide or point relevant?
    • Is it interesting?
    • Is it important to the audience?
  • Make certain the speaker doesn’t have too many slides. 

Letting Your Speakers Run Over

Having speakers that run over is unacceptable at a conference. It shows total disrespect for the attendee and quite frankly, it can put a real kink in your schedule. Here are some ways to keep them on track:

  • Before the session, review the time allotted and ask each speaker how they are going to to keep track of their time. 
  • Have an event volunteer or staff member at the back of the room giving the speaker the 5-minute signal.
  • With 1-minute to spare, have the volunteer or staff member walk up to the front of the room.
  • Try and have your speakers stick around for networking events and encourage attendees to further their discussion with them at that time. 

No Testing of Interactive Technology Tool Rentals

AV equipment is essential to the success or failure of your event. I was at a 200 person event last Friday where several presenters spoke to honor the retirement of our local mayor. The wireless microphone kept going in and out the whole night and the event organizers were at a loss as to what to do. Their solution? Turn off the mic and have the presenters shout out to the group — not good, especially for my friend who is hard of hearing. Here are some ways to avoid this problem:

  • When renting audio visual equipment, give the supplier plenty of time to set up and test their equipment in the room.
  • Have the AV technician onsite at all times, ready for a backup unit, if needed. 
  • Communicate with the AV Project Manager about any last-minute needs. They are there to make certain your event runs smoothly. 

Are you event planning in California? AV Event Solutions can provide you with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment along with experienced AV technicians and project managers. Contact them today!

Holiday Greetings from AV Event Solutions
Dec 23, 2011 by Melissa Bailey
Lit Tree in Winter Wonderland

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. "

–  John Boswell

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays.

Your friends at

AV Event Solutions

How to Close More Event Business in 2012
Dec 21, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

salesAs 2011 winds down to a close, many of us in the event meeting services business are busy calling, emailing, and direct mailing prospects trying to book business for 2012. We often engage in a flurry of activity in hopes that we will get a few face-to-face meetings that will ultimately lead to some business.

Here are some business tips that have been around for a long time but are always good reminders as we ramp up our sales efforts during the next few weeks.

Tip #1: Figure Out Your Ratios

Take a day to inventory your sales success rate. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • How many emails/phone calls/letters does it take to get an appointment?
  • How many appointments end in closing the sale?
  • How many new clients do you want or need next year?

Here’s an example:

  • 100 phone calls gets you
  • 10 appointments of which win you
  • 1 sale. So if your goal is
  • 12 new clients in 2012, you need to make 1,000 phone calls during the year!

Tip #2: People Buy from People

If your organization provides corporate audio visual equipment and you have the name and telephone number of a meeting planner, don’t start off your telephone conversation as a "talking brochure". First, make certain you have the right person in the organization and ask some thoughtful, intelligent, insightful questions. Second, ask if this a good time to talk and be respectful of their time. Lastly, remember you aren’t calling on IBM, you are calling on Mary Smith who happens to work at IBM. 

Tip #3: Assume They Will Say Yes, But Be Prepared if They Say No

How many times do you expect a "no" when you ask for the appointment? But what if they say yes? When you are making that call, assume they will want to meet with you. When they say no, it is usually 1 of 4 reasons:

  1. They already are working with an event services company and are not looking to change
  2. They don’t have the time to meet with you because of deadlines at work
  3. They aren’t the right person or
  4. They have heard about or used your company and it was not a good experience

If it is #1, keep trying back because personnel changes and company opinions change. If it is #2, ask if there is a better time to call back and honor that time, #3 ask for the right person and #4 requires more questions and the ability to fix the problem. 

Tip #4: Confirm, Call, and Respect Their Time

People’s lives are busier than ever so it is best to confirm your appointment 24-hours in advance. Best case they will be impressed with your professionalism, worst case they will want to move your appointment. But whatever the outcome, it will save you time and frustration by making that confirmation call.

Call if you are running even 1 minute late. Let them know your time of arrival and ask if that is okay. Apologize for any inconvenience it may cause them and let them know it is okay to reschedule. 9 times out of 10 they will be glad you called and still honor the appointment.

If you tell the prospect you are only going to take 30 minutes of their time, respect that limit. Don’t try to make it longer, unless you are reading it is okay with them. If there is any question, simply ask, "Mary, I see I have taken up the 30 minutes we agreed upon, is it alright if we keep talking or do you want continue this at another time?" 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment provider, has an account executive team that is ready and willing to provide state-of-the-art AV rentals to meet your needs. Give them a call today to learn more about their products and services!

8 Great Reasons to Rent iPads, Tablet PCs for Your Next Meeting or Event
Dec 19, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

ipad rentalHave you ever wondered what the big deal is with iPads and tablets? Why can’t you just do things with paper and binders? While the answer is, you can do the "same old, same old" way of running your meetings, attendees are demanding a better way to be engaged and wowed.

Here are some important reasons why renting tablet technology makes sense at your next meeting:

  1. Up-to-date Conference Agenda. Any experienced meeting planner knows, things change at the last minute. Meeting rooms get shuffled around, speakers cancel, and/or the timing of the agenda changes because the general session ran over. If you arm every attendee with a tablet, they will have all updates instantanously.
  2. In-depth Speaker Information. Tablets can contain bios, photos, testimonials, and video of the speaker so attendees will feel like they really know the presenter before sitting down in their session. 
  3. Unlimited Sponsorship Opportunities. In a printed program, event organizers are often limited to a specific number of sponsors. Rent iPads and get creative on event sponsorship for every session, networking event, and/or even logo the iPad itself!
  4. Property and Exhibitor Floor Map. On tablet technology, you can post the map of the meeting venue, hotel, and trade show floor. There are even GPS applications out there that will take you directly to the exhibitor booth you are looking for.
  5. Interactive Concierge Services. Through the use of Internet applications, such as CitySearch, Yelp, or TripAdvisor, attendees can learn more about restaurants and local attractions. 
  6. Many applications are easy-to-use and affordable. Meeting applications are becoming more intuitive and cost-efficient, especially compared to the cost of designing, laying out, printing, and assembling meeting materials. Don’t forget to take into consideration your time and the time of your staff in putting together printed materials. MeetingApps is a great way to get started, with a listing of over 1,000 applications.
  7. Rent iPads to produce a green meeting. Tablets reduce most paper and require a lot less energy output than a laptop. Battery life can be up to 10 hours most tablets are very lightweight. In addition, paper can be elimated entirely or vastly reduced. 
  8. Taking notes is easy. Attendees can take notes right on the iPad and email those notes to their email account for viewing or printing at a later time.  

AV Event Solutions, has first- and second-generation iPads available to rent. Using their express quote form, you can find simple, affordable, and customized offerings that will be fully supported by AV Event Solutions knowledgeable technicians and project managers. 

7 PowerPoint Trends to Make Your Message Stand Out
Dec 16, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

PowerPoint presentations are evolving just as technology is. Due to increased bandwidth and the availability of more powerful presentation services audio visual equipment, PowerPoint presentations no longer need to be dull and boring. Below are some emerging trends in the presentation arena.

Light Backgrounds Are Back In

When PowerPoint software first became available 20 years ago, everyone had white backgrounds with black text. Somewhere along the way, we felt the need to make our backgrounds dark with white or light text. Now, we are back where we started. Sort of. Light backgrounds, not neccessarily white, with dark text represent a fresher, more relaxed design. 

No More Bullets

Small headlines and good graphics can tell the story. Less is more. After all, the slide is only supposed to aid the presenter in their talk, not tell the whole story. Here’s a good example of slides highlighting that the obesity epidemic is a recent phenomenon.

PowerPoint Presentation Slide

Photos are In, Clip Art is Out

Clip Art was the way to go for many years, but now it is dead with the ability to access millions of quality photos through an asundry of sites. Some of the more common quality photo sites are  iStockphoto and Photoshop. Professional photos create a look and feel that audience members can connect with because it shows people just like them. 

Video Clips are Expected

It used to be that video clips within a PowerPoint presentation was not possible because of the limited bandwidth of the venue which in turn created huge buffering problems and made for many awkward silences. With the ability to rent Wi-Fi network arrays which give the network a tremendous boost, this is no longer an issue. Presenters can easily move from PowerPoint to video and to the Internet with ease and speed. 

Rent iPads as personalized presentation product

The iPad can integrate text, graphics, video, audio, and interactivity — all on one little thin tablet. Through the use of the product SlideShark, Powerpoint presentations can be viewed on the iPad, while preserving the color and automation of the slides. Keynote, presentation software for the iPad, allows for the creation of Powerpoint-like presentations that can be saved on the iCloud and viewed on mulitple iPads. 

Cloudware is where it is at

All PowerPoint presentations at your conference should be uploaded to Slideshare or Google Docs so attendees can view the presentation at a later date. In addition, many presentations can be recorded and uploaded to YouTube

Plasma Display rentals replace screen rentals

HD Plasma TVs make Powerpoint presentations pop versus standard tripod screens. The wider screen allows for better viewing by participants, including videos and photographs.

AV Event Solutions is a California meeting equipment supplier can provide you with state-of-the-art LCD projectors, Plasma TVs, iPads, and Wi-Fi network arrays. Give them a call today!

How to Reach the Introverted Attendee
Dec 14, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

introvertEvent organizers know when attendees fully participate and enjoy the conference, they are most likely to return the following year. In addition, the attendee’s manager expects a reasonable return on investment, which equate to, many business cards and sustainable leads. This is not a problem for the extroverted attendee, but what about those introverts? How can they achieve the same results?

Lets define the personality traits of both an extrovert and introvert and identify some ways to engage the introvert at a conference so they can justify their attendance and, hopefully, return each and every year.


  •  are interested in what is happening around them
  •  are open and often talkative
  •  like action and initiative
  •  easily make new friends or adapt to a new group

Extroverts in a conference or meeting are great at…

  • assessing the energy in the room
  • asking the speaker or facilitator a lot of questions
  • participating in interactive sessions
  • being the meeting ambassador or greeter
  • networking


  • are reserved, quiet, and thoughtful
  • have difficulties in making new contacts
  • like concentration and quiet
  • work well alone

Introverts in a conference or meeting setting are great at…

  • listening to the speaker and taking copious notes
  • one-on-one conversations
  • participating anonymously in the session
  • updating their social media profiles
  • following a structured schedule

So, in a conference or event that attracts hundreds, if not thousands of people, how do you keep the introvert engaged without overwhelming them? Here are some tips and techniques to keep them involved:


  • Encourage them to participate with social media and/or ask them to be a guest blogger to promote the event. 
  • Create an online community where all attendees can introduce themselves to each other and start to network virtually.
  • Post all the breakout sessions, general sessions, and networking events on your website and have attendees create their customized schedule. 

Educational Sessions

  • Assign an extroverted mentor to the attendee. Make certain they can be together especially during networking events.
  • Rent iPads for each attendee and preload all presentations and other pertinent applications onto it. Attendees can take notes from the iPad and email those notes back to the office. They can also tweet questions and comments to the speaker and/or event organizer.
  • Wireless Audience Response Systems allow for anonymous polling of the session content and evaluation of the meeting.
  • Placing computer kiosks in the hallway or foyer of the conference center allows the introverted attendee to gather information about the sessions while alone or during quiet times.
  • Have some sessions where attendees are paired up with one other person to complete an exercise.

Networking Events

  • Have extroverted ambassadors at the door or entrance of the event to greet attendees. 
  • Have structure to the event, such as networking discussion tables or icebreakers.

AV Event Solutions provides 1st and 2nd generation iPads, ARS units, kiosk rentals, and wireless network array rentals for organizations and associations in California. Give them a call today or check out their website for quick quote turnaround.

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