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The Secret to Making Your Next Big Meeting a Success
Big Meeting pic
Sep 26, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Meetings. We all have them. No matter what business or industry we’re in, meetings seem to be a fact of the working life. And if you want those meetings to be productive, the key is to make sure that those attending are going to be engaged with the people, the process, and the material.

Microsoft conducted a survey of businesses several years ago and found that people spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings; 71 percent of American employees reported that these meetings “aren’t very productive.”1

Whether your meeting runs for several hours or several days, there are many ways to ensure that your meetings are productive and attendees stay engaged from start to finish. To lay a solid foundation, your meetings should include:

  • Good meeting basics
  • An engaging agenda
  • The right technology

 

Meeting Basics

To Begin:

  • Make sure the meeting is necessary. Whether you’re holding an association sales meeting, training seminar, sales meeting, convention, or other corporate event, meetings need to add value in order for attendees to feel attending them is time well spent.
  • Distribute key materials ahead of time. Make sure attendees receive agendas and other important supporting documentation ahead of time.
  • Start on time. This should go without saying yet delayed starts happen frequently. You don’t want to get things started late or you’ll already have people in a non-positive frame of mind. So plan enough time to handle all those last minute issues which will surely arise.

During:

  • Encourage individual thinking and seek opinions from everyone. Nothing gets people to tune out faster than a one-way conversation. Make sure you create an atmosphere that encourages even the shyer participants to speak up.
  • Stay on track. Keep meeting goals in mind and have a facilitator who is able to steer groups away from personal conflicts. Redirect back to goals and desired outcome as needed.
  • Put the right people in charge. Running a successful meeting is a skill set that is not possessed by everyone. You want to select people that you can count on to produce the desired results.
  • Have the right resources and technology on hand (see “The Right Technology” section below). The last thing you want is to lose valuable meeting time because everything comes to a halt due to improper or poorly functioning technology.

To Finish:

  • Summarize. As your meeting draws to an end, do a summary of what was accomplished. Even if your meeting dealt with less-than-pleasant topics, it’s important to find something positive so that everyone leaves with some enthusiasm.
  • End on time, or earlier. Just as it’s important to start on time, it’s equally important to finish when you’re scheduled to finish so that attendees can get on with their day. Ending early is often a pleasant surprise to attendees.

 

Create an Engaging Agenda for Your Meeting

A little planning will go a long way when it comes to creating an effective agenda. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

  • Seek to add value at every turn. A good agenda begins with only having people attend who have interest in the topic and believe their time spent at the meeting was worth it. On the flip side, eliminate topics that are of no interest to the people attending.
  • People like to know what to expect . Everyone involved should have a clear idea of the purpose of the meeting and the purpose and goals should be built right into the agenda for everyone to see.
  • Give them heads up on outlet availability. Let them know ahead of time what kind of technology will be used or provided and the availability of PDUs for plugging in devices. The last thing you want is for attendees to arrive with technology that they won’t be able to use.
  • Build in plenty of discussion time. Talking and brainstorming creative ideas and solutions are great ways to get things moving and to get everyone excited.
  • Takeaways. Make sure the agenda allows for discussions to end with an action plan. With no plan of action all those new great ideas won’t go to the next stage.

 

The Right Meeting Technology

One of the biggest meeting killers is technology gone wrong. Even if everything else has been well thought out and planned, if you find yourself struggling with the technology or it stops working just when the discussions are in full flow, you’re going to have a hard time salvaging your meeting.

  • Get the right equipment! Meetings can call for specific types of equipment. Maybe you need iPads for everyone or even charging stations so everyone can keep their technology going. You may not have what you need in stock, or you simply may not want to deal with the headaches of needing to configure a variety of personal equipment when people bring in their own. That’s why we offer technology rentals for meetings.
  • WiFi. You must have guaranteed WiFi that suits your meeting and attendee needs. Whether your meeting is at the office of offsite, this is not the place to cut budget.
  • Bring in the experts. Make sure your tech equipment is ready to go. If you have not hired a company such as SmartSource to stay on top of your technology, then make sure everything is set up and double checked for issues.
  • Never assume. Ensure that everyone who is going to be using the technology knows how to use it. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to use an iPad, for example. If they don’t all know how to use whatever technology is needed, either provide training ahead of time or have technicians on hand to assist them and make sure adequate agenda time is provided.
  • Have the resources on hand to keep your technology going. You know from your own computers that technology doesn’t always function the way you planned. This means you need people at your meeting who can manage and troubleshoot any unforeseen issues

SmartSource provides technology rentals for meetings. We are equipped to handle everything from single room set up, to multi-locale, simultaneously occurring product launch events and sophisticated events that include staging, lighting and large sound systems for 1000s of employees.

Give us a call at 800-888-8686 and lay that groundwork to engaging and successful meeting.

Resources

  1. http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/5-steps-to-great-meetings.html

 

Enhance Your Event with our Extensive Kiosk Rental Selection
iPad Kiosks
Sep 24, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Touch screen kiosks are one of today’s best interactive tools for elevating any event. Our cost effective cutting-edge trade show kiosk rentals allow you to easily promote business, exchange information, provide services and improve attendee experience, in literally thousands of ways.

But we don’t stop at just providing you with the best equipment on the market. What really sets SmartSource Rentals apart is our unparalleled service and customer support.

Touch Screen Kiosks are the Ideal Technology for:

  • Conventions, Tradeshows, and Corporate Events
  • Sponsorship Promotion
  • Self-Service Registration
  • Exhibitor Locator Stations
  • Cyber Cafés
  • Social Media Lounges
  • Lead Retrieval Systems
  • Interactive Sitemaps
  • Event Promotion
  • Presentations
  • Digital Signage
  • and More!

Touch screen kiosks offer that perfect innovative blend of interactivity, fun, and effectiveness.

Ready to get your Kiosk Rental Quote

Learn more about tradeshow kiosks and how they can help you succeed at your next event by watching our Cyber Cafe Video or viewing these articles:

SmartSource can offer you the best kiosk rental solutions for your needs, including custom programming and incredible customer service.

We are ready to provide you with your Touch Screen Kiosk Rental Quote so contact us today!

Technology and Tips for a Winning Legal War Room
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Sep 22, 2015 by Karen Daniels

As an attorney or a paralegal, you know that an efficient and effective war room can be one of the primary keys to winning a legal case. And because the stakes are so high, reliable technology is vital during the preparation phase, as well as during a trial.

The reality is that the pre-trial preparation time for a large case can create a great deal of stress for everyone involved. The last thing you need is the added difficulties that come from technology which fails to perform as needed.

Your firm may not have all the resources on hand to properly set up a situation room, especially during a large trial when both your human and technology resources can be stretched to breaking.

In addition, for many lawyers taking the time to fully understand all the technologies out there is, understandably, not at the top of their list:

“Despite the rapid advancements of technology and the undeniable effects of internet-based and mobile technology on the business world, many lawyers have continued with business as usual.” Today’s Tech: How Lawyers Actually Use Technology

But not to worry. SmartSource Rentals is here to help you with your war room technology. We know that no two trials are alike and understand that the right equipment is essential for the running and management of an efficient war room.

To make sure your technological capacity is up to par, keep in mind that that an effective and properly set up war room is most often designed for a specific project and will likely require a broad range of technology equipment and capabilities such as:

  • computers, touch screens
  • high quality Internet
  • easy-to-use computer networking
  • audio visual and other presentation equipment
  • the ability to conference with and without video
  • printers and copiers
  • display screens
  • phones, FAX machines, scanners

Because each situation room must meet the demands of that specific project it makes sense that you would need to bring on additional equipment and technology expertise. At SmartSource, we will help you customize your war room to completely suit your needs. For example, we can fine tune the audio visual system to selectively include only relevant participants from certain visual presentations.

Every trial demands its own approach and your war room should always support those unique needs.

War Room Tips so Your Legal Staff is at Their Best

Since one of the primary purposes of a situation room is to help your trial team collaborate and prepare for the courtroom, this is not the time to cut corners. Not only do you need to ensure that you have all the proper legal technology, you also need to provide all those essentials that the staff may need during their long work hours.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help ensure that your war room is also responsive to the human factor:

  • Locate your war room as close to the court house as possible
  • Visit the location before set up so you are certain the space will work well
  • Know where all nearby copy and office supply stores are located
  • Secure a caterer, supply healthy food and drinks for the staff
  • Have a list of all restaurants that will deliver food
  • Create a map with flags for restaurants, supply and copy stories, and anything else that might be needed, such as pharmacies
  • Provide the comforts people need to perform their best, such as a place to rest, work alone, or to get a workout
  • Know your delivery options for packages and vital information
  • Ensure comfortable ergonomic seating is available
  • Plan a celebration for when you win the trial
  • Keep morale up by reminding staff this is more than just a job
  • Be flexible and allow for new approaches
  • EXPECT and plan for the occasional crisis and know how your team will handle it
  • Have high-ranking firm employees pop in to give pats on the back – appreciation is key
  • Seek ways to foster strong group kinship

SmartSource provides rentals to properly set up your war room plus we offer complete technical support for all your war room equipment to ensure optimal performance.

Give us a call at 800-888-8686 to learn more about what we can offer your firm, or request a quote today.

Ask the Experts: How Do I Customize and Optimize a Video Wall?
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Sep 15, 2015 by Anonymous

Certainly, Video Walls get a lot of exposure and attention; with their large-scale (to put it mildly, in some cases) format, they are literally designed to capture the eyes and minds of every attendee that passes. However, behind the scenes, there is a great deal more work involved than simply bigger is better. How can Event Planners ensure that their video wall rental is the right fit for their circumstances—that the installation makes the most of this technology’s potential?

Portrait or Landscape?

As a linked configuration of individual screens, one of the first questions that an Event Planner may ask is whether they want to hold with the conventional orientation (landscape) or break with tradition—surprising attendees with the unexpected. Most of us have high-resolution widescreen televisions in our homes, but they’re NEVER used in portraitpositioning. Oftentimes, this split-second reaction—recognizing something familiar, but in an unfamiliar usage—is enough to catch our notice; from there, your incredible content can do its work!

Pick a Grid . . . Any Grid!

Video walls are installed upon ANY grid formation, beginning with 2×2. Our account executives and technical advisors are accustomed to offering up the ideal suggestions for an individual business’ signage needs. These professionals can easily assist with the following questions that lead to an optimized product, placement, and installation for the content that needs to be presented:

  • What is the size of the viewing area?
  • What are the dimensions of the display space?
  • What content will be delivered, and what is the source of this content?
  • What are the format and dimensions of the display material?
  • What configuration offers the best viewing arrangement?
  • What installation practices are needed for the precise setting?

Here are just a few of the locations and circumstances that are enhanced by video walls:

  • Corporate conference rooms
  • Educational settings
  • Government locations
  • Hotels
  • Entertainment venues
  • Video conferencing settings
  • Healthcare applications
  • Broadcasting
  • Board Rooms
  • Retail establishments
  • Product launches
  • Trade Shows

Scalability is Paramount

Selecting the orientation, size, and configuration can be fun and creative—then it’s time to let the experts take over, making certain that the precise content is displayed to the utmost advantage. Seamless LED/LCD video walls are scalable, so they can be adapted in many ways—delivering the ideal performance for any application. With a wide selection of individual screens to comprise the seamless video wall, there is a vast selection of options that work to customize the appearance of the screen as a whole.

Most importantly, a video wall requires the right server (or servers) and software, both of which must be designed to handle and support multiple screens; furthermore, the system needs to accept diverse input types, such as VGA, DVI, HDMI, Display Port, Component HD, and Standard definition devices—allowing for full control over your images from any source or location, at any size, or at any point in the video wall.

Video wall controls should be user-friendly and offer an extremely intuitive interface—allowing a presenter to regulate the content at their discretion; however, considering the natural complexity of having multiple screens acting as a single unit, it’s wise to have any video wall display programmed by an expert. Just as a single excellent image portrayed across a video wall makes a huge impact, unfortunately, mistakes made upon a video wall make a big impact as well. The content displayed will play out on a grand scale—be certain that you have expert advice to ensure that your content reveals itself in perfection!

Video Wall Displays – Is it Smarter to Rent or Buy?
3x3_video_wall_0095_med1
Sep 01, 2015 by Karen Daniels

SmartSource Rentals was originally founded in 1984 under the name Rent-a-PC, Inc. And during our more than 30 years of business we’ve had plenty of time to not only becomes experts in technology and how to help you best use it to your advantage, but also to understand  the technology issues companies struggle with most.

Every company is faced, at one time or another, with the question of whether it’s going to be smarter to rent or buy technology equipment.

And we know that the specific equipment you are considering, and what you are going to use that equipment for, are key components in answering that question.

The first article in our “Smarter to Rent or Buy” series, talks about the specifics of the Touch Screen Kiosk and what factors to consider in order to make your rent vs. buy decision.

This article’s focus is on Video Wall Displays, and the particulars you should consider in determining which route is going to be better for your company.

Video Wall Displays are one of those high-impact technologies that, when done right, grab immediate attention and give you the ability, literally, to have your brand up in lights. 

Video Wall Displays

A Video Wall Display is created by arranging multiple monitors on a wall. Part of the reason video walls can provide such high impact is the potential sheer size also the versatility. What makes a Video Wall Display so versatile?

  • A video wall display does not have to be designed by lining up the monitors so that they form a simple large rectangle. This can be an artistic endeavor and the display can be arranged in any configuration to create your desired effect.
  • The monitors can be configured so that together they act as one large screen.
  • The monitors can be programmed to act independently for a variety of effects.  

 

When it’s Smarter to Buy Your Video Wall Display

There are situations when it might be more cost effective for you to consider purchasing what you need for a video wall.

When should you consider buying?

  • Your IT department has the time and resources to take on new project.
  • Your IT department has the in house designers and programmers willing and able to learn and develop the necessary skills.
  • You are going to use the video wall in one spot to highlight your brand.
  • You need a single installation video wall in a certain location, for instance, the front entry of your business.
  • You are going to use your video wall to display a single consistent message, such a welcome message.
  • You exhibit at events frequently, perhaps 15+ times per year, so new viewers can see the message/images enable you to program once and use the content for a long period of time. In this way, your booth size can always support the video wall.
  • You are going to use the display as an unchanging center piece. An example of this would be at an airport, or other high traffic location, that provides a steady stream of new viewers that do not require frequent new programming. When it’s Smarter to Rent Your Video Wall Display

Video walls are probably more complicated than you think. Since an effective video wall display is not created simply by putting up one picture or image that is then divided up, the programming can be quite complex.

You should rent your Video Wall Display equipment when:

  • Your IT department does not have the skillset to support multiple monitors that need color calibration and programming. You are no doubt aware how much work your IT department has to put in to maintaining and programming the computers and monitors your employees use every day. Now imagine the skillset it requires to create an effective, synchronized, Video Wall Display.
  • You like to create a high impact at events, so you need to regularly adjust your message and images for different events or customers.
  • You go to events and exhibit on an infrequent basis.
  • The size of your exhibit booth changes.
  • What you will need your video wall display to accomplish will change depending on the event and/or audience.
  • You want to have a devoted team of designers and programmers that already have the skillset needed to program and color calibrate the monitors.
  • You want to experiment with display layout and programming in order to determine what is going to best help you hit your company goals.
  • Your IT department does not have the time or resources to take on the project.

We love technology. And knowing all the great things technology can do for your company means you probably do too. That’s why at SmartSource Rentals we’ve made it our mission to exceed your expectations when it comes to renting computer, audio visual and interactive technology. We are always happy to answer questions, even when it comes to deciding whether it’s better for you to rent or buy. Contact us today.

 

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