POWERFUL Presentations

A modern day data presentation can inspire your audience, turn them off or even worse send them to sleep. The events team at Mercian Events looks at how presentations are changing … … for the better. 

"audiences are now expecting presentations to include multiple media sources encompassing live streamed video, text based documents and high quality imagery."

Presentations are the cornerstone of any conference related to sales, education, pharmaceuticals, finance, health, politics, law, security you name it, they all rely on presentations to impart information, results, opinions, facts.

Ultimately it’s how professionals make some of their most lasting impressions in their respective industries and professions.

Strange as it might seem in this day and age, after almost 30 years of PowerPoint, presentations are evolving.

Audiences today expect high standards of images, videos, charts and composition to keep them engaged and interested. To cater for these high standards manufactures have invested in developing solutions which help all organisations to truly capture the attention of audiences whether that is via delegate interactivity or collation.

Whilst there is a technological revolution taking place all around us many still rely on the old methods of preparation and delivery for their most important messages. Why is this? and what does the future of presenting at conferences going to look like?

As we have already said PowerPoint has been around for nearly 30 years. True is has gone through several updates, much to everyone’s annoyance. No sooner had one mastered the quirks of one version then the next update appeared and the learning process had to start all over again, some call this progress.

Whatever version you used the end results were similar and predictable. Why? Was it because the compilation of a new presentation was left to the last minute with the presenter too busy to think through his/her time in front of an audience, with “well it will be alright on the day” attitude or is it a matter of “I will use the same presentation I used six months ago at another conference”.

Many presenters fail to put themselves in the position of their audience
whilst preparing their presentations, failing to take into account what their images look like on a large screen, what appears fine on a laptop screen bears no relation to what appears on a projection screen 12’ wide.

To produce quality on the conference projection screen one must put quality into the presentation to start with, clips from you tube and other such media must be of the highest quality, nothing else will do, remember “ if you put rubbish in you will only get rubbish out.”

Also, hard-working secretaries are often used as a last resort to compile presentation programmes for their bosses, this might be fine for a meeting in the boardroom but not for a conference and large screen projection.

Modern technology must be foremost in the minds of those given the task of presenting at future live event such as a conference. The quality, variance, choice of movie or still inserts, transitions and the ability of accessing live material at will during a presentation must be used to good effect, no longer the plod from boring slide to boring slide.

Ultra-high definition and HTML5 now pervade every walk of life, it’s vital that all presenters in future match and where possible use these new developments to good effect, enliven and inspiring their audiences with creative and imaginative presentations.

Recently we have seen the introduction of several solutions that can merge content from as many as 10 sources onto one screen and make the objective of engaging delegates easier than ever. Through this dedicated software presenters are empowered to capture and hold the attention of audiences by delivering attention grabbing and memorable presentations.

Perhaps the day has come when presenters will have to bite the bullet and pay for professional multimedia service providers to create their presentations for them rather than cobbling together some slides themselves or leaving it to their long suffering PAs or secretaries.

Mercian Events explains how delegate interaction devices, such as iPads, are now used at conferences and other live events

iPad Event Solutions Overview

It is only to be expected with such an innovative, flexible and highly popular item as the Apple iPad, which has now established itself in both the commercial and domestic markets that we are constantly asked how this amazing piece of kit can be used at a conference. All too frequently delegates at a conference sit and listen rather than participate in a constructive way. By using an iPad intelligently there are plenty of ways that delegates can be involved, thus enhancing the many benefit gain from bring people together and justifying the costs involved.

In order to assist our clients understanding of how iPads can be used we have prepared the following summary of its possible uses.
Proven Track Record

A nimble approach and customisation are key elements to our solution’s success. Our approach is to fully understand the purpose and messaging of an event and build a solution that reinforces this.

Using technology for technologies sake is not our approach. We have testimonials and references are available on request.

Types of Implementation
Our iPad event solutions are used in a variety of meeting formats such as each delegate receives an individual iPads to a cabaret style format where the iPad is shared amongst delegates. Our solution takes both formats into consideration and we work with our client to plan the various types of interaction and identify how this technology can add value to the meeting.

Stream Microsoft PowerPoint
PowerPoint can be streamed live to delegate iPads, this is very useful where detailed information is contained within slides, to aid viewing, and to engage delegates to the contents. The system also has the ability to stream other Microsoft Office documents live. There is also the added ability to stream PowerPoint in different languages simultaneously.
ipadsView previously presented PowerPoints
The default option and an alternative to streaming enables delegates to view presented PowerPoint only after each live presentation has finished. The ability to enable access can be controlled throughout the day. The benefit of this approach is that it helps keep the delegates engaged with the speaker and stage.

Ask a Question
From each iPad this function gives each delegate the option to ask questions either throughout the day or specifically during a Q&A session. Questions can be general or addressed to a specific topic or speaker.

Post a Comment
From each iPad delegates are able to post comments throughout the day. This is a great mechanism to get instant feedback and suggestions from the delegation.

Interactive Voting
Keep a conference energised and gain useful insight with Interactive voting and polling. Options include multiple choice and 1-10 rating. iPad voting is a superior offering to traditional handset solutions.

Voting results
As voting takes place the results are dynamically displayed onto each iPad and can also be displayed onto the main event screen.

View Agenda
The event schedule will be available throughout the day via the iPads.

View Table Plan
Where do I sit? Delegates will be able to see where their table is.

Note taking
Delegates will have the ability to take notes during the event. Post event these notes are then given to the client to forward to the delegate alongside any other relevant material.

Desktop Branding
The iPad’s desktop is changed to reflex the theme of the conference. We will incorporate the client’s logo or event logo into the iPad’s eco system.

Icon Branding
As with desktop branding all solution icons are changed to reflect event branding. Delegates will certainly know that the iPad belongs to the event.

External Branding
Additional branding can be affixed to the back of the iPad for a custom finish. This can be used to reinforce corporate messaging and with this added space sponsors could also be included.

Event Material
Other events material can be included within the iPad solution such as sales hand outs, case studies, promotional videos etc. This can be integrated into breakout sessions for example.

Speaker biographies and photo can be included onto the solution.

Pre & Post Event Questionnaire & Feedback
The iPad is a fantastic way to capture information both pre and post event. As part of our solution we can help build a questionnaire to gauge opinion and solicit permissions.

Extended Event Eco-System
An extended easy to use navigation system can also be created for additional event material with client branding.

Comments Wall
Delegates throughout the day can post comments. Our system enables those comments to feed into a twitter style wall which can be displayed on the main event screen or dedicated LED/Plasma screens

Question Wall
Delegates are often encouraged to ask questions throughout the day. Our system enables those questions to feed onto a delegated question wall which can be displayed during Q&A sessions.

All posted questions and comments can be moderated by the client.

Wi Fi Setup
The iPads are connected to the solution via a dedicated wireless network. Our engineers create a network that will support its usage. An onsite audit ensures that the configuration will not be affected by other Wi Fi networks deployed.

Load Tested
Our solution has been load tested to give our clients the peace of mind that their event is run on a robust system. Every change made in development is then load tested to ensure continuous quality of service.

Onsite Support
Full onsite support is provided. We work directly with the client and wider events team to ensure we are familiarised with the running order both front of house and technically.

Project Management
All solutions begin with project management. This ensures a rich exchange of information, sound board suggestions, and crucially de-risking the event by asking and probing all possibilities to ensure a seamless and successful conference.

Onsite support and our nimble solution enable our clients to request some changes before and during an event. This is usually minimised due to robust project management.

Offline Solution
This solution does not require an internet connection in order to function. Everything is stored locally on the event solution server. This ensures confidentially, compliance and brand security. Internet connections can be unreliable and thus our solution mitigates this risk.

Chairman Chat
Communicating to front of house during an event usually involves using radio mics however utilising this iPad solution enables robust communication combined with content.

We work alongside our clients to incorporate competition where applicable such as a tally of most questions asked.

Breakout Planning
Through our consultative approach we work alongside our clients to create engaging breakout sessions and where appropriate the iPads are used.

After each event we feedback to the client all the comments made, the questions asked and the results from any voting sessions.

QR Code Reader App
The iPads can include a QR code reader which can be used to link to specific messages to reinforce the message during breakouts for instance.

Airplay & Clicker Use
We can incorporate airplay to enable presenters to directly send imaged PowerPoint slides onto a screen. Although this isn’t usually used for the main event, it’s often been deployed by sales promoters or breakout sessions for micro-presentations. An iPad can also be used as a PowerPoint clicker / advancer should a presenter wish to have an iPad on stage.

iPad Floor Stands & Accessories
Although the majority of deployed iPads will be with delegates we can also include a number of accessories such as iPad floor stands. This can be used for delegate registration / check-in or for the display of event material, feedback and questionnaires.

iPad Collage Wall
iPads can be assembled together before or event an event to form a collage which reinforces the event message.

Minimum Disruption
Keyboard clicks, camera audio and other settings are muted for minimum disruption during the event.

Photo and Video Capture
The iPads have a built in camera which can be used by delegates to take photos and videos throughout the day. This can then be uploaded onto our server for use during or post event.

Rich App Integration
As part of an overall event solution it will be possible to enable delegates to use iPad Apps and the internet during the non-formal element of an event such as during the evening and weekend social time. This could include online newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. This falls outside of the formal element of a conference solution but is a consideration.

Choosing your conference’s tag line is critical as it provides the centrepiece idea from which the conference presenters will focus on. They must reinforce the key messages of the event that will be a clear call to action when everyone leaves.

It is a challenge to continually come up with great conference themes. We have compiled a list of some themes we have seen over the years for your consideration.

We hope they will alleviate some of the anxiety this problem can cause to those given the responsibility of pulling a conference together.

Our new conference themes updated on 26 Feb 2020

Creating Customer Connections
Creating Connections – Building Bridges
Challenge Yourself
Develop the Possibilities
Do Great Things
Don’t Stop Believing
Embrace the Future/Seek Our Opportunities
Exceeding the Vision
Expanding the Possibilities
Explore the Possibilities
Facing the Future – Together
Facing the Challenges Ahead
Leading the Way

A World of Opportunities
A Whole New World
A Celebration of Success
A Spectrum of Opportunities
All Systems Go
Anything is Possible
Back to the Future
Back on Top
Be Extraordinary
Breakthrough Performance

Charting the RIGHT Course
Customer Focus

Creating Momentum
Driving Forward
Focus on Success
Focus on the Future
Gaining the Edge
Innovate, Integrate, Motivate
In It to Win It
Leadership – Share the Vision
Leadership:Guiding the Way to the Future
Leadership: Sharing the Vision

Breakthrough to Excellence
Building on the Best
Building Down Barriers
Beyond All Limits
Better All Limits
Better and Consistent
Beat (name of biggest competitor)
Become Agents of Change
Breaking Down Barriers
Commitment to Excellence

We update our idea list frequently, contact us if you’d like to receive the notice for updates. 

Today, we believe in creative and innovative events for important and informative VIP Meetings, Conferences, Road Shows, Product Launches, Awards and other live events for Businesses, Organisations, Local and National Government Departments, Charities, Industry and Corporations. 

For the second year running, the two specialist teams joined forces to produce the Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards 2019 on behalf of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council at the Treetops Pavilion West Midland Safari Park.

confetti burst

Gathering together for the black-tie event, very ably hosted by Paralympic Gold Medallist, Marc Woods, were 320 guests including 28 of the county’s best apprentices, apprenticeship employers, career leads, schools and training providers.

Mercian created the perfect atmosphere with bespoke staging, sound and lighting built around the client’s branding incorporating mood lighting and welcome screens in the main entrance, a 86-inch plasma showing the table plan, two large rear projection screens on either side of the stage connected to central repeater screens which showcased the pre-recorded videos, social media feeds, finalists and winners throughout the night. The organising team were able to communicate discreetly using a radio microphone headset system to ensure a slick production.

“This year, the client requested singing waiters during the dessert course of the meal which certainly added additional energy and saw a number of guests dancing on the stage – something we had not envisaged,” recalled Ben McCaffery, Mercian’s Director of Events. “It definitely added to the heightening excitement of the evening!”

Entrance monitors

The awards proceedings finished with a bang as bursts of confetti were set off to a rapturous applause for the overall winners Phosters Ltd and Thomas Smith of DRPG.

Rose Padmore, Founding Director of Opening Doors and Venues, the appointed conference and event organisers, said “The OD&V team are incredibly proud to have, once again, project-managed and delivered a fabulous Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards supported so ably by Mercian Events. We love working with the Mercian Team because nothing is ever too much for them and their desire to exceed a client’s expectations is equal to our own.”

Keith Istead, Director of Mercian Events added “We have worked seamlessly with the OD&V team for many years now, and as such, we are able to produce conferences and awards events which really hit the mark for the client.”

For further details about Mercian Events Ltd tel: 01905 726665.

Conference production specialists Mercian Events Ltd celebrate another fantastic awards evening in Worcestershire working alongside Opening Doors & Venues Limited.

For the second year running, the two specialist teams joined forces to produce the Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards 2019 on behalf of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council at the Treetops Pavilion West Midland Safari Park.

confetti burst

Gathering together for the black-tie event, very ably hosted by Paralympic Gold Medallist, Marc Woods, were 320 guests including 28 of the county’s best apprentices, apprenticeship employers, career leads, schools and training providers.

Mercian created the perfect atmosphere with bespoke staging, sound and lighting built around the client’s branding incorporating mood lighting and welcome screens in the main entrance, a 86-inch plasma showing the table plan, two large rear projection screens on either side of the stage connected to central repeater screens which showcased the pre-recorded videos, social media feeds, finalists and winners throughout the night. The organising team were able to communicate discreetly using a radio microphone headset system to ensure a slick production.

“This year, the client requested singing waiters during the dessert course of the meal which certainly added additional energy and saw a number of guests dancing on the stage – something we had not envisaged,” recalled Ben McCaffery, Mercian’s Director of Events. “It definitely added to the heightening excitement of the evening!”

Entrance monitors

The awards proceedings finished with a bang as bursts of confetti were set off to a rapturous applause for the overall winners Phosters Ltd and Thomas Smith of DRPG.

Rose Padmore, Founding Director of Opening Doors and Venues, the appointed conference and event organisers, said “The OD&V team are incredibly proud to have, once again, project-managed and delivered a fabulous Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards supported so ably by Mercian Events. We love working with the Mercian Team because nothing is ever too much for them and their desire to exceed a client’s expectations is equal to our own.”

Keith Istead, Director of Mercian Events added “We have worked seamlessly with the OD&V team for many years now, and as such, we are able to produce conferences and awards events which really hit the mark for the client.”

For further details about Mercian Events Ltd tel: 01905 726665.

New innovative 86″ LED smart screen added to our hire stock

Probably one of the largest TV Monitors in the area has just arrived at the leading AV Equipment supplier – Mercian Events Ltd.

Mercian Events is a Conference and Events equipment specialist based in Worcester supplying top class audiovisual services to the whole of the West Midlands and Greater Birmingham.

These super large monitors are the latest addition to their already extensive range of AV & Presentation Equipment hire stock. Officially it is an 86” Smart LED screen measuring 75” wide by 43” high.

These 86” monitors can be connected to a computer or a pre-recorded USB memory stick to provide crystal clear 4K images perfect for audiences of 60/80 people. They can also be used for viewing major events broadcast on TV.

A specially designed floor stand is used to safely support these monitors once they are in position, and come complete with the built-in capability to adjust the height of the monitor via a handheld remote control to optimism its viewing position.

Director Tim Istead says these new monitors are very much the future and will be used at major venues around the West Midlands and at conferences supplied by Mercian Events throughout the UK.

(For further details contact Tim Istead – 01905 726 665)

Whether you’re hosting a large-scale conference, an award ceremony or a public speaking event, you’ll know how important it is to ensure that your event is planned to perfection down to the very last detail. 

While those details are no doubt essential, it’s even more imperative to make sure that you have the basics sorted well in advance of your event. Choosing your perfect venue and arranging the schedule of the day, of course, go without saying.  However, it’s also worthwhile to think about what audio-visual equipment you will need in advance of your event too. 

Your audio and visual requirements will have a significant impact on a variety of decisions you will need to make. From the venue to your guest speakers, it’s important to think carefully about what technology you will need. To help get you started, we’ve put together some of the best equipment for different types of events. 

Audio Visual Equipment For Conferences

Most conferences follow a similar format. Your guests will usually be seated in a theatre or banquet style (although classroom or u-shapes can be popular too), with your speakers presenting from a stage or area towards one side of the room. 

audio visual equipment for conferences

When choosing your audio-visual equipment, remember that the purpose of conferences is to inform your guests. While there may be activities that your guests partake in (for example, team building or group exercises), the main intent of an event such as this is to help your guests learn more about a particular topic through guest speakers or lecturers. 

With this in mind, it is essential that your audio-visual equipment is clear, easy to see or hear and reliable. You won’t want to skimp on audiovisual equipment hire for this type of event.

Best audio equipment

image of audio visual equipment

PA Systems

PA systems typically include microphones, amplifiers, speakers, mixers and related equipment. They ensure that your speakers can be heard by all your attendees with ease. 

The type of PA system you need for your event will depend on the size of your conference and the venue in which it is held. You may also want to think about your presenter’s preferences. Some, for example, prefer a wireless microphone as it allows them to speak hands-free (which can be helpful if they need to use a remote to control their visuals).

Your venue may have an inbuilt PA system or it is possible to arrange for audio equipment hire too. 

Don’t forget to include induction loop systems in your list of audio equipment, particularly if you know that some of your attendees may be hard of hearing.


Speakers are often included in your PA system, but they really are an essential part of your conference set up, which is why we’re mentioning them again. 

When you choose your audio equipment, think about all the different sounds you might need to amplify. For example, will there be audio or visual components included in your guest speakers’ presentations? Do you want any additional music or audio to play elsewhere (for example, during registration or in breakout areas)? All of these will have an impact on the audio equipment you need.

Recording Equipment

You may wish to record your conference audio too. This can be helpful if you want to broadcast your conference content after your event has taken place (for example, as a podcast or video) or use it in future event marketing materials. 

It’s worth considering this ahead of time so that you can arrange for all the necessary equipment to be in place on the day.

Best visual equipment

conference visual equipment


Projectors are usually the visual equipment of choice for mid to large conference events. These are typically hooked up to a laptop and project the display onto a projection screen. 

There are a wide variety of projectors out there, so it will be important to choose yours carefully. If you know that your venue has an inbuilt system, it may be worth paying a visit to test the quality. If necessary, hire your own projector system to ensure that your conference attendees can see the screen clearly. After all, there’s nothing worse than a poorly visible presentation when attending a conference.

Projection Screens

As mentioned above, projection screens work in conjunction with projectors. Like with projector equipment, there are a wide variety of projection screens out there. 

When choosing one for your conference, there are a few key elements to think about – the most important of which is the size. Think about how many attendees are planned for your conference and select accordingly. Too small and the display won’t be easily visible from the back. Too large and the display may be overpowering for those near the front.

LED or Plasma Screens

For smaller conference gatherings, a projector and screen may not be necessary. LED or plasma screens (for example, similar to large home televisions) can function well in smaller venues. If your venue doesn’t have this visual technology in the room you choose, it is possible to hire screens like these for your event.

Other Equipment Required

laptops for conference events


Along with audio-visual equipment, it’s important not to forget about laptops. You’ll need at least one (if not more!) for your event to run successfully. Remember that cables and adapters can sometimes be problematic, so it may be worth hiring a laptop along with your projector or screen that is purpose-built for events.

Audio Visual Equipment For Award Ceremonies

tpn av hire

Award ceremonies are exciting events and can be a lot of fun to plan. Along with the entertainment, catering and theme décor, it will be important to think about the audio-visual equipment you will need too. These can really make or break an award ceremony event, so be sure to think about your requirements well in advance.

Best Audio Equipment

PA Systems

From announcing the winners to guest speakers, a good PA system is a must for your award ceremony. You may need a variety of different microphones too. For example, your hosts may prefer wireless microphones, with a handheld mic ready for award winners to give their thanks. This may take a bit of coordinating, so talk to your venue about what they’re able to offer you. If necessary, look into audio equipment hire that will support your event requirements.

Be sure that your speaker system is good quality too. You want your award winners able to hear when their name is announced!

di equipment for award ceremonies

DJ Equipment

Award ceremonies are typically followed by a party or similar celebratory event. A good DJ with the right equipment will help your party go off without a hitch. Many DJs bring their own equipment with them but may need tech support or even full systems depending on your venue’s existing set up. 

You may also want music to flow through the ceremony portion of your event. For example, do you want music to play while your winners walk to the stage to collect their award? Separate equipment may be required for this, so speak to your venue or a professional audio-visual equipment supplier to find out exactly what you need.

Best Visual Equipment

Projector And Screens

While some award ceremonies don’t need visual equipment, others are enhanced by a presentation screen. For example, it can be useful to display the names of nominees and the winners on the screen as they’re announced. Equally, you may wish to showcase the work of the winners on-screen as their name is announced. Corporate events often use award ceremonies as an opportunity to talk about business updates too, so a projector screen may be an essential component of an internal awards event. 

Depending on the size of your event, you may choose to use a screen and projector for your visual equipment (these are usually ideal for mid to large scale events). For smaller ceremonies, an LED or plasma screen could work well. 

lighting equipment for award shhows


Whether you want disco lighting for the dancefloor or spotlighting for the ceremony itself, lighting is an essential component of your award ceremony audio-visual equipment. These events usually use stage lighting to highlight the hosts and may even use special effects when winners are announced. Think about what you would like for your event and plan accordingly. 

Other Equipment Required


Some venues will have an inbuilt stage, but it’s worth bearing in mind that not all of them do – particularly those that are multi-purpose. Stage sections help to add a real sense of occasion to your award ceremony, so it may be worth investigating what other options are available if your venue doesn’t have a stage. It is possible to hire modular stages, which are particularly useful as they allow you to choose the stage size and layout to suit your event. 


Need the perfect area for your award ceremony attendees to dance the night away? Look for a supplier that can offer temporary dancefloors for your event. These are particularly great for venues that don’t have a suitable dancefloor or to enlarge existing dancefloors

Audio Visual Equipment For Public Speaking Events

Conference stage set and lectern

Whether you’re hosting a company-wide business meeting or a large-scale lecture on your topic of expertise, public speaking events rely on audio-visual equipment for their success. After all, the focus of these events is on the speakers, so you will need all the right equipment to ensure that they can impart their information easily and professionally.

Best Audio Equipment

PA Systems

Your PA system will be the backbone of your event’s success. Think carefully about what you will need. How many guest speakers will you have? Will there be any spontaneous participation by the audience that will require extra microphones? Do you need the facilities to play video or audio from a laptop or other device? 

Whatever your requirements, be sure to speak to your venue in detail about the format of your public speaking event. If necessary, contact a third-party supplier to discuss audio-visual equipment extras that your venue can’t provide.

Best Visual Equipment

Projectors And Screens

Depending on the format of your event, you will likely require a projector and screen to display the visual portion of your speaker’s presentation. Your exact projector requirements will depend on the size of your event. For example, large scale occasions usually will need a high-quality projector and large screen to ensure that all attendees can see the content clearly.

LED / Plasma Screens

If you intend to host a smaller public speaking event, you may be able to utilise an LCD or plasma screen. These are easy to use and often better suited to smaller venues. If your venue does not have a screen like this, it is possible to hire LED or plasma screens for event purposes.

Other Equipment Required

Display Screens

For public speaking events, it is often helpful to have additional display screens in your venue. These can display content like information on your guest speakers, marketing material for your company or more information about the purpose of your event. 

These are often available to hire as panels, making them a functional and simple option for displaying key information.

Sets & Scenery

To create a professional public speaking event, think about adding sets and scenery help enhance the overall tone of your occasion. Staging panels or conference panels may be right for your event and are available to hire as ‘stock’ options or bespoke set ups. These can often work in conjunction with your audio-visual equipment, creating a seamless experience for your event attendees.

Whatever type of event you’re planning, your audio-visual equipment is essential for ensuring that your occasion runs as smoothly as possible. We hope that our guide to the best types of technology and equipment for different events has helped in your planning phase. If you’d like more advice or want to find out more about the types of audio-visual equipment we can provide you with, contact us for more information.

Whether you’re planning a large event or a more intimate gathering, every event planner knows that the key to success is in the details. From choosing the perfect venue, picking guest speakers and organising the very best catering, creating an event that runs smoothly isn’t always easy (particularly when you’re working within a budget).

We know that the unexpected can happen, whether on the day or during the preparation phases. Whether you’re an experienced event planner or are organising an occasion for the first time, it’s not always simple to know how to plan an event successfully. To help ensure that your event runs as smoothly as possible, we’ve put together some common event planning mistakes to avoid.

1. Plan your numbers

If you’re planning an open event, it can be tricky to know how to prepare successfully. Without knowing the exact numbers, it can become impossible to arrange your venue, catering and other equipment. Equally, without a venue or date, it’s difficult to market your event to potential attendees.

image of planning an event

If you’re wondering how to plan an event successfully in situations like this, it may be worth sending out placeholder marketing material to get an initial idea of numbers. Once you have gauged the level of interest, you can begin making concrete plans.

It’s also a good idea to be prepared to change your venue if the attendee numbers are higher or lower than expected.

2. Double (and triple) check the essentials

There are some aspects to your event that are essential and others that sit in the ‘nice to have’ camp. Your essentials, such as the venue, audiovisual equipment, and vendors, are must-haves for your event to go as planned.

It’s a good idea to keep track of exactly what has been agreed with your venue and vendors. Confirm details like arrival and set up times, quantities and costs. If appropriate, arrange to have contractual agreements in place to alleviate any potential mishaps. Keep in contact with your venue and vendors in the lead up to your event to ensure that things are progressing as you would expect.

It’s also a good idea to contact all suppliers a few days before the event to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

3. Factor in set-up time

If you’re wondering what not to do when planning an event, forgetting to allow enough set-up time should be near the top of your list. Some events require significant set-up time, particularly if there are décor changes, stalls or stages to prepare. Even smaller events will need some level of set-up, whether it’s to prepare the catering or to ensure that the audio-visual equipment is working as it should.

image of visual installation for an event

Once you’re sure of your requirements, try to estimate how long it will take you to prepare the venue. The venue itself may be able to provide some guidance from past events too. You may need to book your venue earlier than expected to provide enough preparation time before your guests arrive.

4. Check for other events nearby

If you’re hosting your event off-site, another thing to consider when planning an event is whether there are other events on nearby. There may be multiple conference rooms in your chosen venue, and neighbouring gatherings could impact yours (particularly if it’s likely that the neighbouring events are likely to be noisy).

checking events near you

Other events in the area, like sports matches or concerts, could have a bearing on local traffic, parking or public transport. It’s worth checking the calendar to see if these could make a difference to your conference or event. If necessary and possible, it may be a good idea to change your date.

5. Have a back-up plan

Not having a contingency plan in place is a common event planning mistake to avoid. Events and conferences are tricky things. Even with the best possible planning, things can go wrong on the day. That’s why it’s so important to have contingency plans in place, particularly for the event essentials, to ensure that your occasion can run as smoothly as possible.

For example, have you thought about what would happen if the venue has to cancel at the last minute? Or if the caters don’t turn up? Have you considered how bad weather or bad traffic could impact your event? It’s not easy to plan for these eventualities but having a back-up plan in place will help you deal with any crises on the day.

6. Ensure you have enough help

As an event planner, you can handle a lot of tasks and issues. From planning to problem-solving, your skills are in creating a memorable and successful event for your company or clients.

When thinking about how to plan an event successfully, it’s worth remembering that you can’t do everything. It’s simply not possible for you to register guests, set out the catering, serve food, organize the guest speakers, ensure that the audio-visual equipment is working and deal with any ad-hoc problems that occur on the day.

Having enough staff to assist you is an important thing to consider when planning an event. Identify areas where you’ll likely need extra assistance and be sure to book in your help well in advance.

7. Do a dry run with your clients

Whether you’re planning an event in-house or working with external clients, it’s important to do a dry run or walk-through with your bosses/clients in advance of your event.

Miscommunication or lack of clarity can be a significant problem that isn’t easily fixed at the last minute. By doing a walk-through of your event, you’ll be able to identify any potential areas that need to be clarified. Do a run through of the schedule, talk through menus and demonstrate seating plans to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

8. Test your tech

Failing to test your technology is at the top of the list of what not to do when planning an event. It will be a good idea to discuss your audio-visual requirements in detail with your venue to ensure that they know exactly what you need.

tech testing for event conference

It’s also a good idea to check what type of connections the venue has to ensure that they will work with your laptop or storage device. If necessary, make sure that you have the right adapters or cables and test your tech before the event.

It’s usually worthwhile to identify who will be in charge of sorting the technology on the day. This could be handled by the venue but it’s best to have someone on your team to help too.

9. Make a packing list

With events of all sizes and types, a packing list is a must when putting together all of the things to consider when planning an event. While your vendors and venue may be handling a lot of the work, there will still be plenty of things you need to bring with you to ensure that your event is as successful as possible.

image of making a list for event

It’s a good idea to make your packing list well in advance and add to it as you think of items to bring with you. Double check your list on the day to make sure you don’t forget anything. This is even more important for items like your laptop, presentations and promotional materials.

10. Ask for feedback

After the completion of your event, be sure to have feedback plans in place. Your attendees are likely to value the opportunity to let you know what they thought of your event.

This type of connection with your attendees will also help you understand if there are any other common event planning mistakes to avoid for your next occasion. Your attendees may be able to provide valuable feedback on what worked and what didn’t on the ground.

Asking for feedback also gives you the opportunity to promote your next event or ask attendees if they would like you to keep in touch with other related materials.

Whether the event you’re planning is large or more intimate, we hope that our tips on common event planning mistakes to avoid has helped in your preparation process. From planning your numbers to putting together a plan b, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your event runs as smoothly as possible. For more information on putting together the perfect conference or event, read more on the Mercian Events blog.

Further Reading

Choosing the right space for your conference isn’t always easy. From capacity and catering to audio and visual facilities, the best conference venues ensure that all your attendees are comfortable and that your presenters have all the equipment they need to speak with ease.

If you’re looking for Birmingham conference venues, the task can be even trickier. With over 50 venues to choose from, there are plenty of different options when looking for the perfect space for your event. To help you choose the right one for you, we’ve put together some of the best Birmingham conference venues below.

1. The Library of Birmingham – Centenary Square, Broad Street

A relatively new addition to the Birmingham skyline, the Library of Birmingham has become a much-loved landmark in the city centre. With unusual architecture and an impressive range of event options, this convenient conference venue is both flexible and state-of-the-art.

image of library of birmingham conference venue

The Library of Birmingham can cater for smaller meetings (from 20 people) to larger events (up to 800 people), making it a multi-purpose space for a wide variety of needs. There are plenty of room options too. Whether you’re looking for auditorium-style Birmingham conference venue or a unique room to make a statement, you’ll find a lot to choose from here.

Every room option offers the very best in audio-visual technology, and the venue can cater for a myriad of different needs. Prices range from £42 per person.

2. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Westbourne Road, Edgbaston

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are one of the city’s favorite attractions. While thousands of people visit every year to enjoy this natural space, it can also be hired for Birmingham conferences and events.

This conference venue boats five event suites, which can host between 20 and 500 delegates. Each room is designed to be contemporary and stylish, making them a good choice for those looking for bright and airy Birmingham conference venues. Whether you’re looking for something grand or a space that’s a little more intimate, there’s plenty to choose from at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

In terms of audio and visual facilities, you can rest assured that your needs are catered for with LCD screens, high-speed Wi-Fi and PA systems. Prices start from £27 per person.

3. Highbury Hall  – Yew Tree Road, Moseley

If you’re searching for a historic space for your Birmingham conference or event, look no further than Highbury Hall in Moseley. Situated just outside of the city centre, this venue is easily accessed by both car and public transport.

Set within its own grounds, ensuring a peaceful event experience, Highbury Hall can accommodate up to 200 guests. There are a variety of room set-up options, from theatre to cabaret style, and you can take advantage of the many breakout areas if your event requires it.

All meeting and conference rooms at Highbury Hall offer Wi-Fi, PA systems and projector screens to ensure your event runs smoothly. Prices start from £26 per person.

4. Work + Play at Malmaison – Wharfside Street, City Centre

Looking for an upmarket conference venue in Birmingham? Look no further than the luxury Malmaison hotel located in The Mailbox.

With tasteful design and hints of eclectic style, this event space is ideal for those who wish to make a statement. There’s no need to compromise on technology either. Each room offers state-of-the-art audio and visual facilities, as well as high-speed Wi-Fi and in-house catering.

The real benefit of this Birmingham conference venue is its flexibility. Whether you need a smaller space or capacity for a large event, rooms can be merged or condensed as needed. Prices for this venue start from £65 per person.

5. Colmore Gate – Colmore Row, City Centre

Nestled in the heart of the city centre and a stone’s throw from Birmingham’s financial district, Colmore Gate is the ideal choice for those looking for a contemporary conference venue space.

Bright and airy, Colmore Gate offers plenty of options for a variety of different events. Whether you’re looking for a theatre-style set up or cabaret layout, there are two floors of meeting and events spaces here. You’ll find audio and visual equipment in many of the rooms, as well as Wi-Fi and in-house catering.

Prices start from £500 per day.

6. Bourneville College and Conference Centre – Longbridge Lane, Longbridge

For conferences and events outside of Birmingham city center, the Bourneville College and Conference Centre makes a good choice. This venue boasts 5 stylish function rooms with the option to host up to 450 delegates.

Space is ideal for a variety of different events thanks to its flexibility. Whatever type of layout or functionality you need, Bourneville College and Conference Centre is a blank canvas ready to be tailored to your event. Each function room boasts high-specification audio and visual equipment, as well as a professional kitchen for catering.

Prices start from £500 per day.

7. The Bierkeller – Broad Street, City Centre

No list of Birmingham venue hire options would be complete without a few out-of-the-box conference options. If you’re looking for something a little unique for your event, The Bierkeller on Broad Street offers an unusual space with plenty of functionality.

This venue can host up to 500 standing delegates or 260 seated attendees. If you choose this Birmingham conference venue, you’ll find state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, as well as Wi-Fi and air conditioning. If your event stretches on to the evening, there are plenty of food and drink choices too.

Prices start from £15 per person.

8. The National Exhibition Centre – North Avenue, Marston Green

The NEC is a great option for Birmingham conferences and events. Ideally located next to Birmingham International train station and Birmingham Airport, this venue is easily accessed by both local and international attendees.

nec birmingham conference venues

While known for hosting large-scale events, the NEC has a wide variety of options for events of any size. Whether you’re looking for an intimate meeting room or an event for over 10,000 people, this space is a blank canvas that can be tailored to your exacting needs.

As with any venue of this size, you can expect excellent audio and visual technology, as well as on-hand support to ensure that your event runs smoothly.

Prices are available on request.

9. Millennium Point – Curzon Street, City Centre

Millennium Point is a multi-purpose Birmingham conference venue with plenty of flexible options for events of every type. Whether you’re looking for a large space for a traditional conference or a unique room for a more unusual event, there are 7 different spaces to choose from at this Birmingham conference venue.

This space can host up to 500 delegates and has an auditorium onsite that’s perfect for presenters or other stage-based events. You’ll also find meeting rooms, exhibition spaces and a hireable outdoor space.

Most event areas have high-tech audio-visual equipment, as well as Wi-Fi and presentation facilities. Prices start from £250 per day.

10. Ikon Gallery – Oozlles Square, Brindley Place

Conveniently located in the heart of Birmingham city center, Ikon Gallery is a stylish Birmingham conference venue. With contemporary spaces and plenty of natural light, this event venue can comfortably host up to 300 delegates.

This internationally acclaimed art gallery has all you could need for a stress-free event. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and organizers can rest assured that there are plenty of audio-visual options to ensure that things run smoothly. There are in-house catering options available, as well as the option to arrange for external catering.

Prices start from £125.

Whether you’re looking for a large space or Birmingham venue hire with a more intimate feel, there are plenty of options to choose from in the second city. With the majority of the country able to get to Birmingham in under 4 hours and international links through Birmingham Airport, this city is the ideal choice for a plethora of different events and conferences.

Stage Design Inspiration

When planning an event, stage design ideas need to be carefully considered to make sure that attendees are engaged and impressed by the presentation of proceedings.

To work out what stage designs will make the biggest impact, it makes sense to look at head-turning examples from the recent past. Here are just 8 stage designs for events that are still talked about today.

Xbox Press Conference Stage Design

Xbox Press Conference at E3 2018

Microsoft’s promotional efforts at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2018 were more focused and intensive than in many previous years. A huge number of new games were presented to a 6000-strong crowd of industry insiders and attention also turned to the Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful games console.

The stage design ideas leveraged to emphasise the importance of the conference were compartmentalised, angular and multi-layered. This contrasted completely with the sleek curves and aquatic blues of Sony’s rival PlayStation event.

The vast main display, rimmed with light bars and echoed with other impressive illumination effects to frame the stage, was able to draw the eye. Banks of smaller screens set up with row after row of Xbox One X consoles were also present onstage, with green underlighting contrasted against the pure white of the logos plastered liberally throughout.

Brit Awards Stage Design

Brit Awards 2017

While the Xbox press conference might have impressed some viewers, anyone who had watched the Brit Awards a year earlier might have noticed some interesting similarities in the stage design cues.

Angular lighting arrays, sporting liberal use of whites and some intriguing forced perspective techniques, defined the staging of the show in 2017. Display panels arranged in order to create a vanishing point effect helped to keep the eyes of the audience on the centre of the stage, making sure that stars like Ed Sheran were not dwarfed by the sheer scale of the venue itself.

mercedes safety car stage design

Mercedes Safety Car Launch 2010

First appearing at the Geneva Motor Show, German automaker Mercedes-Benz pulled back the curtains on its latest Formula One safety car in front of the world’s media with an event that put its design perks front and centre.

Staged on a wooden floor, the car itself was present and correct, its gull-wing doors open as if it was about to take flight. Sitting on a circular rotating platform, it was possible to pirouette the vehicle and give attendees a view of it from all angles.

As with the clever stage design ideas used at the Brit Awards, the architecture of the backdrop for this event was arranged to pull the eye of the observer downwards and inwards, towards the Mercedes-Benz spokesperson and the celebrity hosts. Simple blue and white lighting, along with a large format display and signage advertising the efficiency of the safety car, completed the classy, professional look.

up global stage design

UP Global

So far the stage designs discussed have occupied large arenas and conference centres, but innovation is still possible in smaller spaces, as evidenced by UP Global.

When space is limited, it makes sense to work laterally rather than deploying the depth of the stage. UP Global used a wide banner, emblazoned with a repeating design with green and teal arrows blended with photography, to emphasise its forward-thinking ethos and approachability.

The inclusion of a desk bearing its logo, alongside a separate area for speakers to stand and deliver their addresses, kept things simple yet made effective use of the area on offer.

the academy awards stage design

The Academy Awards 2010

Stewarded by David Rockwell, the stage design for the Oscars in 2010 was carefully pitched to harness the benefits of modern technologies while still harking back to the traditional origins of the event itself.

The arched aspect of the stage allowed for a glittering lighting installation to drip like a string of diamonds from the upper reaches, framing the host and presenters at the Academy Awards in a suitably glitzy fashion. Switching between icy blues and glamorous golds at the drop of a hat, this flexibility afforded a lot more variety than might otherwise be expected from such a well-established event.

In this instance, the designer also had to take into account how elements of his staging would be factored into other parts of the premises. The theme was kept consistent throughout the Kodak Theatre, ensuring that guests felt like they were going on a cohesive journey rather than walking straight in from an irrelevant exterior.

google io conference stage design

Google I/O Conference 2015

Once again working laterally, yet taking this to a level appropriate for one of the world’s largest companies, Google’s stage design for its 2015 I/O Conference wrapped right around the audience on three sides and was made up almost entirely of synchronised display panels.

The results were suitably impressive, with each screen able to showcase the speakers and the products they were discussing effectively so that observers in all parts of the room did not miss out on any key details.

Aesthetically, things were kept fairly simple, with no over the top lighting effects. Instead, the visuals focused on products and services in an unfussy way that was appropriate for the industry-oriented nature of the event itself. That does not detract from the fact that the A/V achievements of the conference were impressive in their own right, especially on a technical level.

paradox stage design

Paradox: The Art Of Technology

Bathed in blues, adorned with white-rimmed stairs and seemingly constructed from an amorphous framework of angled displays, the staging of Paradox: The Art Of Technology certainly managed to live up to the name of the event.

The stage itself was not elevated a significant degree above the seating area, meaning that it needed to have a healthy dose of ingenuity in its design to maintain the focus of the room. Including imagery focusing on circuitry as part of the background displays allowed organisers to reassert the event’s intentions without spelling it out overtly.

chevrolet stage design

Chevrolet Stage Design 2015

Once again sitting at the more compact end of the spectrum in terms of venue size, this event hosted by US car manufacturer Chevrolet over in Bali was a design triumph thanks to the way that the aesthetics of the staging were reflected throughout the room.

A central video screen was surrounded by a backdrop that made inventive use of the company’s logo, reflecting, refracting and dismantling it to impress observers and also keep their heads pointed towards the speaker’s podium in the middle.

Gold detailing on the stairs up to the stage was also echoed in the lighting of the room as well as the decorations applied to the chairs and tables that attendees occupied. Tying everything together in this way makes the most of any stage designs, allowing ideas to flourish and flow throughout the venue.

In this instance the staging also took into account an area for musicians, setting this off to the side and keeping drums and keyboards at a lower level than the rest of the presentation area. Such a setup is clearly desirable because it means that musical accompaniment can be provided life, without the players pulling focus. Balancing the audio of an arrangement like this creates its own challenges, but the stage design handled the aesthetic aspects appropriately.

Further Reading