• Show Flow 101 for Event Planners

    Creating your own agenda puts you in the driver’s seat.

    FROM THE Winter 2014 ISSUE

If you’ve ever peeked under the hood of one of your events, you know there’s a show flow, which is exactly what it sounds like-a document that describes the flow of your show. From your arrival to your departure. From the program of speakers and events to a precise guide to all the cues for audio, lighting, and video screens. Everything from A to Z.

As an event planner, you can save time and money by developing the show flow yourself. After all, who knows your event better than you do? With a couple of quick tips, you’ll be writing your own show flow in no time.

The Agenda
As you know, your agenda lists the various sessions and activities for your event in chronological order. And it includes starting and ending times. In other words, your agenda is the outline. Once you have an outline, your next step is to fill in the details.

Audio plays a key role in the success of any event. Think of it-the music that plays in the background as people enter a room and settle in their seats; the music that welcomes a speaker; the podium and/or lavalier microphones; the sound that accompanies a video. All of these are elements of your audio.

Lighting is also an important part of most events. Think of how you want to use lighting and then write it into the show flow. Prior to a speaker’s entrance, you want lights on the audience, but a dark stage. Then you reverse these once the speaker enters. Do you want a spotlight on your speaker or general stage lighting? Will the audience lights come up toward the end for Q-and-A?

Video will almost certainly be a prominent feature of your show flow. Include notes on whether the video is stand-alone or embedded in the speaker’s own materials, when it will appear, which screens it will appear on, and so forth.

A/V Team
Your audio-visual team is critical to the success of your event, so be sure to include their activities and schedules in your show flow, from the time they get access to the room to the time they lose access.

Test, Test, Test
Toward the end of the process of writing a show flow, it’s a good idea to bring in someone from the A/V team to review the document with you. Your expertise is in event planning, so it’ll be helpful- even indispensible- to get input from the people who’ll be responsible for making everything go smoothly behind the curtain. The show flow is meant to be your vision of the meeting, so be sure it conveys that vision to the people who help you produce it.

The result will be a show flow that not only saves you time and money, but also expresses your unfiltered vision of the event. Creating your own show flow can seem daunting the first time around, but it’ll get easier each time you do it.

Jim Tzitzura

Jim Tzitzura is a founding partner at OnCue Staging. For nearly a decade, OnCue Staging has been the audio-visual staging company that gets you, gets it done and gets results. Jim and the team he leads makes it their business to work with event and meeting planners to execute creative and artistically designed events and meetings around the globe.

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