Master Control of Your Live Event’s Environment with Stand-Alone Space
Your Environment Matters: Control Your Experience with Stand-Alone Space
Hi. I'm Bari Baumgardner, founder of SAGE Event Management. I want to talk to you today about one of my favorite topics: your environment matters. What I mean specifically by your environment is your hotel environment. Or maybe it’s a special venue environment, that's fine too. Rules apply across the board.
When you're hosting a live event, you want to control all aspects of your environment. That means you want stand-alone space. Stand-alone space is really important because it means that the whole ballroom or the whole room at the community center is yours – and that there can't be any interruptions next door.
Distractions Can Ruin the Moment
Let me give you a quick story just to illustrate exactly what I'm talking about. Think about a movie theater. You're sitting there, you're watching La La Land, you're completely engrossed. The hero is about to kiss the heroine. It's the moment, the romantic moment. All of a sudden – there’s a huge explosion next door: Star Wars Rogue One. Now that's all you can think about. You’ve completely lost track of what's happening in La La Land.
Most movie theaters today are designed to eliminate that kind of interruption, because people understand what a distraction Dolby sound can be. It's pretty rare to hear explosions or the audience clapping next door in the middle of your movie. And there's a reason for that – it totally ruins the experience.
Think the same thing about your hotel experience. Imagine that you're putting on your first live event and you're going through your content. You’re at that critical moment and you have the audience right in the palm of your hand. They're exactly where you want them to be.
Maybe you're about to make an offer, and then all of a sudden – the bride next door goes into the dance party. And all you hear is, "Can't Stop the Feeling." That is not what you want for your live event. You've totally killed the moment, and it was completely beyond your control.
Control Your Environment with Air Walls
You can completely avoid a situation like this by planning ahead. Let’s say that this is our ballroom. I like a rectangle ballroom with a short wall and a long wall. There’s also something in a ballroom called "air walls." I'm going to use this color here to illustrate: here's an air wall, here's an air wall, and here's an air wall.
Now here's the genius of air walls. I love air walls. They're really important because they allow you to control your environment. You can take a big ballroom and cut it down to the size you need just by pulling an air wall. It is literally what it sounds like: an airy wall. Air walls are not built for soundproofing and are not good at it. They are literally built for cutting space.
Don’t Share Your Live Event Space with Disruptions
Let me show you how to control your environment. Let's say that we use this space for our general session, this space for our team office, and this space for our VIP lunch. We have complete control of our environment. We're using that whole ballroom and we're controlling everything that happens in every section.
Because we're in control of the team, we can let them know when they need to be quiet. We can make sure they know not to interrupt sessions. We know our VIP lunch is not happening at the same time that we're in the general session, so we don't have any conflicts there. We can use this whole ballroom to the best of our advantage.
Here's the potential problem. Let's say that another group over here takes this whole space. Now you're trying to host an important session and the other group is over here having a wedding, or a bar mitzvah, or whatever.
Maybe there’s another keynote speaker, who is funnier than you are and getting constant laughter and applause. There's nothing worse than that. You don't want to compete with a wedding party or with another speaker.
You haven’t worked this hard and invested a year of your life into a live event to be interrupted at the critical moment. The best way to avoid this scenario is to make sure that you have the entire ballroom to yourself with stand-alone space.
Use Corridors to Separate Your Group
But sometimes you can't have the whole ballroom, especially when you’re just starting out or hosting a smaller event. Sharing a ballroom may be the only way you can afford to book the space you need at the property you want. If you find yourself in this situation, you can still create distance between your live event and the other group with a "corridor," a separation of space.
Watch this red line – this is a corridor. There is a small space between the two air wall tracks that you can use to separate you from the other group. Even better, we don’t use this middle section at all, or we use it for the lunch that we can control. We're here in the space we can control, and the other group is still over there. Now you’ve taken the critical step to master control of your environment.
Consider Your Pre-Function Space
When sharing a ballroom or other venue, you need to be aware of the pre-function space in front of the main room. If you break at the same time as the other group, your guests will likely be sharing that space. Ideally, you will be in control the whole space including the pre-function foyer.
Make Stand-Alone Space a Non-Negotiable
Here's the key: if you're thinking about hosting your next event, or you've already started sourcing, make sure that stand-alone space is a non-negotiable. It is truly a non-negotiable at SAGE. We do not like to share space unless we've brought in the proper precautions – and that is only as a last-ditch effort.
In our world and our environment, it is critical that you control all of your space. By controlling your space, you can control the whole attendee experience and will be able to give your best possible delivery. You're able to put that audience in the safe container; you can have them exactly where you want them at every moment of your event. And the only way you can truly guarantee that is by controlling your environment. Trust me: environment matters, and experience matters.
Tell SAGE What You Think About Stand-Alone Space
I'd love to hear your comments on this. Tell me a little bit about experiences you had at your live events or how you’ve overcome having to share your space. Just post it here, and perhaps I'll address it in a future video. That's all for now. I hope you can put this to work at your next live event. Make it count. Go team go!
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