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How are meeting and event professionals using audiovisual resources to enhance their events and increase audience engagement?

As part of CEAVCO’s new meetings and events interview series, CEAVCO president Matt Emerson recently asked Samuel L. Thompson III (pictured), Cofounder of Sync Meeting Management, to weigh in.

What innovative ways have you found to engage attendees at your events?

We really like mobile apps that include live Q&A surveys and provide valuable information about speakers. We also like gamification – photos with the CEO, scavenger hunts around properties, etc. These strategic games encourage attendees to engage with one another.

It’s great to see people making connections through apps and other technologies. The key is to ensure that the apps you chose connect with the client’s needs and the client’s style.

If cost weren’t a factor, what would you change about your events? What do you wish you were doing?

We would like to put more into the production and staging experience of the event. Clients often budget for production and staging last when they should budget for it first. Many times, the room just falls flat and doesn’t align with the experience our clients want to deliver.

People are visual. I want to find new ways to engage attendees visually and get them excited about the content and the location. Also, there’s far too much focus on being in a major city versus at a major destination. As a result, some great places get looked over.

Too frequently we see a lot of momentum, energy, and opportunities lost with too many clumsy handoffs from one presenter to the next. We would really like to incorporate an emcee into events more often to manage the stage throughout the event to keep the flow going and tie all of the elements together.

In what ways have audiovisual technology, services, and support helped you achieve your event goals? In what ways has problematic support hindered your ability to achieve those goals?

LED screens have helped maximize space and provide a higher level of impact. This technology can make a corporate event look like the Grammys or the Oscars. It adds spice and flavor to the event. The creativity and visuals can tie an event together.

On the flip side, the dominance of preferred providers and the proliferation of fees charged for using an outside production company are really getting in the way of our ability to help our clients. Limited choice and inflated costs hurt both the clients and the industry.

What makes a good event production partnership? 

A good partner is one that dedicates time to the planning and truly collaborates with their clients to achieve their goals. They participate in site surveys. They diagram. They plan load in and load out. They tie the design to the event objectives, and they’re prepared to execute. They collaborate to help the client look good.

Behind-the-scenes production effort truly impacts what happens on the stage. When there’s a true meeting of the minds, it’s magical!

Samuel L. Thompson III is the Cofounder of Sync Meeting Management, a full-service meeting and event management company offering years of luxury property sales and event management experience. Learn more at