The awards ceremony is often the highlight of a meeting or conference because this is the time for the group to celebrate the successes of their peers or coworkers. Most of the award recipients have worked very hard for the opportunity to stand on stage and be recognized. In some cases the award may be a crowning achievement in a person’s career. This is why it is so important to produce a memorable event that will not only provide lasting memories for the award winners, but also inspire others in the organization to strive for similar achievements. Here are some points to consider that may help deliver a more impactful event.
Awards programs often take place in the same space as other event functions. On awards night it is important to transform the look of the space in a way that creates the atmosphere of a special event. The environment should feel separate from the general business of the meeting or conference. After all, this is a celebration of success so it should feel like one.
Even on a tight budget, there are many ways to transform a room into something special for the awards night. For example, the price of LED lighting has become quite affordable so utilizing LEDs to light architectural elements or create textures on the walls and ceiling is a great way to add atmosphere to the room without breaking the bank. It’s amazing what a little lighting can do to transform a room.
Scenic elements for stage backdrops are another very cost effective way to enhance the look of the stage. These can range from simple fabric designs to more complex modular sets that can be erected and dismantled quickly to avoid added labor costs. When lighting and scenery are integrated into the overall feel of the awards program effectively, the room transformation can be quite stunning.
When renting additional equipment for the awards program it is important to take into account that these rental items will only be used for one day. Therefore the rental cost should be substantially less than the equipment that may be in use for the entire event which could be up to three days (you should never pay more than three days for any equipment rental because most AV companies operate on a three day = week rental rate). Always negotiate the single day rental with your AV and lighting supplier for the additional awards equipment.
Music and Audio
While the visual elements are a very important part of any awards program, the audio is the element that delivers the emotional feel to the program. This is why it is so important to make careful considerations when selecting the music that will be used during the program. In order to do this you must pay close attention to the culture of the group. Understanding what type of music will resonate with a particular group is a very subtle nuance, but of critical importance when trying to inspire and celebrate success.
When possible, live bands or DJs are wonderful additions to awards ceremonies. The caveat is that the DJ or band leader must be in communication with the producer or stage manager via intercom so they can take direction and they must understand exactly how the program will run. This may be more difficult than simply playing recorded music, but the effect is usually worth the added cost and effort.
Choreography and Rehearsal
Perhaps one of the most neglected aspects of any event, but especially awards programs, is the need to be considerate of the program’s flow. An awards program should be run like a show. Any interruptions to the rhythm and flow of an awards show can absolutely kill the atmosphere so it is critical to execute the event flawlessly, and this can only be done through careful planning and rehearsal.
Choreographing the movement of presenters and award recipients as well as how photography, video, lighting and music will interact during the “performance” is crucial. Also, careful coordination with catering and other event staff must be done to make sure everyone understands the timing of the event. Make sure that all presenters understand their role, the order of their presentations and exactly what is expected of them. Then rehearse the flow of awards until everyone involved understands where they need to be and when.
The awards night is probably what the attendees will remember most about their time at the meeting or conference so anything you can do to create an atmosphere that will make the evening special is well worth the effort. With a little extra thought, imagination and time you can easily transform your awards programs into the memorable events they should be.
Jay Ward, CTS Principal at Genesis Technical Production & Design, is committed to helping organizations in the event production industry thrive in such a competitive environment through an array of resources and services ranging from production management and operations to staging and digital content design.