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How high should it go?

It is always very disappointing to have an otherwise successful event receive negative comment because the people at the middle and back of the room couldn’t see the lower portion of the projection screen.

Ceiling heights have always been a bug bear for me and so become one too for anyone trying to sell me a meeting room that can accommodate their stated number of delegates when I know,assuming you want everyone to see and hear clearly, it can’t.

An interesting and yet pretty boring conversation ensues along the lines of the following:

“Yes, I know it takes that number of seats but however you set them out the people at the back cannot see the bottom 1/3 of the projection screen. Therefore, it can only accommodate the number of people that can clearly see the screen.” Usually this is around half the claimed number.

This conversation never endears me to the venue sales staff. But I’ve found that having a room full of delegates half of which are complaining they can’t see the screen doesn’t endear me to my clients either. And I know who I prefer being endearing with.

Sadly, we find that it is ‘sporting’ stadia where this problem most frequently occurs. Sports grounds are great, I am a big sports fan and like going to these venues, they have great access and brilliant car parking facilities. Trouble is their rooms are usually ‘under’ the grand stands and suffer from low ceiling heights and for this reason the published seating capacities of the rooms are just not practically workable.

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Let me explain why ceiling height is crucial

The higher the ceiling, the bigger and higher the projection screen can be which makes for better information retention and less expensive for the production equipment needed. It’s really that simple.

Make sure everyone can read the presentation

As event hosts and event managers our priority is ensuring that everybody attending an event has clearly understood and retained the messages being delivered by our clients.

Whilst PA systems can be designed so that your presenter will be clearly heard, your major consideration is ensuring that your graphics presentation e.g. PowerPoint™, video etc can be clearly seen, by everyone.

An answer of course is to ask presenters to ensure that their presentation materials are confined to the top 2/3’s of the screen. But if that’s the strategy you adopt, you’re going to have a pretty unhappy and stressful work life.

Too readily the solution offered is to involve ‘repeater’screens at either side of the room, usually at an additional cost. Cue more steam out of ears!

There are a few circumstances when I’d agree with this solution but in the vast majority of cases I just think it gives the impression of a first class audience sat at the front and a second class audience sat behind.

I believe that it is better to be tough with the venues that don’t understand or rather, prefer to ignore the issue. This is the professional presentation and communication industry. It’s not very professional if half an audience can’t see what’s being presented.

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