How to Write a Better A/V RFP

In the Digital Age, A/V has become just as important to successful meetings as food and beverage. And as a meeting professional, one of the best ways to improve your A/V outcomes it to improve your A/V RFPs.

"Meeting planners have a responsibility to annually review and find ways to improve/streamline their RFPs so that they can get more clear-cut responses and ultimately create a seamless AV experience. Copying and pasting from old RFPs or forwarding bids from last year's event, will likely not get you what you're hoping for in your mind's eye," says Meeting Professionals International (MPI) blog contributor Nathan Honeycutt.

According to Honeycutt, the best way to improve your A/V RFPs is to stop listing the equipment you need and instead list the reasons that you need it.

"Letting your prospects know what gear you're thinking about in terms of the number of screens, gobos (for projecting graphics/images on walls) and things like that is great, but detailed equipment specs are not helpful," Honeycutt says. "If you have a direction you'd like to go with gear, a description of what you're asking for and why will give the best info and context to help your production partner collaborate with you on the best solution."

This can be done in plain English. "For example," Honeycutt continues, "if you are an association and have equipment you plan to use for your event, you could simply state, 'We will be bringing [4] projectors and will need from you microphones for [3] speakers and a moderator who will be on stage in a panel, [1] tripod and [2] flip charts. Please bring backup projectors should ours fail.'"

Another example? "Instead of requesting a 42-inch monitor for video loop, which gives no context, how about, 'I need two screens to display PowerPoint and an opening video?'" Honeycutt says. "This type of statement gives a very clear idea of the entire video system (computers, slide advancer, etc.), which will best serve this need."

The idea is simple: By asking for outcomes instead of equipment, planners are more likely to achieve their strategic A/V goals.

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