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August 14, 2015 Sound Advice

One of the most common challenges when holding a fundraising auction is making sure your venue has optimum sound. Is the in-house sound system adequate? Or do you need to bring in outside sound?   Here are some tips to follow when you are planning a fundraising auction.

Do NOT allow the venue or third party companies to convince you to use the in-house sound system. These overhead speakers may be fine for a guest speaker but that‘s about all they are sufficient for. These systems are just not conducive to an auctioneer’s chant (or to anyone singing or performing). You cannot get the clarity or volume that is necessary with the in-house system. It just isn’t possible!

DO use external speakers mounted on stands.  These speakers are optimum for an auction. Speakers mounted on stands allow the clarity and volume capacity necessary to cover the room so that every guest can hear what’s being broadcast through the microphone(s). This type of sound set-up will also avoid guests’ conversations from interfering with your program.

There are two different ways to set up sound; concert style and in-the-round.

Concert style is a set-up with speakers in the front of the room only.  Those guests sitting in front of the room are often sitting in the line of the sound waves and will therefore get the most volume.  This can be rather uncomfortable for them.  The guests in the back of the room often may not be able to hear because they are the furthest away from the sound.

For optimum results, I suggest speakers be placed in-the-round to ensure the guests seated in the back of the room are able to hear and understand what is going on as well as those seated in the front of the room. This type of sound set-up allows a comfortable level for everyone.  You want to make sure ALL of your guests are able to hear, understand and participate in this event you’ve gone to so much trouble to plan and orchestrate.

Another recommendation I make to my clients is to have speakers in EVERY room of the venue. At a recent event a client had speakers positioned in the main ball room where the dinner and live auction was to be conducted, but used the overhead sound system in the reception and silent auction area. The result was that the in-house sound system wasn’t capable of having enough volume to be heard over the guests’ talking. As a result, a lot of the information on the evening’s activities and the closing of the silent auction were not heard by a large portion of the intended audience.

If you are new to planning auction events, or if you plan to change venues for your upcoming event, be sure to communicate with your auction professional about sound requirements and recommendations.

The sound system is as important as your professional auctioneer.  Making sure your auctioneer can be heard will result in higher bids during your auction and this translates into more revenue for your mission.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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