Finding the Right Audio-Visual Professional

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The quality of sound in your house of worship is relative to the quality of your services. Having the right connection gin the audio-visual industry is crucial, and most houses of worship have strong business relationships with an audio-visual integrator who knows your system and works to refine your sound capabilities.
If you’re looking for an audio-visual professional, finding the right one can be and daunting task. Where do you meet someone in the industry? And who can you trust to do quality work at honest prices? This checklist will hopefully give you some of the answers you need:

1. Check and Verify Your Contractor’s License
In order to install sound systems, various states require low-voltage licenses. The first step you should take is to check with your state’s commerce department and verify that your prospective contractor’s license is in good standing. Simply perform a web search for “State Commerce Dept. of [your state].”
2. Networking
Ask officials at other venues and houses of worship who installed their audio systems and if there is anyone they would recommend. Local businesses and schools would also be good resources for finding a recommended professional.
3. Phone Test
Once you’ve gathered some names of reputable audio-visual professionals. Give them a call. Do they answer right away or return your voice mail within a short amount of time? Do they take the time to explain their services to you over the phone or in a thoughtful email? Every house of worship is different and each audio-visual job is therefore customized. A professional who shows you’re a personal touch in communicating is more likely to show that same personal touch in his audio-visual work.
4. Check their Credentials
After contacting your list of professionals, ask the following questions: Do any of the candidates hold certifications in A/V technology? Do they attend industry trade shows on a regular basis (every 2-3 years is a good start)? How long have they been in business? Do their references check out?
5. Get Some Quotes
Ask each company to quote some church sound systems on your wish list. Do they provide a detailed, itemized quote or is it just a dollar figure? Pricing opens up another complex conversation, but let’s keep it simple: Is this local professional offering more value than an Internet wholesaler? In most cases, he/she will see the sale through and make sure the product is being used properly, and a slightly higher price for the aforementioned personal touch is worth the investment in the long run.
6. Do You Work Well Together?
Finally, ask yourself if the audio/video integrator will work well with you and the other leadership at the church. Again, personality can go a long way.
To carry your message, you must build from a healthy foundation and that includes a good relationship with your A/V specialist. Work on building one today and you’re well on your way to the best sound system for your church.

Building Your Church’s Audio-Visual Team

Assembling a team of audio and visual technicians for a small church can be quite the challenge. Usually most technicians are volunteers, there is not much feedback until something goes wrong, and the team experiences a lot of turnover. Below are some strategies designed to assemble and retain a team of talented church audio and visual technicians.

Dealing with volunteers who have gone through training or who are going through training to become paid technicians is a good place to start. Their volunteer work at your church presents the possibility of community networking and securing opportunities for their careers.

Vision/Expectations: When meeting with new volunteers, be sure to communicate your goals, vision, and commitment requirements. If you and a volunteer come to an agreement for moving forward, you should place them on a one-month trial period for orientation and training. After the completion of this trial period, you should meet with the volunteer to review progress and decide whether or not to keep them on your team.

Team Structure: Rely on structure and empower your team leader to oversee all aspects of your audio-visual capabilities and presentation. Your team leader is responsible for orientation and training while reporting to the Technical Director. Depending on the amount of equipment your church needs, scheduling your team in rotating shifts might be the best way to keep organized and spread out the workload. Make sure that volunteers have enough responsibility to be truly involved with their work, but not too much as to burn them out. A good rule of thumb is to have volunteers serve two to three times per month.

Training: A good team is built with passionate people who want to be part of the organization, and proper training allows you to highlight these people. Pairing new volunteers with experienced veterans for the trial period allows for observation and then actual practice. The final step in training should be to allow the trainee to teach a lesson to someone else, as teaching reinforces learning and existing knowledge.

Community: Community is vital and monthly community nights can serve to build professional relationships between paid and volunteer personnel as well as those outside the church audio-visual team. Having a sense of belonging to a team unites people in your ministry. People recognize the value of being included and the value having a leader whom they can approach. Building relationships with your team gives you personal and professional leverage.