Borrowing Brains, Part V of V

5 Tips to Select and Get the Most Out of
Your A/V Design Consultant

Tip #5. Know What You Want the System to Do and Communicate It!

If you learn nothing else from this article, learn this! I cannot stress enough how important communication is in ANY A/V project! You are the client. Without you, there is no need for consultants or integrators! Now, you don’t have to know every technical detail about every component or things like that. That’s why you HIRE a consultant (design or design/build) to begin with… so you don’t NEED to know! However, you should have a general idea of:

  • What you plan to use the system for most often. Meetings? Telepresence? Shows? Training? There can be different A/V products for different usage applications.
  • What basic groups of functionality you want. Will you hook up laptops for display? Videoconference? Voice lift? Watching movies?
  • What your target budget for the project is. A good consultant, and a good design/build firm, should give you a ‘good-better-best’ scenario – a system that will do just the basics of what you want at the lowest possible price, a slightly more expensive system that does all you want plus (and is expandable) and a top-of-the-line system with all the bells and whistles. Most times, the middle option – neither bargain-basement, nor top-shelf – is the right one for you and your firm… but you should be able to see the options and make up your own mind!
Once you know this information, it’s time to meet with the A/V design consultant or design/build firm. There should be an extensive meeting right from the start to discuss those general points and to view the space where the system will be installed. If your potential consultant doesn’t want to meet, or limits meetings to just a few minutes, find a new potential consultant! Communication is key. It’s absolutely vital that you be able to communicate with them. There is no reason that a client should be dissatisfied with their system’s design if the right designer is chosen and the lines of communication kept free and open.

So, there you are – 5 Tips to Select and Get the Most Out of Your A/V Design Consultant. I hope you will read and utilize these tips. By following them, you should have a very successful, productive relationship with your consultant AND with your integrator!

To begin your search for an A/V Design Consultant, go to and click on “Member Search.” Or, if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic region (MD-DC-NoVA) and would like to try the Design/Build option, contact Advanced Video Systems. It’s our specialty, and we’d be glad to help you out!


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