What is the role of a technical director, and how can they help you?

Feb 22, 2023
4 Min read

In this article, we will explore the following: 

  • Why a technical director is a crucial player in the world of event planning;
  • How a technical director can take the stress out of planning your next event;
  • The value a technical director can add to your association when it comes to managing all technical requirements of the event; and
  • The practical strategies of how a technical director can reduce your overall event spend

Whether you're planning a conference, exhibition, trade show, or networking event, one of the keys to a successful and unforgettable experience lies in the technical details. A technical director can help address the rising costs of AV at venues and increasing complexity around how content is delivered at events, utilising their expertise to identify cost-effective solutions whilst ensuring that everything runs like a well-oiled machine at all times.

A crucial player in the world of event planning, the technical director is tasked with managing the technical aspects of an event from start to finish. Working closely with the association team, venue, technical crew, and AV supplier, they take charge of everything from planning to execution to ensure that every aspect of the technical production runs smoothly. 

As a technical director, the first step in designing a successful event is to consult with the association that is hosting it. This initial consultation is crucial to understanding the goals and objectives of the event, as well as the overall experience that is being designed.

The technical director will work closely with the association to gain a deep understanding of the audience, the venue, the budget, the equipment available, and any unique features or requirements that need to be taken into account. By working collaboratively with the association, the technical director can create a comprehensive plan for the event that includes everything from lighting and sound to networks and digital signage, ensuring that the event runs smoothly and meets the expectations of everyone involved. 

After the initial consultation with the association, a technical director will use the knowledge gained to design detailed technical plans for the event. These plans will take into account the requirements of the event, the venue, and the equipment available.

Cost Control

The technical director will then brief the venue and any vendors involved in providing equipment and resources, providing clear instructions on how everything should be set up and operated during the event. This is where the technical director's expertise and experience come into play, as they will be able to identify potential issues and devise solutions in advance. With a sharp focus on keeping everyone within the event budget, the technical director will propose alternative options and backup plans to maximise the attendee experience while staying within the set budget.

Event Set Up
As the event approaches, the technical director will oversee the bump-in and set up at the venue to ensure that everything is installed and configured as designed. This involves working closely with the venue staff and any vendors involved in the event to ensure that all technical elements are in place and functioning correctly. The technical director will also coordinate with the production team to ensure that all technical aspects of the event are integrated seamlessly into the overall experience.

During the set-up, the technical director will perform quality checks and tests to ensure that everything is working as intended, making any necessary adjustments and troubleshooting issues as they arise. Once the set-up is complete, the technical director will continue to monitor the event closely, making any necessary changes or adjustments to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Ultimately, the technical director's goal is to ensure that the event is a success, and that all technical elements contribute to an unforgettable experience for the audience. 



Show Calling
In addition to overseeing the technical aspects of an event, a technical director will often direct or "show call" the most crucial elements of a show. This involves coordinating with the production team to ensure that all technical elements are integrated seamlessly into the overall experience, and then taking control of the show during the critical moments. When calling a show, the technical director relies on a set of "comms" to communicate with their team, including technical operators, stage managers, and front of house staff. Through these channels, the TD cues actions and coordinates people to ensure a seamless and impactful performance that effectively delivers the intended message to the audience. This requires strong communication skills and the ability to remain calm under pressure, as any technical issues or mistakes can have a significant impact on the overall success of the event. By directing the most critical elements of a show, the technical director can take the pressure off event managers and utilise their expert production knowledge to ensure the performance goes off without a hitch. 

Manage and Oversee Operators
A technical director will also manage either their own team of operators, or oversee the venue operators (if the venue requires their own operators). They need to be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each person they work with and allocate tasks accordingly to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Good communication is essential to ensure that everyone understands their role and responsibilities, and that everyone is working towards a common goal. The technical director must be able to provide clear instructions, feedback and guidance to their team, and be able to handle any conflicts or issues that arise. By being able to assess competencies and work with different people effectively, the technical director can ensure that the team is working at their best and that the event is a success.  

In conclusion, a technical director is an essential part of any association's event team. A skilled technical director can make the difference between a successful event and a disastrous one and the best technical directors are not noticed, because everything runs smoothly as a result of the planning and execution.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to take your association's events to the next level. Consider engaging a technical director today to ensure a seamless and engaging experience for your attendees. If you are interested in understanding how our team of experienced Technical Directors can help your event, please feel free to reach out to us for a chat.


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