One important yet easily overlooked task in the process of organizing a symposium is that of selecting a public address system for use at the event. A serious symposium is likely to have at least several dozen attendees. Typically though, symposiums attract hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of attendees. If all these people are to comfortably hear the issues being discussed at the symposium, it becomes necessary for some sort of public address system to be used. And as experience has taught me, this task of selecting an ideal public address system for use at a symposium is not easy.
Firstly, the public address system that is selected for use at the symposium needs to be one whose sound output is high enough for the need at hand.
Secondly, the public address system that is selected for use at a symposium needs to be one that is reasonably easy to operate.
Thirdly, the public address system that is selected for use at a symposium needs to be one that doesn’t distort speakers’ voices. At the very least, it needs to be one that has a provision for acoustic feedback cancellation.
Majority of symposium organizers opt to hire the public address systems from companies that specialize in these sorts of things. But some unscrupulous symposium organizers are known to set up their own shell companies — which they then proceed to award the contracts for supply of the public address systems. When we talk of setting up a company, it is just a question of going to the Sunbiz website, and paying a nominal fee for the purpose of Sunbiz fictitious name filing. That is, of course, after first going through the formalities of registering the company at www.sunbiz.org. This way, the unscrupulous symposium organizers can effectively set up shell companies, which they then use to award themselves public address system supply contracts. The scheme may not be particularly illegal, but surely, allegations about conflict of interest can be raised about the whole arrangement.