Voxer, Event Day Communication

 

It wasn't oh-so-very long ago that we found ourselves on the phone with each other at a large venue in an attempt to coordinate our efforts to get a bride down the aisle. We needed a better way to communicate during events, & it needed to be something better than 23 minute phone calls, unanswered texts & interrupting a conversation after running across the venue for a question like, "Where are the floral scissors?"

We don't really want to admit how much time we spent researching short range/PTT radios, much less how much money we considered spending on them, but both are significant numbers. But in the end, our conclusion was: It's 2015. There had to be a better way.

Great news: THERE IS A BETTER WAY. Game changer is a strong term, but we believe in what we're about to talk about so much that we're calling it that with conviction. Voxer is its name, event day communication is its game. Voxer is *ahem* "a messaging app for your smartphone with live voice, text, photo and location sharing" - Basically, it's an app that turns your phone into a walkie-talkie. We weren't convinced at first, but after upgrading to a pro account & a trial run at a wedding spanning another large venue, we were SOLD.

We can't recommend this app highly enough for our fellow event planners (& other vendors who like to chat), so we wanted to share some tips on getting the most out of Voxer.

Pro account

- Quite frankly, Voxer is only a viable radio option if you are paying for a pro account. The pro account enables "walkie-talkie mode," allowing you to lock your phone & communicate *nearly* handsfree. You can also add up to 500 people to your chat, so this is a perfect option for planners with multiple team members.

- We are only enabling our pro accounts during our busy months vs. paying for the year. At $3/month per user account, it's definitely affordable. UPDATE: Follow the instructions here to deactivate your pro account - Super easy to reactivate!

Voxer tips

- Set your accounts to private ("Steve" already sent Kelsey a message, & no, she did not have time to chat.) Settings --> My Account Details --> Switch "Search Privacy" to on

- When you open your chat, visit the "Settings" gear on the top right, then click "More options" to select "Enable Walkie Talkie Mode." This setting is what lets you have a handsfree conversation even if your phone is locked & the Voxer app is closed.

- Speaking of, if you're being asked where the cake goes while someone is talking to you on the radio, remember that you can replay the last transmission instead of asking, "What?!" 22 times... because now your teammate is answering a question about the generator. Handy, right?

Phone settings

- Remember that your walkie talkie only works when it's the most recently used app open on your phone. This sounds annoying, but it was pretty easy to remember. Example: If you take a picture of the ceremony backdrop during set-up, switch back to Voxer before you lock your phone screen again. Same rules apply if you receive a phone call or if you open a text message.

- Bluetooth headsets did not work in walkie-talkie mode, so! We're using the ear buds that came with our iPhones, & they've worked out wonderfully. We do highly recommend investing in dresses with pockets (if you're the dress-wearing type) or using an armband.

- You only need to use your right ear bud, since the microphone is attached to this side. (We tucked the left ear bud away.) To make this the most effective, switch all the sound on your phone to the right side: Settings --> General --> Accessibility --> Switch "Mono Audio" to on --> Drag the volume balance to the "R"

- But don't forget to switch it back after the event ends or your next solo dance party is going to be a little unbalanced.

- To talk into the microphone & record a radio message, press the center of the headphone microphone button, record your message, & press again to end the transmission. Pressing it again to end the transmission is REALLY important, as you won't be able to receive messages until you've ended the transmission.

Do you have any feedback on Voxer? Extra tips? Or another means of event-day communication that's been working for you? We'd love to hear all of it!