Conference Matters; Lots To Talk About…

Hard to think that it is two years since I was able to attend a good old fashioned proper conference. You know one of those affairs where there was a really good line up of good, well respected speakers, who were experts in their field. People who you looked forward to hearing what they had to say, and inspired and instigated lively and intelligent debate. The sort of event where you not only remembered what was said but made it matter going forward.

Such occasions are, if I am honest quite rare, but when they are good they are good. The particular event that I am attending has an excellent and I have to say innovative line up of pedigree speakers. From one of the most respected politicians in the UK, to award winning MD’s and a healthy sprinkling of bright, new faces, who are being invited to add youth, energy, and vision, to proceedings.

The last time that I was invited to present at such an event as ever, preparation was the key. If there is one thing that I have learned it is this. If you are going to stand up and talk to people, let alone your peers then you need to make sure that you do your homework. There is an army saying that good taste will not allow me to quote, but it goes along the lines that poor preparation leads to poor presentation. As is often the case this is very true, I learned many years ago as a young man that if you attempt to blag it, or wing it, it never ends well. Quite simply there is no substitute for planning your presentation, rehearsing it over, time and time again, until you are happy that you know it well enough. And then being confident and focused enough to get up there and deliver it, and by the way dont be afraid of trying to make it entertaining. I am not advocating clown like props, but smart and clever humour always goes down well. People like to be entertained, it is after all the human condition.

I have been lucky to have heard the very best of the best that the UK has to offer, from Sir Brian Souter, to Sir Moir Lockheed, Sir Peter Hendy, to Giles Fearnley. All giants of the industry, all charismatic and all articulate, funny, and intelligent men, individually they shaped the landscape of the Industry for over forty years, they were the best of their generation and when they spoke you listened. And I am delighted that I have been able to meet, know, and dare I say it befriend the new leaders, and they are equally engaging in their own ways. It would not be appropriate to mention names but some of you reading this know who you are.

They will be in attendance next week, and maybe amongst the newcomers might be the latest generation. Either way dear reader chum I will as ever keep you posted and informed.

Written by Austin Birks

April 3, 2019

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