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TESTIMONIAL: Why I’m a Safe Pair of Hands to host an International Two Day Virtual Conference

Chris Edmondson of Fresh Start Events sums up why he was glad I was the MC at a two day virtual conference with an international audience


CASE STUDY: a broadcaster able to MC a complex international two day virtual Conference – May 2021

CIMA/AICPA, an international organisation representing the accountancy profession, required an MC to host a two day conference for several hundred delegates, including an annual Awards Ceremony, ensuring that events began on time, break times were not encroached upon, and everything ended on time on both days. Not only did they require somebody who could quickly and credibly engage a professional audience that worked day-to-day on complex issues, but they needed somebody confident delivering remotely, in a broadcast environment, able to ‘hold the room’ if the tech failed. 

The MC was also required to interview the two keynote speakers, Lord Sebastian Coe and Kanya King MBE, in an engaging manner, whilst fielding questions from the audience. In a separate sponsored Round Table discussion, the MC needed to ensure complex detailed questions were answered in a precise format, as requested by the sponsor. For the early evening Awards Ceremony, the organisers wanted a host who could change the mood, bringing energy to a celebratory event, whilst co-presenting with the Company’s President in a complex and fast-moving format, speaking LIVE whilst linking between pre-recorded videos. Once again, the event needed to end on time. During the event, technical problems (outside the organisers’ control) did indeed mean that the MC was required to step in several times to keep delegates engaged. On both days, the event began and ended on time. Within ten minutes of the two-day event ending, Emma Bailey, one of the leaders of the event’s organising team, emailed as follows: “John - you are an absolute, consummate professional. You have really added to the atmosphere -- thanks in part to the incredible preparation you put in beforehand, just as you did when you hosted our conference three years ago. I wanted to email you straight away to thank you -- and ask you for your postal address so we can send you a little something to add to your fee! We look forward to working with you again soon.”


You put in an incredible amount of preparation

John - you are an absolute, consummate professional. You have really added to the atmosphere of the two day virtual conference you have just hosted for us -- thanks in part to the incredible preparation you put in beforehand, just as you did when you hosted our conference three years ago. I wanted to email you now, within ten minutes of the event ending, to thank you -- and ask you for your postal address so we can send you a little something to add to your fee. We look forward to working with you again soon.
Emma Bailey, Senior Europe Events Manager, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants - May 2021


“Best media training in 25 years …” – May 2021

In 25 years of all sorts of media training, that was the best, most useful - and entertaining!
Anna Badcock, Local Government Councillor & Social Media Strategist - May 2021


“The Perfect Masterclass on Engagement”- April 2021

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for yesterday morning. It was the perfect masterclass on engagement! You were superb.
Fleur Castel, Social Media Marketing Specialist - April 2021


“We used all your tips in our own webinar a week after your training … and the feedback was excellent!” — April 2021

I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of John's webinar about how to run a great webinar. In 50 mins John delivered a highly entertaining and extremely useful presentation. In fact, we used all his tips in our webinar one week later and the feedback was excellent. Highly recommended!
John Perkins, Managing Partner, wethepeople Marketing - April 2021


“I’ve now managed to end a virtual meeting on time – thanks, John!” — March 2021

Myself and most of the Elekta European Legal and IP Team participated in John’s “Own the Zoom Room Training” earlier this week. The Team is always reluctant to give up a morning for training as workloads are so high, but the unanimous verdict was that this was worth it. The tips and tricks John goes through are a combination of useful reminders of how to do things, and some new ideas to try -- and I can see that several of them are being used by the Team already. I'm now using the great 'blurred' background on Zoom, and because I'm now thinking about timings much more carefully, I've even even managed to get a Legal Management Team meeting to conclude on time this week. It was good for all of us to refresh our thoughts on how to engage an audience when we are delivering content that is perhaps not the most exciting. But for me the true learning experience came from watching John command the Zoom Room for the training session himself. He did so with a very warm and friendly manner, very clearly -- and with impeccable timing.
Sam Cookman, Business Line General Counsel, Elekta Ltd - 2 March 2021


Using the takeaways, the next day – March 2021

Thanks for a brilliant training course yesterday – full of energy, fast paced, enjoyable and, equally importantly, you made us laugh! I thought you would like to know that I have already put one of your 'takeaways' into action, and am putting a powerful image, that triggers a story, into the opening slide of my virtual staff meeting later today.
Sandra King, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland Community Fund


“Extraordinary engagement, awesome value for money” – March 2021

(MINUTES AFTER A THREE HOUR HALF DAY MASTERCLASS ENDED, ON ZOOM) ... "John, that was amazing. And it was awesome value for money -- I would book you again in a heartbeat, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend you. The engagement level was extraordinary -- I was watching everyone on gallery mode and could see everyone was scribbling notes, everyone was contributing. You used a great trick with the 'peer feedback'. Normally speakers do all the feedback. But you asked us to do it first. So there was always that 'jeopardy', as a participant you had to pay attention as you might ask them next. I'm going to copy that! You found a way to get people to love this new virtual world. You've set the bar high, with a bang."
Dianne Sharp, CEO The Leadership Academy, Sunderland - March 2021


Turning dull slides into a compelling story for a tense council meeting – February 2021

A London based communications company wanted to support a client who needed to persuade councillors about the merits of a major planning proposal during a virtual committee meeting. The client needed to transform a large amount of data and detail into a compelling story that would seize councillors' imaginations. In our first hour long virtual session, we looked at his existing slides, and I set the challenge of telling a story - by re-ordering and reducing the number of slides, often replacing text with images. During our second session, he delivered that 'story' to me in an engaging way. We discussed further tweaks that would take it to an even higher level. He returned the following day for our final session, where in less than an hour he had hit his stride and felt raring to go. The committee meeting that followed, he tells me, was a great success. (He also told me that he celebrated, once the meeting was over, with a large glass of red wine ...)


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