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CASESTUDY: Keeping a complex, fast-moving conference to time for the UK government – February 2023 10 February 2023

A UK government department needed a host for a regional event aimed at helping businesses to grasp the opportunities of the digital world when exporting abroad. With such a complex subject, they required someone who would cut through the jargon, keep the focus, and where possible, make it fun. And with nine ‘slots’ involving 13 speakers over five hours — one of them joining remotely — the time pressures were significant and the logistics fast moving. Two panel discussions with three guests each also needed handling with aplomb and tact, to ensure nobody over-spoke and questions from the audience were heard. I love challenges like this. My background as a live news broadcaster meant that I understood the importance of starting and ending items to the minute, while my training as a journalist meant my introductions focussed on the big picture, giving clear context to the speaker ahead. My ability to handle technical difficulties and ‘fill’ at a moment’s notice was to come in handy — when the live link to Melbourne proved elusive, and on-the-spot alternatives were required. Immediately after the event, the lead Event Manager wrote on Linked In: “Thanks to our event host, John Young, for doing a great job of keeping us focused, on schedule and engaging our audience throughout.”

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