Town meetings are a rare thing these days, but they have the look and feel of a community coming together at important times. The Insider Economic Forums provide this function to an extent. They give the elected representatives a chance to show businesses what they are doing for them, and for the business community to hold them to account.
There is a magic formula to these panels, but it’s a trade secret. All I will say is the choices of speaker can be critical. John Winnard from William Santus and Sons, the Wigan based manufacturer of Uncle Joe’s Mintballs is a colourful personality with great stories to tell. He is as comfortable speaking to a youth club as he is to a business group – here we deliberately left his speech to an introductory 10 minutes with a key message about how he has changed his business.
We were also presented with the challenge of a stand in speaker Susan Gambles from Wigan Council as her colleague Gillian Bishop wasn’t too well. This isn’t a problem, it’s just something to deal with, it happens all the time. Luckily, we made it through unscathed as Susan Gambles was both engaging and professional.
There’s always a question at events like these from someone with an angry local concern. This time it was the roads around Wigan. The important thing for an event chair is to deal with the issue swiftly and move on. Just because one person thinks it important, doesn’t mean everyone else shares that feeling of discontent.
The Insider report from the event is here.