Manchester Economic Forum 18/1/2012

20 Jan

Sir Richard Leese, Rachel Combie, Michael Taylor, Mike Emmerich

The most important element of a business breakfast event is the pace. People are sleepy, but they’ve been networking for 20 minutes or so beforehand, so it’s important that the debate they passively sit through is engaging.

Insider held the Manchester Economic Forum at Sunlight House, Quay Street, Manchester on the 18th of January 2012 and it was a good start to the year’s event programme.

With a consumate professional politician like Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council since 1996, I knew I was going to get off to a good start. He spoke for a little under the allocated ten minutes in order to allow more time for debate and questions.

The event was attended by over 100 people and the room looked full; there were hands raised to ask questions as well as those from people who’d pre-submitted their queries.

All the panel – Sir Richard, Mike Emmerich from new economy and Rachel Combie from Marketing Manchester – were clear speakers and were well prepared. They had evidence to back up their answers and exuded confidence. Half way way through the event Mike showed me a tweet that someone thought it a bit vanilla. That’s the beauty of such immediate feedback – you can do something about it.

I spiced up the questions with more direct “devil’s advocate” style points to Sir Richard and Mike on mayors and High Speed Rail, knowing I’d get a punchy response. All were in a positive and upbeat pace by this point.

By the time we finished on time with a question about the respective football teams, always guaranteed to elicit humour and some partisan joshing, the audience and panel were positively ebullient.

Coverage here on the Insider website.

Coverage here on John Leach’s blog, with comments.

Coverage here on Gary Chaplin’s blog, with comments.

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