South East Dealmakers Awards – 2/2/2012

2 Feb


I  just had to make a short speech at the beginning of these awards held at Effingham Park in Surrey. I tried to get across the importance of high growth businesses to the economic recovery and how the national media tends to talk down business success. I used a bit of humour and a few lines about banker bashing and Knockabout politics, but at heart it was a serious speech before dinner.

My main role, in reality, was the script work I did before the event and on the night with the host and compere Gyles Brandreth. He likes to flirt and titillate the audience – he is much loved for what he does and has that lovely mix of camp and warmth. He also manages to switch from jovial to sincere very effectively.

Me and my good friend and colleague on these events, Ian Wolfendale, feed Gyles with local and industry anecdotes and the odd one liner. More than any other compere I have worked alongside, Gyles really seems to appreciate these. Some, believe it or not, resent it; they think they can write their own material. But the constant feedback from business events is that level of research fosters a sense of intimacy. As a result, we tend to over-prepare. Gyles can then discount what he is less comfortable with yet feel he has fall back material. If he wants these are the safer lines about the award winners and shortlisted which he can still deliver authentically.

Gyles also playfully strikes the balance between taking the awards seriously but not taking life too seriously. It’s a narrow line. But these awards should matter, and it is an important job of a host to ensure they do.

Overall, it was a successful night. Gyles was on good form and most importantly the audience enjoyed the whole show. It also gets me tuned in for my first event hosting job of the year next Thursday at the Lancashire Dealmakers Awards at Blackburn Rovers.


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