IT Directors Forum Spring 2016 – Part 3
The IT Directors Forum – delegates, suppliers, Karaoke cruising and ‘Operation Age Concern’
“I risked a second Karaoke offence, and I suspect a lengthy incarceration to satisfy my one and only fan.”
Getting back to the Karaoke for a minute, Richmond Events always lay on Karaoke on the Thursday and Friday nights from 11pm to 1am. This year it was over-subscribed and any song requests not in by midnight failed to get a slot. I got up fairly early on and sang When You’re Gone – for the first time with no ‘Mel C’. As the other would be candidates for Britain’s Got Talent took to the stage I heard a female version of the Journey classic – ‘Just A Small Town Girl’. There weren’t many singers managing to keep within 80% of the key so this young woman stood out, especially as she had such good tonal quality in her voice. The kind of voice that makes you stop and listen.
I bumped into her a couple of hours later in The Globe and while chatting and before I could pay her a compliment about her singing she said. “People that can sing should not go on Karaoke.” I asked her why. She said. “Karaoke is for people that can’t sing.” I must admit, I hadn’t realised this new (EU?) law had been passed and as attack can be the best form defence I told my new found friend that I thought her singing was very good and that I enjoyed her song before I was arrested by the Karaoke Police. I am now seriously reconsidering my Karaoke career. However, we decided to continue with our own Karaoke in The Globe, singing our own songs against the back drop of a noisy night club. I believe our acoustic version of The Best of The Eagles won out against Nile Rodgers at full blast through the sound system.
Before I hung up my vocal cords I had one last request. In fact it is a request I get most years from one of the regular delegates and that is to sing Rockabilly Rebel. This is a favourite warm up Karaoke choice for me – a song I used to sing regularly when I was in a band in the 80s. I risked a second Karaoke offence, and I suspect a lengthy incarceration to satisfy my one and only fan. About an hour later my new friend got up and sang a song that again stopped people in there tracks – Britain really has got talent, and it isn’t just on TV. You just have to keep your ears open and your eyes peeled to find it. I consider my new friend and me to be the resistance against the Karaoke Police – keep singing my friend!
What’s in it for delegates?
If the IT Directors Forum is one big party why would anyone in business where time is such a premium attend? I make light of much of the proceedings because it is such a demanding event, if as a supplier we are going to give the IT Directors Forum the time and energy it requires to make it work.
This year was my 14th IT Directors Forum. It is certainly not an exhibition and if the suppliers are doing their job properly delegates should not be bombarded with PowerPoint presentations. From the feedback we receive from the delegates this is actually a rarity now but in the past we have seen the occasional iPad appear over breakfast, lunch or dinner in the hands of an over eager sales person.
I have always considered the IT Directors Forum to be a club. A club meets for a common cause and members from different walks of life are generally equals. The IT Directors Forum is a club because it gives suppliers and delegates an opportunity to get to know each other and decide whether they want to work together in the future.
It is also a place where delegates get to learn from a number of workshops and speeches. But more importantly, there is an opportunity for delegates to learn from other delegates at meal times and during a number of networking opportunities.
Some of our customers are regular IT Directors Forum delegates typically attending one in two or one in three events. None of them find it easy to take three days out of their business week. But all of them say the event is extremely valuable and very hard work. Every delegate I have met over the past 14 years speaks very highly of the IT Directors Forum. So much so, we have recommended the IT Directors Forum to our customers.
One of the first time delegates mentioned to me last week that he was very close to not attending as he didn’t realise the time spent on board was going to be so valuable. He said he never takes cold calls and never responds to marketing emails so the chances of ever meeting any of the suppliers on board are extremely slim.
What about suppliers?
Many suppliers will look at the cost, consider it an expensive exhibition and rule it out due to the cost. Any traditional sales oriented business wanting to make a quick return are almost definitely making the right direction. But, if you are serious about your business and are in the industry for the long term, there is no better event in my opinion.
As I mentioned earlier, for me the IT Directors Forum is a club. If I am looking for a supplier I am more likely to go to suppliers I have met and spent some time with at the IT Directors Forum. The suppliers that have been on board for several events get to know each other and it is a very supportive community – if you choose to be part of that community.
Our first contact with many of our customers was at one or more IT Directors Forums in the past. Our project engagement with people we have met at the IT Directors Forum ranges between one month and ten years with the average being three years.
The IT Directors Forum is the best event of its kind by far, in my opinion. Made so by the location, format and organisation of the event. The emphasis is on good old fashioned face to face human interaction. Being at sea with limited internet and mobile phone cover results in minimal distractions and full attention being paid to the forum content.The Richmond Events staff take every meeting seriously and track down any delegate failing to arrive at their scheduled meeting.
The IT Directors Forum gives suppliers every opportunity to lay the foundation to develop lasting relationships with potential customers that you would stand very little chance of meeting on shore. What more could you ask?
“A massive thank you to you all for making ITDF2016 another amazing event. See you next year!”
As we disembarked at 7.53am after so little sleep since Wednesday I jokingly said I was doing another walk of shame. Mr Hodges replied. “On this occasion it is the ‘stride of pride’”.
Thank you to all of the delegates and suppliers we met on board that made it such an enjoyable event for us. We hope to see you all again soon, or at future IT Directors Forums. I can’t close without recognising the amazing work of the Richmond Events team. A massive thank you to you all for making ITDF2016 another amazing event. See you next year!
Oh yes, I nearly forgot, ‘Operation Age Concern’! That’s all I’ve got to say about that. You know who you are;O)