It’s been a couple of weeks since I attended the M&IT Agency Challenge and I’ve had time to consider the event or more accurately assess if it was days well spent for TechPro Event Services Director, Mike Foyle and myself.
The event was superbly hosted by The Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales, scene of the great 2010 Ryder Cup when Europe regained the trophy from the US. Golf wasn’t on the agenda, but it proved an intense three days of networking, learning, presenting and lots of meetings.
Following check-in on the Tuesday evening, we were treated to a fantastic informal drinks and buffet reception, with suppliers like TechPro able to run through and rehearse the presentations being given the next day.
Beginning properly on the Wednesday, with the introductions over, the 10-minute supplier presentations began. To ensure everyone paid attention to every word, each 10-minute presentation included a 2-minute, three question quiz (answers to which had been given during the presentation). Teams had 30 seconds to enter each answer onto the iPads provided with built in voting software from Sli.do.
Our hosts Celtic Manor Resort & ICC Wales quite rightly kicked things off with a hilarious sing along which was just what everyone needed to break the ice and set them up for the day.
When it came to our presentation slot, we were as usual keen to spread the TechPro message and highlight the benefits of appointing an AV services provider that can be trusted to deliver every time, without any drama, allowing our clients to focus on keeping their clients happy.
Eight minutes isn’t a lot of time to get across everything we do so instead of a presentation, we made our session interactive and memorable in the form of our cable coil challenge which got everyone up and involved.
If you are wondering, our mini-quiz questions were: what colour labels adorn our 5m cables; what percentage of our work is undertaken in Europe; and how quickly do we turn around quotes? (Green, 75% and 24 hours to stop you guessing.)
Throughout the days we all had to complete challenges, having first been split into teams – green and white benefitted from the talents of the TechPro twosome. Despite our best efforts, neither the green or white teams won, that title went to Team Purple who led from the outset of day 1.
The scavenger hunt sounded fun, but the aerial rope challenge in the middle was a sobering few minutes and not for the faint-hearted – but then neither is live event production! This was followed by as escape room style activity and a video challenge undertaken with the help of CAT Media.
As with any industry networking event, the real reason we attend is to meet up and build relationships with like-minded industry professionals who perhaps have little or no knowledge of what TechPro has to offer.
After the presentations and our 1-to-1 meetings, more live event professionals understand just how we combine quality assured equipment, highly qualified technical teams and experienced project management to ensure flawless delivery of live events – so from that perspective the event was a great success.
But when pressed to sum up our trip to Celtic Manor Resort, these would be my conclusions:
- The format taken at this challenge was unlike anything we have experienced at other networking events and one that I feel worked well. The opportunities we had to build relationships with our team members as well as everyone we were seated with across the lunches and dinners, not to mention the informal networking over evening drinks was superb.
- It was clear some of those at the event are very happy in front of the camera, keen to show-off in a good way – you know who you are, Sandals, Butlins and Riga Tourism Development Bureau! But we were happy behind the camera, doing our best work in the shadows, in a supporting role. It’s what TechPro do.
- We set a challenge that involved untangling a veritable Medusa’s hair-do of coiled cables, which is always harder than it looks. It was clear from the gusto and determination with which some teams approached the problem that the world of live events breeds a competitive nature.
- This was our first time at the M&IT Agency Challenge, and we were impressed by the effort put into some of the presentations, which were truly awesome – looking at you Celtic Manor/ICC Wales and The Brighton Centre. The professionalism with which they approached their presentations shows just how highly they regard the event and those attending.
- The Celtic Manor Resort and CAT Media went above and beyond to ensure we all felt really well looked after; nothing was too much trouble. This determination to engage with every attendee reflects well on the live event industry we call home.
We made so many new connections and friends over the 3 days and this can only be a good thing. If you didn’t make it to South Wales and would like to know more about TechPro, please get in touch and we’ll come to you.