Chair, business and tech eventsI’ve chaired business and science events including panel discussions, round tables and interviews
These typically involved 10-12 people around a table, discussing different aspects of a single topic.
The main task as the chairperson is to make everyone comfortable, to encourage debate, and ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute. Afterwards, I would write a summary of the event to publish in the magazine or online.
Held in front of an audience of 60-80 people, breakfast panel discussions featured five or six speakers — typically business owners, managing directors and professionals.
My job was to ask questions of the panellists, individually and collectively, and then open up the discussion to audience questions. My preparation included researching the topic, writing a script, and briefing speakers.
Selected Insider panels:
- South West Manufacturing Champions (Swindon)
- Technology and the Future Workforce (Bristol)
- Gloucestershire: Then, Now and Next (Gloucester)
- South West Cyber Security Breakfast (Berkeley)
- Dorset Business Growth (Bournemouth)
AI & Robotics Innovation Forum (London)
A couple of events I chaired were slightly different in that the interviews I conducted on stage were as much about the people as business matters.
It was essential not only to find out about the person’s life and career but to check the information with them beforehand. It’s amazing how often facts in the public domain can be wrong, and also how quickly things change — when companies are growing fast, last year’s turnover and profit figures are quickly superseded. These are the events, with the interviewees listed:
Insider 42 under 42, 2017
Interviews on entrepreneurship with Heather Frankham (Whiteoaks Capital) and Chris Morling (money.co.uk).
RE•WORK Technology Summit, 2014
Interview on next-generation virtual assistants: Chris Brauer (Goldsmiths, University of London).