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Picture rights by pfortipforti, 07 Mar 2008 17:29

I agree with the comment above. The table discussions were the best when people didn't know each other, or at least weren't friends from the same company (or dating, which seemed to be the case in once instance). When trying to get a stalled discussion going at tables like the one above people would either be condescending in their responses, start talking only to me (at which point I'd divert my eyes so they'd engage table members), or actually dictate word for word what they thought I should type. I let all this slide for a while, but then decided that I should be a little more strong-armed. I pushed back a little on some people, especially the dominant ones at the table, and found I got some amount of respect and the table-wide conversation picked-up. And, the ones I pushed back on came back to my table three more times. The take-away from this, I believe, is that it would probably be a good idea to put people at tables where they don't know anyone — this way, everyone is a bit out of their comfort zone and the table host is the immediate authority for leading the discussion.

Also, with friends and such at the tables, two people that weren't part of the 'group' asked to leave and join a different table. They felt marginalised by the other table members. I saw these individuals at later table discussions contributing freely, and even driving the conversations.

Re: Table discussions by mattwomattwo, 05 Mar 2008 15:33

No kidding! You guys somehow found order in the chaos…

Re: Registration by sarapeseksarapesek, 05 Mar 2008 11:18

A larger "Pre-Summit" team should be put together for the day before.
There was an incredible amount of work to be done on Wednesday, from hauling all the boxes over to the hotel, accepting deliveries, putting together lightboxes (the first one took me an hour to put together — Jackie was much better at it than I was), hair-drying off the stickers on the boxes, taking stock of what we have, putting together the participant bags, last minute shopping, writing "sold cards", printing last minute agendas/feedback forms/etc, and a whole host of other things took A LOT of time. We never ever would have been able to get it all done without the help of the table hosts after their practice round.

We need to get a clearer participant list much before 5pm the day before the event.
The badges were the last thing we finished Wednesday night and could have been better organized. It's OK to add or remove people at the last minute, but keepign the whole job of getting the badgest together until the night before could have been avoided. It would help to have a separate list for Day 1, Dinner, Day 2, so that we're sure we have the right people on the badges.

We could hire a service of some sort to move all the "stuff" from the office to the venue and back again?
It ended up taking 3 cabs to get to the hotel (and 3 people) and 6 to bring the stuff back (and at least 10 people). At the end of a fast-paced couple of days, the last thing any of us wanted to do was schlep a bunch of heavy boxes back to the office. This was my least favorite part of the Summit. Thank you to everyone who helped out!

by sarapeseksarapesek, 05 Mar 2008 11:14

Most were fantastic but some really difficult:

Difficulties:

  • the second session on Developments in Energy Infrastructure- the questions;
  • Some participants perception of NEF table hosts as unequal and perhaps unknowledgeable. In particular, when a table discussion was stalling, requiring the table host to ask leading questions, attitude, on occasion, verged on rudeness, and total disinterest (their loss). Perhaps this will be better next year when table hosts have had more practice and are more ruthless!;
  • ‘Buddies’ from the same company sticking together- therefore not getting the most out of the discussion and networking opportunity. When Susan made the tables shuffle around about for the 3rd session it was totally different- so much better all round!
Table discussions by NEFANEFA, 04 Mar 2008 21:39

It can be a real struggle being a female in a very male dominated industry, and very difficult to establish females as equally valuable opinion makers and players in the industry (something which NEF generally does very well).

So, while the line up of women speakers, moderators, and staff was fabulous, a lot of the hard work was undone by holding the after-dinner party at a nightclub whose attraction was the semi-naked female dancers. I was very surprised at the choice of venue, especially considering the effort made to represent women leaders in the industry. I think I have a point when I say that there would have been a lot of objection about the appropriateness had we gone to a club where the dancers were semi-naked men…

Inappropriate venue by NEFANEFA, 04 Mar 2008 21:27

Although it was great, Michael’s presentation allotted time was too short, and presentation preparation was too last minute:

- 15 minutes for introductory remarks and thankyous only left 15 minutes for a presentation. It could have been made shorter but I think it needed a full 30 minutes after introductions to deliver a valuable and powerful message, which stimulates questions and discussion.

- Earlier preparation of the presentation would help management of delivery timing.

Re: Name badges by NEFANEFA, 04 Mar 2008 21:21

1. Table hosts should be much more discriminating in what they pass on. A lot of the stuff passed to distillers was to put it politely, platitudes or rubbish. Table hosts should pass on grains of gold, not sand and grit.

2. Summit newsletter should be produced on Publisher, not Word, so it looks more professional.

3. Panellists should be asked proper questions, not given an excuse to tell us their companies' histories. ie follow Chris' example in his session. Panellists should also be asked to comment on the findings from the floor.

4. Drive a much harder bargain with any headhunting firm that sponsors the next summit.

5. Name badges with larger writing.

6. We should have two or three polls of delegates, providing numerical data that can be presented as proper findings. eg 65% of senior executives in clean energy believe that solar energy will be fully competitive with fossil fuel withing five years. Or 80% of delegates believe that jatropha will become a major, cost-effective feedstock for the biodiesel industry by 2010.

Were a great idea, the colours were distinctive & were a 'uniform' that worked well. I think they were more useful during the Summit than the dinner.

Pashminas by hayleysheridanhayleysheridan, 04 Mar 2008 14:38

I thought it was very impressive the way the whole New Energy finance Team pulled together. Even though some had no event experience everyone was happy to lend a hand, there was a great team spirit which was clearly visible and added to the event in a very positive way.

by hayleysheridanhayleysheridan, 04 Mar 2008 14:35

To speed up seating it may work well to have the table numbers & names displayed at the conference as people are leaving so those that want to can find out what table they are seated at before arriving at the dinner venue. This may prevent a sudden rush as dinner begins. Another alternative would be to have the board displayed in the reception area at the dinner venue.

Dinner Seating by hayleysheridanhayleysheridan, 04 Mar 2008 14:32

I think for the next event everyone should be assigned a seat rather than the select few. I think some people felt a little offended that they could sit 'anywhere but tables 1-6'. If all seats are allocated then people will feel more equal.

Dinner Seating by hayleysheridanhayleysheridan, 04 Mar 2008 14:29

Having someone there in the Partners lounge to deal with any issues was a good idea. It was a busy role & definately needed someone who could handle the wide range of requests. I think it was an extra 'treat' that the speakers & partners appreciated.

Concierge by hayleysheridanhayleysheridan, 04 Mar 2008 14:25

Most people left at the same time & having only 5 cars became a big issue. If it wasn't for Toby & Jonas flagging down black cabs on Baker Street & sending them round to the venue we could have had a lot of unhappy people.

Was hard to bring people back into the room without a bell or gong or something.

We didnt always manage to start on time.

The sheepdogs should have been issued with a 'crib sheet' with all the information that they needed on the people to look out for. As it was, the registration team had to dismantle a lot of goodie bags in order to keep providing them with new booklets.

by oliviatenkateoliviatenkate, 04 Mar 2008 13:55

The registration team were absolutely invaluable ;)

Registration by oliviatenkateoliviatenkate, 04 Mar 2008 13:52

Several people have said that the name on the name badges should have been bigger as it made networking even more cruel than usual.

Name badges by oliviatenkateoliviatenkate, 04 Mar 2008 13:51
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