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Opinion: A different kind of housing conference

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Opinion: A different kind of housing conference

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Opinion: A different kind of housing conference Opinion: A different kind of housing conference

By Caroline King, Head of Communications & Engagement, Helena Partnerships

Events and conferences can come and go and most don’t really stick. You get sucked into well written conference guides and make your booking. If you’re lucky you get some joining instructions and then on the day you get to choose a fairly boring badge, get a brew and stand around nervously looking for a friendly face.

That’s usually my experience although I’ve realised over the years that lurking by the biccies usually brings you a sugar dependent conference friend pretty quickly.

I think it’s fair to say that Comms Hero wasn’t like this at all. Here are my reflections on the inaugural Comms Hero event which was held at the stunning Bridgewater Hall. I hope my musings make those who attended reflect with a smile and those who are undecided about a future event make a booking today.

The way the event was promoted really stood out. A perfect example of the power of social media was the Comms Hero movement that was established in a matter of weeks. Prospective delegates were actively engaged. They were made to feel special and were encouraged to check out the event website and turn that warm fuzzy feeling into a booking.

The booking process was simple and personal and all delegates were given a friendly Twitter thank you when their booking was made. You might think that this is just common courtesy but I felt it went much deeper than that. A simple public thank you welcomed people into the Comms Hero family and allowed them to line up their conference friends up front.

I’ve organised lots of events in my time and hope that just one of those provided the sort of experience that Comms Hero offered. It was a conference, there was an agenda and a series of speakers, but unlike many conferences, it was an experience from start to finish.

I was so honoured to chair the first event and that in itself was a first for me. I’ve spoken at events but never taken the chair. Despite a last minute panic about the height of the stage and my heels, it went pretty smoothly and I loved being in the hot seat.

A fab line up of speakers definitely helps things along and Comms Hero excelled itself with @grantleboff @HelReynolds @danslee @johnpopham. As well as top class content and practical knowledge that you could just take away and do something with, it was their presenting styles that I homed in on.

From stand up, talk with no props and get away with it because you’re just so good at what you do to eye catching presentations with more pictures than words and a dash of video and sound thrown in for good measure. The format was fun and definitely not formulaic.

The extras you don’t usually get for your money included a singing comedy diva, @SarahACromwell, who had created an annoyingly catchy event theme tune, laughter yoga to combat the post-lunch slump courtesy of @LaughterInMind and amazing visual minutes by @fran_ohara that cleverly captured the key messages and made the event a story in itself. Oh yes, a clothes rail full of capes and comedy underpants was made available with no pressure to participate.

All in all a great day that flew by and left you wanting more. Why was Comms Hero a first for me? I felt like I belonged there, I felt part of the Comms Hero movement, the attention to detail and goodie bag were second to none and by the end of the day I felt relaxed and euphoric enough to do a Wonder Woman twirl on camera, which is the biggest first of all.

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