Tag Archives: Networking

Ubiquity City Social – El Pecado

Last week, I attended the Ubiquity City Social networking event at El Pecado. Located and hidden away on Bold Street in the heart of Liverpool’s Ropewalks, this cosy little Spanish eatery provided an ideal backdrop, to a delightful evening of networking. It was a lovely event to attend, and I came away afterwards not only impressed with the networking, but also of the venue and its homely surroundings.

Arriving at the event early, I was greeted with friendly welcomes and smiles. This was followed by refreshments including tapas that was tasty enough, to satisfy the hungry and salivating appetites. Other refreshments included glasses of sangria and wine, which was certainly popular with several attendees.

The event featured an interesting mix of people. Naturally there were several familiar faces, including some I had not seen for a long while, and I was also delighted to meet some new faces too. These included Heather Anderson of The Hive Youth Zone, Russell Gannon of Baltic Triangle Area CIC and Jane Slinger-Brennan of Rutherford Diagnostics. It was interesting to listen to their stories about what they do, which not only gave me food for thought, but also some potential ideas for future blogging content (watch this space).

El Pecado was a homely yet atmospheric restaurant. This is because I noticed how the tables and chairs were neatly arranged closely to each other. I also noticed the low-hanging lights on the ceiling and the closeness of the kitchen, which gave a sense of intimacy. In my opinion, El Pecado has the feeling and touch of an old-fashioned family-run restaurant with a soul and sense of comfort, fitting in nicely within the unique community and vibrant surroundings of Bold Street.

My thanks go to Joel Jelen and everyone at Ubiquity PR for organising a fine networking event. I also would like to thank the staff of El Pecado for the tapas, the sangria and the other refreshments, which all helped to make for a lovely evening.

Thanks for reading!

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Professional Liverpool – Creative, Digital & Tech Sector Group Launch

The city of Liverpool has a vibrant and fast growing creative, digital and technology sector. Across the entire Liverpool City Region (LCR), there are many businesses who utilise technology to collaborate and work with partners and clients. However there needs to be a single unifying voice, to represent the interests of Liverpool’s creative, digital and tech community.

I was delighted to recently attend the launch of Professional Liverpool’s Creative, Digital and Tech Sector Group, at Roxy Ballroom in Liverpool. The purpose of this group is to provide a representative voice to the sector, and to raise awareness and promote it to the LCR and beyond.

Collaboration was the theme for this event, including the importance to businesses. This featured guest speakers who provided an overview of the group’s purpose and aims, along with why businesses need to collaborate. Led by Paul Furlong of Opus Media, who is the group’s chairman, the other speakers were Kelly Forshaw of Laduma, and Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap, who gave some interesting examples of successful collaboration from their experiences in business.

The launch had a feel-good vibe to the atmosphere. With a warm, informal and quirky touch, there was plenty of networking, and collaboration with a packed-out audience feeling at ease, leading to hearty laughs and conversation. This was helped by the drinks, pizzas and chicken wings provided, along with the indoor golf, bowling alleys and table tennis.

I certainly hope the Creative, Digital and Tech Group is successful for Professional Liverpool and the region. Judging by the success of this event, I have great hopes for this group to encourage Liverpool’s creative, digital and technology community, and to collaborate successfully with other businesses and organisations. In these tough and digitally connected times, businesses and industry sectors can no longer afford to work within silos.

This means collaboration is the way forward for businesses and organisations, regardless of public, private or charitable sector position. This can only be achieved through open and honest communication, teamwork, and a willingness to listen and work together.

I was glad to have attended, as I am looking forward to learning more from future events. It was a pleasant evening and I would like to thank all the speakers, and everyone at Professional Liverpool and Roxy Ballroom, for coming together and successfully collaborating on a successful group launch.

LinkedOffline – A Networking Event with a Difference

It is good to attend a networking event and come away afterwards feeling that you have encountered something completely different. This is because some networking events are mostly similar in style and structure, meaning that you subconsciously expect the same every time.

Last month, I was delighted to attend the LinkedOffline networking event in the NYL Lounge in Liverpool’s Aloft Hotel. Having been involved with the LinkedIn and WhatsApp groups I was made to feel very welcome, which is why I decided to attend this event. I had also heard reasonably good vibes from the groups, and I was looking forward to attending.

Having arrived for the event at the Aloft, I was made to feel very welcome, meaning the positive vibes were justified. There was an interesting mix of people from different backgrounds, with shared stories, hearty good-natured laughs and also conversations on a wide variety of topics. A interesting little bonus was that I met up with some familiar faces, and I learned how to use the scan function within the LinkedIn app to connect with people.

The event began with an open-networking feel allowing everyone to informally meet, mingle and mix socially. Following this there was a welcome speech, which was followed by a group discussion, where everyone was broken into groups allowing for a brief discussion on what qualities made for good leadership. In addition these discussions enabled icebreaking to allow for everyone to introduce themselves, in a comfortable and relaxing environment, whilst also listening and learning from the stories of others. This made the event different from others I have previously attended, which was pleasant for me personally, as I came away with something new.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed the event and I recommend LinkedOffline to anyone in Liverpool. Set in a lovely and welcoming environment such as the Aloft, you can be sure to have a nice evening of networking.

I would like to thank Pam Case and Ian Denny the co-founders of LinkedOffline for organising a lovely event.

The Platform – Has Liverpool Got the Media it Needs?

There are so many media platforms in Liverpool today. From newspapers, online news and blog sites, the media representation of Liverpool has transformed beyond recognition.

At this month’s Platform event in Liverpool Science Park, I was delighted to attend and listen to an interesting debate, which looked at Liverpool’s media community. Led by representatives from the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk, this was a debate that was informative and engaging, with the panel and audience each having plenty to say. It was a lively discussion and at times very feisty!

Because media is a broad subject, this debate focused on how Liverpool is represented locally, where resources can be applied, the fairness of media coverage, and if any improvements can be made. The panel included Ryan McKernan from Agent Marketing, Paul O’Connor from Hit Search, Rosie Kenyon from Kenyons, Susan Lee from the Liverpool Echo, Pauline McAdam from BBC Radio Merseyside, Mick Coyle from Radio City Talk, and Liam Fogarty from the University of Central Lancashire.

I have learned plenty about the local media in Liverpool. For starters, print media is declining due to the fall in circulation, and fierce competition from online platforms. This means smaller print titles face a difficult and uncertain future, meaning some will cease to exist.

As a long-standing local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo continues to adapt and buck the trend for print media. This is through a combination of advertising revenue and their continued coverage of news representing all aspects of life in the city, including crime, politics and football. Indeed, I have learned the Echo recently saw a 60% surge in paper sales due to Liverpool’s recent dramatic Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona, which shows how popular topics such as football helps to attract and grow audiences.

Advertising is also crucial for both traditional and digital media platforms. Whilst BBC Radio Merseyside is funded by the licence fee, others are reliant on revenue generated by advertising through audience growth, from the popularity of content created that connects and resonates with people. Therefore, to create and market content, it is important to know the target audience, and how to deliver and connect with them.

Despite the popularity of online platforms, I was also interested to learn that radio is still popular. Radio is a very simple concept that makes a connection with people and is also second to none when producing and delivering news, that relates to people in Liverpool. It also has the advantage of being continually able to rapidly adapt and produce content to fit the changing tone of these current times.

I also learned other interesting points related to Liverpool’s local media, which include the following.

  1. Engaging with people to get messages across.
  2. Need to be digitally literate and know how to use platforms properly.
  3. Plan what a campaign needs to do.
  4. Digital marketing is a very broad term.
  5. Know how to deliver content to a targeted audience.
  6. Content needs to tell stories that resonate with the audience.
  7. In negative stories, look for the positives.

Does Liverpool have the media it needs? Reflecting on what I have learned, I believe the media in Liverpool serves the city reasonably well. Platforms such as the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk produce content relevant to the city and its people, from local politics, public and mental health, environment, knife crime, government cuts, to other subjects such as football.

However, I also believe they can cover more stories related to the good things happening in Liverpool. These can include stories related to people, businesses, tourism and other topics. Indeed, there are several news websites such as Liverpool Business News, Good News Liverpool, My Planet Liverpool and The Guide Liverpool, which produce good quality content about positive things happening in the city.

I appreciate and respect that topics such as crime, local politics and football needs to be covered with limited media resources, as they are popular and helps sales. However, it is surely worth taking an occasional risk in covering other subjects, that may not get as much attention.

Is there any harm in trying?

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the panel members for their contribution to a lively debate, and to the members of the audience for their participation. My thanks also go to Liverpool Science Park for sponsoring the event. Finally, I would also like to thank Amanda Follit, Mick Ord, Garth Dallas and Steve Dickson, for organising a very thought-provoking discussion.

BIMA & The Joy of Work with Bruce Daisley – A Review

In every organisation, the workplace culture has a considerable effect on the productivity of employees. This is because if a working environment makes them feel good and positive about what they do, they will be more productive. However, if the environment is infected with negativity, this has the opposite effect on employees feeling disillusioned and stressed, sometimes to the detriment of their health.

I recently attended an event organised by BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) at The Plaza in Liverpool. Presented by Bruce Daisley who is the European VP of Twitter, the purpose of this event was to look at how workplace culture affects an employee’s productivity. The event began with a delicious lunch, followed by Bruce’s talk, a Q&A session, before finishing with an opportunity to have a free copy of Bruce’s new book The Joy of Work, signed by the man himself.

Following the lunch, Bruce introduced the talk by starting with his background. This was before speaking in detail about how the modern workplace environment is becoming increasingly permeated with stress, affecting not only the physical and mental wellbeing of employees, but also the creativity and productivity of organisations. Reasons include the changing digitalisation of the business world, the feeling of being overworked or underutilised, and the constant daily overload of information. In simple terms, as the modern workplace has changed, the levels of stress has soared through the roof.

I was impressed with how Bruce talked about how stress and negativity in the workplace affects creativity. This is because when under pressure (e.g. sitting at your desk waiting for ideas), the thinking of fresh ideas when under the microscope destroys an individual’s creative capacity. I have always believed that good ideas only come to you when you are relaxed, and this certainly reaffirmed this for me.

Bruce also made other interesting points related to stress, and the negative effects on creativity. These gave me plenty to consider about what the workplace environments of the future need for employees to feel positive, and for creativity to thrive.

These points include the following:

  1. Modern working systems thrive on overwork.
  2. Physical productivity goes down when we are overworked.
  3. We are very close to a burnout generation.
  4. Creativity gets killed when put under the gun.
  5. The human brain is configured to make a certain number of decisions per day.
  6. Mental fatigue is when the quality of decisions made drops.
  7. In order to be productive, it is vitally important to recover well.
  8. Weekend e-mails are a fast way to workplace burnout.
  9. Sleep is a real performance-enhancing activity.
  10. Creative offices have more face-to-face conversation between people.
  11. Time when travelling is creative.
  12. Stress lingers in the mind like a hangover.
  13. Creativity is the last competitive advantage.

To promote a working culture that embraces creativity and encourages new ideas, there is plenty for organisations and individuals to consider. These include providing a workplace environment that supports employees by managing stress, promoting wellbeing and preventing overworking to maintain productivity and quality of decision making. Communication barriers must be removed to prevent individuals, teams, departments and groups from working within silos, by encouraging face-to-face communication between all parties.

On reflection, there were several takeaways that I learned. The first and most important was that stress kills creativity. The second is that being relaxed and loose in thought is when creativity happens. A third takeaway is that creative magic happens when humans work together. My final takeaway is the importance of mental recovery and replenish through sleep, relaxation and even mindfulness. What I have learned from all this and more, has given me a better understanding of what is required to be creative.

I loved every minute of the event. From the talk given by Bruce, to the intelligent and insightful questions asked by the audience, it was an experience that I gleamed so much learning from, of which I am truly grateful.

The event also allowed me the opportunity to network, mingle and share notes, experiences and compare understandings, with many familiar faces. These included Andy Kent from Angel Solutions, Ian Finch from Mando Agency, Gavin Sherratt of Mashbo, Phil Adams from Langtons, Alex Clark from Professional Liverpool, Leon McCowan from Your Business Mobiles, Nicola Forshaw from Mindfit and Sarah Lowe from Bruntwood. An added bonus was that I got a taste of using AR (Augmented Reality) technology provided by Holdens Agency, which involved viewing the venue surroundings in real-time over a superimposed image, which was an amazing experience.

My thanks go to Bruce for a thought-provoking talk, and for signing my copy of his book, which I am looking forward to reading and reviewing. Finally, I would like to thank everyone at Bruntwood, BIMA and LCR Activate for organising a terrific event.

Weightmans Wednesday – Professional Liverpool

I have mentioned plenty about Professional Liverpool, and of the events I have attended previously. Therefore it was a real pleasure to attend this month’s Weightmans Wednesday in Liverpool, where I was able to listen and learn about the work that Professional Liverpool does in promoting the business community in the Liverpool City Region (LCR).

The speaker for the event was John Hall who is the former Managing Partner of Bermans Solicitors, and since 2011 has been Chief Executive of Professional Liverpool. During that time, Professional Liverpool has grown successfully as a crucial voice in Liverpool’s business scene, which meant I was really looking forward to learning more about the organisation. This is because whilst I already knew that Professional Liverpool provides excellent networking opportunities for businesses, I knew little about the great work they do in providing a voice for businesses in Liverpool.

John talked eloquently about how the organisation’s membership base has significantly grown since 2011. In addition, John talked about how the organisation provides a voice to the professional business community in Liverpool, and how the events hosted provide a valuable and educational insight into how businesses and the economic landscape is constantly changing. As I listened, I came to understand that Professional Liverpool is more than just about networking and promoting the LCR, as it is also about educating, developing and supporting the business community.

I also learned some interesting facts about Professional Liverpool, which I have listed below:

  1. Professional Liverpool has over 500 members.
  2. Members are from many industry sectors including law, finance, marketing, digital and more.
  3. They hold up to 100 events a year from networking lunches, training seminars to the flagship Cannes Do event, which this year raised £13,874 for charity.
  4. By supporting and representing the professional business sector within the LCR, Professional Liverpool has supported an estimated 107,000 jobs in 12,000 companies.
  5. The above helps in generating more than £8billion per annum in gross value added (GVA).
  6. A new Creative, Digital and Technology specialist group to support Liverpool’s creative, digital and tech community is being launched.
  7. Professional Liverpool also has other specialist groups including Development & Regeneration, Healthcare, Private Client, Property, Marketing & Communications and Corporate Finance.

What I have learned is that Professional Liverpool plays a massive role in supporting businesses, and working with public and private sector partners for the benefit of the city. It is through continual collaboration and the willingness of everyone to raise Liverpool’s profile and brand, that will be a decisive factor in the future. This is why the organisation is a tremendous asset to the LCR, and also why John and everyone involved in the organisation, from the board, the membership, and those who work behind the scenes at Professional Liverpool, deserve the respect and appreciation of the entire professional business sector in the LCR.

My thanks goes to everyone at Weightmans for organising the event. I would also like to personally thank John for sharing the story of Professional Liverpool, which was delivered with heartfelt passion, experience and also humour. It was such an uplifting talk that reminded me of how proud I am to work in our wonderful city, and I shall continue to support John and Professional Liverpool in representing local businesses, and to promote the city of Liverpool.

Thanks for reading!

The Platform – Commercial Property in Liverpool

When attending networking events, it can be difficult to find one that focuses on quality of networking. This month I attended The Platform, which is a unique business networking event, in that it not only allows professionals to network, develop quality connections, and listen to top-level speakers, but it also allows them to talk about their businesses. It is the latter that separates The Platform from other events that I have attended previously.

Held at Hill Dickinson in Liverpool, the event’s theme looked at Liverpool’s commercial property sector. This included what the Liverpool City Region (LCR) has achieved, along with some of the shortcomings that can be addressed for the region to do better commercially. Being interested in what is happening in Liverpool, with regards to commercial developments and how the local and national economic landscape is changing, I was keen to find out more for myself.

To discuss Liverpool’s commercial property sector in detail, the event included a panel discussion featuring interactive questions submitted by attendees. The panel featured Sue Wrightthe_platform1-2 who is Signature Living’s Managing Director, Mark Lawler who is the Managing Director of Baltic Creative CIC and Alex McCann of Hill Dickinson. Each speaker talked about their businesses, and their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the LCR’s commercial property sector, which was interesting for me to learn about.

The discussion was a fascinating insight into the workings of the commercial sector of Liverpool. With the panel’s experience and knowledge, I discovered some interesting points about Liverpool’s commercial strengths and areas for improvement. These gave me plenty to ponder for myself, which I have included below.

  1. Despite economic uncertainty the commercial property sector in Liverpool is very buoyant.
  2. Investors are still coming from countries such as China and America to invest in the city region.
  3. Major successes include the growth of the Baltic Triangle, which has delivered 1500 jobs in the last five years.
  4. Liverpool has a fast developing digital and creative economy.
  5. 4% of economic growth comes from outside of Liverpool.
  6. Major infrastructure improvements in transport, telecommunications and others are needed.
  7. Getting the balance right between residential and commercial property is paramount.

From listening to the panel discussion, I gained a balanced understanding of Liverpool’s commercial property sector. What I have learned is the city region has a tremendous can-do attitude and massive appeal to global investors, evident from the development of the Baltic Triangle, and to the sight of massive cranes visible over the Liverpool skyline. Future developments such as the Ten Streets, Paddington Village and the Fabric District also bring many possibilities to transform the city region’s economy. Despite these currently difficult economic and political times, the city is looking ahead in an optimistic and positive mood.

I am also aware there is still plenty to improve upon for Liverpool and the surrounding boroughs e.g. Wirral, Sefton and Knowsley to realise their commercial potential. This means everyone in the city region need to not only come together, but to also have a single unifying purpose and vision that inspires, encourages and drives all to work together as one, for the greater good of the Liverpool City Region.

I enjoyed ethe_platform1-3verything about The Platform from start to finish. I loved the quality of the networking, the panel discussion, the conversations, and the plush surroundings. As a result, I am looking forward to attending the next Platform event, of which I recommend to any professional in business.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Garth Dallas, Steve Dickson, Amanda Follit and Mick Ord for organising the event, and to Sue Wright, Mark Lawler and Alex McCann for being such great and interesting speakers. My thanks also go to Hill Dickinson for hosting the event.