There are many unique skills and talents under the Event House roof. Broadsword are very proud of their people and the #OneTeam approach.
In a bid to shift things into more of an ‘open plan’ format, team members John Telfer and Simon Baines are taking on new Producer roles within our Event Team, and trailblazing a different approach to Broadsword’s project management. They will be responsible for taking events from initial brief through to delivery, sitting at the heart of a project and pulling together all the necessary resources to produce a brilliant show.
Here’s their take on their next step.
How did your involvement in the events industry all start?
John: In 2007, I started at the McLaren Technology Centre, running the theatre in their marketing department as well as setting up AV systems for ad hoc events such as car launches, press conferences and a particular highlight being Lewis Hamilton’s homecoming to the MTC after winning his maiden World Championship. Next in 2010 I moved to London working initially as a technician, then a technical sales manager at a number of hotels, eventually ending up at Central Hall Westminster where I stayed for three years.
In 2013 I challenged myself with a move to the UAE to take on higher profile and larger budget projects. There I worked in the St Regis, Saadiyat Island hotel in Abu Dhabi and the world-famous Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. Returning to London I spent another three years working as an Area Sales Manager then Account Manager, before joining Broadsword as an Account Manager in 2017.
Simon: When I first moved to London, I worked in a recording studio and this led me to mixing live sound for bands. I came across a Sound Technician who recommended that I start freelancing for an Event Production Company. After extensive freelancing, I accepted a full time role at the Four Seasons as a technician, and after a short time I was promoted to Venue Manager. I joined Broadsword in 2016 as Production Manager.
How has your experience prepared you for your new role as Event Producer?
John: I have fulfilled most onsite roles imaginable and this has helped me understand the whole process of event delivery from start to finish. My sales background, working in venues and as an Account Manager has given me the confidence and ability to get involved in initial conversations, concept creation, direction, budget management, delivery of the event and post-production requirements.
In Central Hall Westminster especially, working on a large variety of events with multiple specialist suppliers, I gained an in-depth understanding of all disciplines, learned to supervise, co-ordinate and manage them all while communicating client requirements to maximise the overall project outcome.
Being on the front line, in front of clients in the hospitality sector has given me a firm foundation in excellent customer service. Clients spend a lot of money on what we do and as a Producer of live events it is key for me to feel we have done a good job, that we have done things properly and to a really high standard.
Simon: I have worked in a lot of venues, my knowledge of what can be achieved in different spaces and how to deal with the unexpected is a brilliant foundation. The Four Seasons developed my administrative skills, budgeting, quoting, speaking to clients about their ideas and how to realise them as well as managing their expectations and project timelines.
Broadsword has taken me to another level; it has been an intensive learning curve. The experience I have gained, the mistakes I have made, have shaped my approach to events. I pride myself on my communication with clients, always giving as much information as possible, being honest and able to adapt to all situations. If I can see a path through to resolve issues, I will steer everyone towards it, focused on remaining calm.
What do you think makes a good event?
John: Finding out the "Why" for an event is what has always driven me. It is no coincidence that Broadsword's company ethos mirrors mine. A good event is when we have achieved the "Why" and met our client’s expectations. Great feedback from delegates is also a really good indicator of a successful event.
Simon: For me the perfect event, is one that has been approached with the right amount of time to do things properly, with the right people and the right solution. It's also about the positive experience that our team has working with our clients and vice versa. A good event must be driven by a good delegate experience, this is something that I am always thinking about. Working behind the scenes in a live environment the unexpected will always happen. It is our responsibility to ensure that we protect the delegates so that they never know and have a great time at the event.
What are some of your favourite ways to enhance an event?
John: I like to find ways to work with physical set and technology elements. There is something to be said for a big LED wall with well-thought out creative content, however I always strive to break out of the box. A lot of the time, "the box" is the screen so working outside the traditional screen format is something that I focus on.
Simon: I think that events need to become experiences; delegates need to be shocked (in a good way) when they walk into a room and say "Wow!" They need to feel they are walking into something when they enter the room.
How do you keep up with industry trends? What are you watching out for at the moment?
John: I attend expos and am attentive to developments in event services and technology. However, I do prefer to draw inspiration from a conversation with the client and listening to what they are looking to achieve. I look to find the right solution to fit the purpose of the project and never want to be tied to equipment sitting on the shelf.
Simon: I'm interested in ways to immerse delegates in the experience of attending a live event. I follow the development of cinema auditoriums and how this can be translated into events.
What excites you about your role as Producer at Broadsword and the year ahead?
John: Moving away from a traditional sales role and having more time to stay involved in projects to develop creative solutions. I am really interested in post-production and the broadcasting side of Broadsword and intend to work with our Video Producer, Olivia to further my knowledge.
I'm looking forward to clients taking us to new and exciting countries - last year I delivered shows in Brussels, Luxembourg, New York, Berlin, Hong Kong, Madrid and Tallinn to name a few. We already collaborate with a global network of expert suppliers here and abroad and it will be great to bring people together to produce some brilliant shows that I can feel really proud of.
Simon: I'm really excited about taking on a wider perspective and getting more involved with creative ideas and logistics. It's important to be malleable and I like the thought of moving between areas of the business. I hope to expand my knowledge and my eye for digital content to produce some really memorable shows.