So to the Gala Dinner on day 2 of the conference. This is always good fun (who doesn’t like getting dressed up and dancing?) and this year was no exception. There was a lot of drinking, eating, some gambling for those who found the casino tables and apparently an after party. Though I was far too tired to venture to that!

The highlight of the evening however was when the IFP announced that their chosen charity this year was The Stroke Association. This was clearly a charity close to many people’s hearts given Nick Cann’s recent illness. I was able to speak to Nick a couple of times over the course of the conference and he absolutely overwhelmed me. He is as incessantly good humoured as ever, even in such adversity (which I’m sure many of us could take inspiration from) and was thoroughly enjoying being part of the conference. His energy and enthusiasm was just a joy to witness.

The speaker from the Stroke Association was a young lady called Annabel Jones. She spoke passionately about her experience of suffering a stroke at such a young age and how the society had supported her; I, for one, was a blubbering mess. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to support a charity bringing so much tangible support and hope to those who had suffered a stroke.

So, on to the final day, and my task of chairing events was made considerably easier as portion of delegates had extremely sore heads and so were very quiet and well behaved! My personal highlights from Day 3 were:

Eliza Manningham Buller

This former head of MI5 discussed leadership and change under pressure and her key tips were:

1. You don’t need to put your business on hold to implement change; they can run alongside one another

2. You can’t ever aim too high; be ambitious

3. Don’t be afraid to use outside help – and don’t be afraid to give up any monopoly you may have to get help you will benefit from.

Chris Davies – Engage Insight.

Chris talked about behavioural economics (something the FCA are actively encouraging advisers to look at) and how it can be practically implemented into an organisation. The key theme was to ensure throughout all of your communication with clients you focus on Simplicity and Saliency.

I’ve now had chance to see the initial feedback from the conference and with over 90% of respondents saying the conference either met or exceeded their expectations, it seems others enjoyed it as much as I did! The voice recordings and presentation slides will be available to attendees soon. And for anyone interested in donating, the charity being supported was www.stroke.org.uk

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