Business Diary: November 29

Stephen Burwood, from Institute of Directors North Yorkshire, Shaun Watts, from Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber, Etta Cohen, from Forward Ladies and Simon Williams, from the Federation of Small Businesses.
Stephen Burwood, from Institute of Directors North Yorkshire, Shaun Watts, from Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber, Etta Cohen, from Forward Ladies and Simon Williams, from the Federation of Small Businesses.
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“WHO you gonna call when Business Link is no more?”

The question forms the title of a recent press release sent out by North Yorkshire County Council on behalf of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.

It is accompanied by a photo of Stephen Burwood, from Institute of Directors North Yorkshire, Shaun Watts, from Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber, Etta Cohen, from Forward Ladies and Simon Williams, from the Federation of Small Businesses – each donning ‘Ghostbuster’ outfits.

The LEP is launching a campaign on the benefits of business to business networking following the closure of Business Link Yorkshire, a tax-payer funded business advice service. It is developing a searchable database of the region’s business networks, which will be launched on its new website in January 2012. The site will also be a resource for business events, news and intelligence.

While the message is a simple one, its link to the 1980s science fiction film is less obvious...

Powerpoint drain

WE’VE all heard of “cognitive overload” or “death by powerpoint”.

But how much time do we waste locked in stuffy rooms, being bored to tears by dire presentations?

Steve McDermott, the Leeds-based motivational speaker and author, thinks he knows the answer.

He’s preparing for the annual conference of the Confident Club – an organisation that helps business people improve their public speaking and networking skills – which is due to be held at the Holiday Inn in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, on Friday January 13 2012 from 9am.

If you want to hold an audience in the palm of your hand, then it seems you need some ‘killer memory’ techniques.

Mr McDermott told Diary: “According to Microsoft there are more than 30 million powerpoint presentations made every day.”

Mr McDermott estimates that our over-reliance on powerpoint is responsible for wasting an average of 15 million ‘person hours’ per day.

He added: “At an average salary of $32,000 per year for those attending the meeting, the cost is a staggering $252m each day” .

“Having sat through hundreds of powerpoint presentations I would say at least 95 per cent are truly awful. That’s because people abuse not use powerpoint.

“The main abuse is that it isn’t used for the audiences benefit but just to help the presenter plan and remember where they are and what they are going to say.”

According to Mr McDermott, the “number one” alternative to “death by powerpoint is to become a master teller of your own stories”.

So perhaps it’s time to revive the lost art of speaking without notes?

Maiden heaven

THE world of car design has allowed Peter Horbury to fulfil a childhood dream, travel the world and work on some of the industry’s top creations.

But partying with big name musicians probably wasn’t something he was expecting would result from a career in car design.

On one occasion, Mr Horbury, now vice president, design, at Chinese car maker Geely Group, found himself on a night out with heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Mr Horbury, who has had a long career with Volvo Car Corporation, spent some of his childhood in Yorkshire and now lives in Gothenberg, Sweden, said: “It is a fairly high profile world the designer moves in and you meet people all the time.

“I was out with Iron Maiden when they were in Gothenberg playing here.

“It’s one of the bonuses you have in the business because they are car enthusiasts.”

Boris, the next PM?

WHO will be the next Prime Minister?

If Chancellor George Osborne fails with his UK turnaround plan, the door to Number 10 could be open to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.

Martin Vander Weyer, the Helmsley-based author, worked with Mr Johnson at The Spectator, the right-wing magazine he used to edit.

“He’s huge fun,” said Mr Vander Weyer, “and full of mischief and bonhomie.

“He always managed to get a good team around him to make sure the magazine got to press.”

But is he really Prime Minister material?

“I have seen Boris say he wants to be Prime Minister and I believe he does want to be.

“He certainly would cheer the mood up. He just needs to make sure he has a strong team around him.”