Business Events Sydney’s (BESydney) annual Business Events Exchange (BEx) welcomed a record attendance of over 300 event planners, executive assistants and event industry suppliers, 4 June, at Dockside Pavilion, Darling Harbour.
Themed ‘sparking connections’, guests to the annual event were treated to an outstanding evening of thought leadership and networking against the backdrop of Vivid Sydney — a spectacle of laser water fountains, water screen projection performances and dazzling light and water shows. BEx had front-row access to this incredible festival of light.
BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said, “Each year, this event gets bigger and better. It’s the one time of year that brings the city’s extensive network of suppliers and event planners together – to network, share best practice, be inspired and learn something new.”
Inspiration on the evening came from keynote speaker, the legendary Ita Buttrose AO OBE. A renowned media editor, businesswoman, best-selling author, committed community and welfare contributor, and 2013 Australian of the Year, Ita recounted her personal story and experiences, and offered advice to guests on business networking and the importance of making the right connections.
“Success in business is about creating a network, making personal contacts and building connections,” she said. “No matter what’s currently on your plate, you must venture out and think of everyone you meet as a possible business contact.
“You never know when a connection will convert,” she said. “And, when you have a great relationship sparks will fly and results will follow.”
When engaging with a connection, Ita advised the audience against dominating conversations. “Initiate and then learn to listen. Listening is a talent. There is no better way to make a first impression than to listen and ask the right questions.”
She also encouraged the audience to recognise the importance of personal branding. “It’s important for your network to know you for your integrity, to know you are prepared to go the extra mile. It’s also important to continue to be tough on yourself – questioning your actions and encouraging yourself to do better.”
“Although,” she conceded, “being a brand does help if you are well-known.”
BESydney’s General Manager Event Delivery, Robyn Johnson, joined International Convention Centre Sydney’s (ICC Sydney) Director of Business Development, Beverley Parker, and David Fraser, the General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton, on stage for an industry update on the city’s infrastructure developments.
Ms Johnson also used the occasion to launch the enhanced BESydney Event Service, formally AccessNSW, to the audience of event industry professionals. Part of the new-look website, BESydney Event Service is an enhanced self-service tool that takes all the legwork out of planning an event in Australia’s harbour city.
“It does all the work for you,” she said. “Just input your requirements and the system will find the best match to suppliers from our extensive supplier network of hotels, venues, attractions, services, dining options and more.
“Or if you would prefer to search for yourself, the system allows you to carry out your own search via the Supplier Search,” she added. “Most importantly, this is a free resource. I encourage you to visit our website and see how easy it is to plan your event in Sydney and NSW.”
Guests were also entertained by two performances by Australia’s Got Talent grand finalists and dance troupe, Swagamama, and conversations continued throughout the evening and on social media with the hashtag #2015BEX.
The event would not have been possible without help from some of Sydney’s leading event suppliers such as Dockside Group, AV1, Oneill Photographics, the Sydney Business Chamber, Acts on Show and Moreton Hire.