Bespoke performances are some of my favourite to design and plan whether for private parties or large corporates. My most recent event for Belvoir Estate Agents was exactly that; it was bespoke, personal and so much fun – what’s more, it was over a year in the making and so I am extremely grateful it went ahead given the current climate. Here’s how the Belvoir 2020 National Conference happened!
I met a member of the Belvoir Estate Agent team at a property show in Lincolnshire 18 months ago. I approached them and gave a demonstration. As usually happens, they were freaked out and later that week, she made an introduction to Ian Maclean who is company’s franchise director.
We met for a coffee and he was extremely responsive to what I did as he seemed to like mentalism; he mentioned the company would be having their annual conference in 2020 and asked if I would be interested in performing at such an event; of course the answer was yes as corporate events are so rewarding to perform at as they are often large scale.
The booking came directly from Alan Baker, the event planner at Xprez, who was responsible for organising the 2020 conference. During the ensuing months, it was decided three, 20-minute-long performances would work well alongside the other presentations happening throughout the day.
Fast Forward to 2020
With such a long time in between booking and performing, I was able to carefully craft the three requested individual acts to ensure they were truly bespoke to the company and in the blink of an eye, the conference arrived.
I travelled to the venue the night before the conference, staying at St. George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, which is nestled within the National Forest and home to all 28 English football teams (not difficult to understand with 330 acres of private land surrounding it).
I felt extremely fortunate the event was going ahead with many events being cancelled that week due to Coronavirus and it turns out this would be my last event for the foreseeable.
Belvoir 2020 National Conference
I woke up early as I usually do when staying overnight anywhere that isn’t home. However, I had an undisturbed sleep and this was probably due to the room I was in, which is what I would describe as a sensory bubble. It was so quiet and peaceful; truly lovely.
I met Geoff Ramm, who was the main keynote speaker on the day, for breakfast. Dealing with customer service and customer experience, his talks use many anecdotes and his northern humour makes him extremely approachable. I instantly hit it off with Geoff, he was warm and welcoming. I was looking forward to watching him work.
We then both left to set up our various ‘acts’ and waited for everyone to arrive for the day-long event.
While I have performed for numerous large corporates, I had never seen a set up quite like this. The Main Stage was a catwalk-like platform, arranged as a living room complete with Chesterfield sofas and a cartoon-like window looking out. There was also the Kitchen Stage, which was set up as you might expect, except with a 1940’s element. Finally, there was a smaller stage to the side of the room.
Something would happen on every stage throughout the day, keeping things moving and keeping the presentations fresh for the audience which was mostly Belvoir franchisees.
The day opened with a discussion between Ian Maclean who I had met all those months ago and Director of the Belvoir Group PLC, Dorian Gonsalves. They both sat at the Kitchen Stage counter enjoying coffee (which I thought was a nice touch) before introducing Geoff Ramm. Geoff’s ‘Celebrity Service’ seminar was fantastic! He was funny, direct and delivered a keynote that inspired many of the delegates and got them thinking along his lines.
Finally, it was my turn to perform on the main stage. I gave a demonstration to show how easy it is to read people. I revealed someone’s name without them telling me verbally and then performed some memory magic. Then, I asked someone in the audience to Google search anything they wanted before revealing precisely what it had been.
My next slot saw me invite three participants up to the stage to sit on separate chairs. I asked them to think back to their school days before selecting specific memories which I in turn revealed whether they were memories about certain teachers, incidents or childhood friends.
The Final Vision
Following lunch and an auction, I took to the stage for my final performance and the main bespoke piece of the day which was something entirely new for me. As the conference itself was entitled ‘Vision 2020’, I decided to manipulate the senses.
Selecting one member from the audience to join me, I proceeded to manipulate their sense of touch, making them believe I had touched them when I was actually standing a metre away. I then went into the audience to touch someone much further away than I had originally been. As I touched them on the shoulder the lady on stage screamed out loud.
The sense of sight was next, and I showed the audience a sheet of paper with the instructions ‘Draw a Picture’ printed on them. This was turned around to face my participant. She drew a flower, which I had predicted and drew while she was drawing hers. When asked why she drew a flower, she answered ‘because you told me to,’ to which the audience laughed. This unnerved her as she realised she had seen something written on the piece of paper which was totally different to what everyone else had.
For the final section of my performance, I took an envelope from a stand which had been present on stage the whole day. Through a series of tasks involving the lady, other members of the audience and their calculators, the room reached a 7-digit number which was exactly the number I had concealed inside the envelope. The finale was turning this number through 180° to reveal the name BELVOIR in specialised, stylised writing to great applause. I was delighted and so pleased the performance had been everything I had hoped for, for both me as a performer and the company.
The End of the Day
I hung around to watch the final presentations by Geoff Ramm, who really was a delight to be around, and former Rugby Union star, Ollie Phillips who also delivered a talk covering his lifetime achievements including setting a Guinness World Record!
The whole day was a sheer delight to be part of and if this was the last performance I will do for a while, I could not have hoped for more. Thank you so much Belvoir Estate Agents and the delegates at the Belvoir 2020 National Conference. I wish your company and franchisees continued success, particularly through this unprecedented time.
“Looch was fantastic. He did a number of sets at our Annual Conference and was utterly amazing. The franchisees were talking in awe about him throughout the day and he added a completely different feel to our annual event. Book him, he is great.” – Ian Maclean – Belvoir Franchise Director
To bring Looch to your annual conference please get in touch today!