My Event World - Keith Daniell

Keith Daniell, a former ITV and Channel Four news presenter, set up creative agency The Media Group in 2001. He talked to Event about his love of live events, dealing with difficult speakers, and why he can't do his job without enthusiasm.

Keith Daniell, managing director of The Media Group
Keith Daniell, managing director of The Media Group

I got into the event industry because I was asked to run a series of conferences after I left television. I only knew TV, so I ran the events as a cross between Question Time and a game show, with a host, strict timing and excitement.

I have worked here since 2001. I left ITV to start The Media Group with my wife, Alison.

I was attracted to this particular role because I love the experience of live events. That stems from my broadcasting background and whether it's a small roadshow or taking over Wembley Stadium, there is something about directing great shows live that always gives me a buzz.

Not many people know that you generally speak at three words to a second. If more speakers thought about this, they'd be more disciplined in sticking to the time they've been given.

My worst experience at an event was a rather rude conference speaker demanding to go on stage and speak, chopping off another speaker in mid-flow. They created a very difficult and awkward situation to manage.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s preparation is absolutely key. Always have contingency plans for things going wrong. And proofread everything.

The best event I’ve been involved in was taking over Wembley Stadium with The FA Fives. The event is the FA Cup of five-a-side football, and hundreds of the best footballers from around the country get to play on the pitch and get treated like the professionals. Our brief is to make sure the players have one of the best days of their lives.

If I could do it all over again I would do it all over again.

The one thing I can’t stand is unnecessary rudeness. Sometimes you need to make sure your opinion is heard, and sometimes you have to be assertive or disagree with someone, but never at the expense of being discourteous or disrespectful. Manners cost nothing but bad manners can cost you everything.

Outside of work I spend my time eating out, walking my dog, playing golf, going to the cinema and theatre - anything live.

If money were no object I would commission a behind-the-scenes documentary series for live events. I think it would be fascinating viewing.

The one thing I can’t do my job without is enthusiasm. My first boss in TV said the biggest sin in television is to come into work without being excited.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be... I worked with Chris Evans at an event recently and he was really impressive and had the audience eating out of his hand. But to be honest I've been front of camera and have no desire to do it again.

If I ruled the event industry I would make a rule that says any executive, clearly successful in their sector, must be disciplined when on stage. If they can't prepare their presentation in advance and speak to their slot they should be demoted and forced to make tea for everyone in their organisation for six months.

Want to be featured in a future My Event World? Email news editor Samantha Edwards for further details.

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