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European Area Meeting

9th July 2013

MGI World MGI Worldwide UK & Ireland Area news item, folded newspapers image

This year’s European Area Meeting in Brusselsattracted around 80 delegates, with 20 of the delegates representing the 10 out of 12 UK& Irelandmember firms present, writes Paul Winder.

The conference started with dinner on Thursday night, which was a very pleasant experience in the older part ofBrussels. This was followed by a little bit of late night revelry – although not too late as all the bars seemed to close at midnight.

Friday started with a number of internal matters being dealt with, which included introducing the new European executive director, Zoltán Paksy. There were also new member presentations from firms in Germany and Ukraine, as well as a presentation from MGI Repetti, from New York, who talked about America’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which is designed to tackle offshore tax evasion, highlighting opportunities to work with them in relation to this relatively new piece of legislation and how it affects anyone who has financial dealings with the USA.

There was some discussion about networks, including whether MGI should become one. However, we still await a discussion with any real substance, based on information that is just not available at present.

On Friday afternoon, we had a presentation from Gordon Gilchrist of the 2020 Group on the subject of generating client referrals. Whilst European delegates may have found this of use, forUKmembers it was little more than a reminder of the marketing issues we have been aware of for the last 20 years, albeit some of which are still to be addressed!

In the evening, we dined in the hotel, which was very pleasant but for the lack of a decent bar area, hence why people left the hotel to look for bars, braving the appalling weather.

For me, the real highlight was Saturday morning, when Graeme Codrington from TomorrowToday, who has previously spoken at an MGIUK&Irelandconference, gave a talk on generational theory. He highlighted why the pre-war ‘Silent Generation’ are so different from the ‘Baby Boomers’ who, in turn, are so different from ‘Generation X’ and now ‘Generation Y’. We are all clearly shaped by the economic and social events of our early years, which make us think and act differently throughout the rest of our lives. With a better understanding of generational theory, businesses will be able to manage themselves more effectively, relate to their clients better and inspire their teams in ways they want to be inspired, rather than the way the older generations running the business think they should be inspired.

The morning went very quickly, with Graeme giving a very professional presentation which was both entertaining and enlightening and I, for one, look forward to hearing him again in the not-too-distant future.