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Why host a supplier conference?

Why hire a professional MC for your event?

Conferences & Events Credentials 


Jonathan Dutton produced his first major event back in 1992 - a corporate sales conference for a team of over 300 people in London. With over 25 years experience in event production, presentation and strategic communications for several industries and different audiences, both on stage, and behind the stage, JD is capable and qualified to help you design and deliver your next event.


Clients often focus on the event arrangements, on getting the chairs pointing the right way. But, in the urgency of an event production deadline, they often overlook the most important thing - what those chairs are pointing at, and why? This is the true role of the producer. 


Having attended over 700 conferences and events in the last 25 years, most as a speaker, MC or event manager, JD has seen good and bad. Throughout, the most important lesson has been to focus on the audience and their needs - whether they are live in front of you, milling outside, watching the video, or connected online. It's all about them. The key to a great conference is always staying one step ahead of them, whilst understanding their mindset. 

The highlights of Jonathan's event career have been arranging a conference week in Las Vegas for 1,600 managers, a long-weekend corporate event in Monte Carlo, privatising Disneyland Paris, producing the largest ever CIPS conference for over 1,000 people in Crown Melbourne, and presenting so many PASA events since. Also, being asked to attend, review and critique a major production of a Sydney based international professional events company was flattering.


Yet speaking to 60 journalists in a Leicester Square theatre, presenting to two pre-IPO investment analysts, interviewing a billionaire, hosting the New Zealand Prime Minister on stage, quizzing cabinet ministers & ex-Premiers and hosting a dinner with the UK High Commissioner were perhaps the most nerve wracking. 

Along the way, Jonathan has naturally picked up all the tricks of the event management trade, local knowledge on venues & their alignment, good relationships with venues & hire companies, a stable of hands-on event managers & crew, tips to spectacularly reduce cost, great incentive ideas that are appropriate & cheap, plus easy ways to produce events large and small. 


Well known throughout the procurement industry, Jonathan is also available for professional speaking engagements, training workshops and facilitating strategy meetings & round-tables. He often talks from his experiences on 'both sides of the fence' in procurement as well as the sales & marketing side. 


His unique style of humour, empathy and gravitas clearly resonates with the audience and has been a feature of his success for many years. This approach also features in his regular work in strategic communications. 


Jonathan has also produced, directed or presented over 100 corporate videos, been interviewed on live radio & BBC TV and has himself interviewed one prime minister, a number of cabinet ministers, many CEO's and one billionaire. He has also produced and presented at business conferences, corporate events, private dinners, formal round-tables, informal seminars, high-level meetings, industry & awards dinner association conventions and both SUPPLIER CONFERENCES and 'SUPPLIER of the YEAR' Awards - even presenting the awards on occasion.


"What an unbelievably thoughtful conference review. You truly and fully know the events space and very impressively understand our business. And your assumptions and observations are almost all spot on and world class. Thanks so much for taking such time. For an old white bloke you are not a bad dude." 

CEO - Sydney based international events company 



Why host a Supplier Conference?

There are many reasons that an organisation might want to run a conference or event for their suppliers.

Many who choose to do so instinctively feel it is right, but often struggle to articulate exactly why?

Then subsequently struggle to develop the content with any balance of company/supplier needs.

Perhaps even falling into the trap of just 'filling space' on the programme. 

Some reasons for hosting a supplier conference present real and apparent balances, such as, to: 

  • Stimulate supplier performance  -or- foster better teamwork? 

  • Build co-operation amongst the supplier base  -or- drive competitive tension?

  • Communicate your new product/service propositions  -or- facilitate supply side innovation?

  • Secure buy in to your growth story  -or- put pressure on cost 

Suppliers, in turn, attend to get two only things:

       1. Buying signals - for more business (or the reverse, to gauge any bad news first hand) 

       2. To see who else is there - to gauge the competition 

They will rarely ask questions at a formal event - for fear of revealing how little they truly know. 

Fundamentally, any supplier event should be part of your SRM (supplier relationship management ) strategy.

If you do not already have one, the event should at least force you to articulate one; they do not need to be long and complex. The shorter the better in a way. 

Ask JD how to quickly and easily justify, design and produce your next business event. 



























Choosing an MC for your Conference - the alternatives ... 

A common mistake event organiser's make in hiring a professional MC is to hire a celebrity, comedian or famous newsreader. It is glamorous and impresses the crowd. Yet, they are expensive and, crucially, they very rarely know anything at all about your business or your industry or the subject matter at hand.


In fact, they often know so little of business or management that they cannot appreciate the usual mindset of a middle-management audience fixated on targets, KPIs, the corporate organisation-chart and deciphering 'what does this all mean for me and my department' ? 

Worse, celebrity comedians can make too light of your event and risk trivialising your investment and detracting from the core message. Professional MC's with a 35 year business background do the opposite, offering the three core ingredients for success on stage - content, passion & humour - in an appropriate way and in context.  

To a large extent, using an in-house MC can also risk a similar outcome. It is not a 'C suite' leader's job to tell audiences where the toilets are, or manage the housekeeping. They are there to deliver core messaging.

Using a middle-manager as your MC undermines the gravity of the messaging. Too easy for the audience to think "It's only Bob or Sue, so it doesn't really matter what they say!" 


A professional MC keeps you on process, amplifies your messaging, compensates for poor speakers, represents the audience on stage and brings heart to your event.  Not bad for a fee some 10% of what a agency-sourced celebrity might charge!

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Why hire a professional MC?  

Having Invested in time money and effort to hire a major venue, it seems counter-productive to not invest in the "show" itself. At the end of the day, what matters at a major event is not the event management and getting all the chairs pointing the right way - but exactly what they are pointing at ....

A common mistake of internally organised and produced main events is that they can quickly become "all about me"

They really need to be "all about the target audience" and their needs, with an MC that always represents your audience and those needs. The MC is on their side - as well as yours.

There are TEN WAYS a professional MC helps that process; in other words YOU need a professional MC because:


1.   The internal event producer and the Chair and your CEO or top managers usually have important speeches to make, with key messages. It is not their job to dilute their key messages or their gravitas by reading out the housekeeping notes and wrangling speakers. Their time and your time should be reserved for networking with important stake holders at the event.... and delivering timely & powerful key messages, undiluted.

2.   Some speaker's topics are often a full step away from our core subject matter - a good MC will weave them into the theme to reinforce your core messaging. Which is why an MC with professional procurement standing and knowledge will add huge value to your event. This is the key differentiator from a professional "celebrity" MC who knows nothing of procurement or, often, business either - the $20k glamorous news-reader trap. 

3.   Your event needs 'bounce' and heart  - especially with so few practiced and easy speakers, as is usual at a corporate event .... A professional MC brings both bounce + heart, disguised as passion.

In addition , your professional MC:

4. Keeps everyone stays safe

5. Ensures we stay on time, on message and on-process

6. Make sure every contribution is positioned as relevant and helpful for the audience - keeping the audience engaged and focused

7. Flatters the sponsors

8. Makes-up for poor speakers (what they just said was....) and makes up good speakers (what a fantastic speech; what i really liked.... )

9. Ensures delivery of the three ingredients of any successful show - content, passion and humour

10. ... is relatively cheap to the cost and investment of the show

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Direct Industry Experience
  • B2B Services

  • Conference & Event Management

  • Marketing & PR

  • Travel & Airlines

  • IT, Software & cyber-security

  • Defence

  • Security

  • Property

  • Not-for-Profit

  • Education & Training

  • Automotive

  • Media 

  • Health

  • Transport

Jonathan Dutton  FCIPS FCIM 

PROFESSIONAL MC - Jonathan Dutton, 2016 and 2017  

JD has twice now proved an excellent MC for our annual University finance & procurement conference. 

His relaxed but professional style is greatly appreciated by the audience, as well as his timekeeping and process management.

But Jonathan’s real skill is keeping all the disparate speaker threads connected and weaving the conference theme throughout the programme, which proves an invaluable contribution to the overall success of the event.

​Karen Hannah, HES & AUPN Conference Producer and BDM 


Jonathan Dutton,  Professional MC, Quest Events 2013 - Present 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jonathan on a number events each year since 2013 and can highly recommend him as an MC.

His event specific content is always thoroughly researched, timely and relevant and his ability to engage the audience is second to none.

From my perspective the key roles of an MC are to keep proceedings to time and to keep the message relevant and the audience safe, enthused and fully informed, all areas in which Jonathan has never faltered.

Aleks Zids, General Manager, Quest Events, 

Jonathan Dutton


Jonathan Dutton has worked as an independent management consultant both in the UK and Australia on both a full time and part time basis dating back many years. He specialises in new sales & marketing plans that offer speed, reality, focus and insight into buyers' mindsets and processes.


He is also available for public speaking engagements as a professional MC, guest speaker, facilitator or interviewer. Jonathan has a broad business background at a senior level and can address multiple business topics with flair, gravitas and humour.


With over 35 years experience in business, Jonathan has a background including almost a decade as the founding Managing Director of a leading not-for-profit organisation in Australasia and the regional head of the global peak body for professional procurement The Chartered Insitute of Procurement & Supply (CIPSA).


In the UK, he was Chief Operating Officer of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Marketing Director of CHUBB and before that for five years the Group Marketing Director of Regus - the world's leading provider of serviced offices.


Previously, he spent two years in Sydney with QANTAS as a Sales & Marketing Consultant and 11 years with British Airways in London, primarily in professional procurement as a Procurement Manager for IT and latterly in the Sales & Marketing team as head of corporate sales & business development in the UK.


He is a graduate in Economics, a qualified professional buyer with MCIPS as a full member and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (FCIPS) and a fellow of both CIM (FCIM) and the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He is also a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management [FAIM] and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors having completed the AICD diploma in corporate governance [GAICD]. He has also completed a Level 1 Certificate in Lean-Agile Procurement. 


Jonathan is based in Melbourne, where he and his family have lived since 2005. 

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