The MRS is live again !

‘I can’t wear this shirt to the Awards do,’ I said to my wife.

‘Why not?’ she said.

‘Because it clashes with the wallpaper!’ I replied.

‘But it’s live – you’re not doing a Zoom call, where half the people are on mute watching reruns of Bake Off on their mobiles. You’re going to meet your market research mates in the flesh for the first time in 18 months!’

Um, pretty scary stuff: should I quickly reread ‘The role of intonation as a cue to turn-taking in face-to-face conversations’ or will it all just come back to me naturally?

Anyway, I got myself from Brighton on the train to the splendid Langham Hotel.

Initially there was some anxiety about the new etiquette. Clearly cheek kissing is a no-no, and hugs are poor form – but do I go for a light handshake or the elbow bump?

Fortunately, my fears about the appropriate greetings procedure were allayed by my first encounter. It was a punch in the arm by a fellow Spurs sufferer, followed by ‘Are you ready for failure in the third tier of European football?’ I was amongst friends!

Then as we guests were ushered through to the dining room I started to remember what it is that I missed most about live events with fellow market researchers.

There is definitely something special about the market research ‘community’. It’s difficult to define, but there is an ingredient that singles out our industry events from many other business gatherings.

So, as the conversation began to flow over lunch, I tried to put my finger on the vibe that seems to have held the MRS together for 75 years – and continues to do so.

I decided for me it is was about the honesty, integrity and authenticity that market researchers bring to the table in trying to make a genuine difference.

It is about that total professionalism around wanting to master all the tools now available to us to really understand people and work out what is going on in the world.

And it is about leaving your ego at the door – being a good listener, being empathic and respecting others.

Anyway, I need not have worried about trying to define the list of traits and skills that make our community so special because this all manifested itself live – in the flesh – with the award of the prestigious MRS Gold Medal to the wonderful Phyllis MacFarlane.

So, if you are a newcomer to the industry and want to know what is special about the market research community, spend some time with Phyllis. And the good news is that you can now do this live!

So thank you MRS for getting us up and running again with live events – and congratulations Phyllis.

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