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Getting back to the art of gathering at RESI 2021

By Laura Leggetter
23 September 2021

By Laura Leggetter

Having attended one of the first in-person property events for some time at Celtic Manor last week, I was just about to press send on a blog I had written on the housing market when Robert Jenrick was pushed from his post. My scribbles from his keynote at RESI were all of a sudden outdated. So instead, and as events and conferences are ushered back in, my musings on the return to networking prevailed.

The property industry has always been pretty epic at events. From the wilder days in Cannes at MIPIM to chewing the fat at LREF, the sector is well-versed in renewing old acquaintances and forging new relationships.

As I settled in for a day of panel debates and conversation, the sense of thrill and novelty was palpable. Yes, I would have liked more collaboration, interaction and fewer presentations, but on the whole the content was good, and the room inhaled fresh intel and opinions. This content of course was readily available online and we could indeed have stayed in London and continued our Zoom-fest, so what was it that made hundreds of people travel to Wales to gather – and, indeed, as conferences open up with an in-person or online option, why are so many others choosing to do the same?

In her book ‘The Art of Gathering’, Priya Parker offers a brilliant and eminently practical guide to hosting and attending events and stresses the importance of meeting people as an opportunity to acknowledge, challenge and change, especially when done with a filter of listening, sharing enthusiasm and congruity.

For me that atmosphere of enthusiasm at RESI was much-needed, a reminder of my passion for the industry and for building relationships in particular. The genuine generosity to make referrals and connections was infectious and the hotel terrace on both days was a hum of drive and positivity.

Great strides have been made in remote and hybrid working and long may that continue. But the power of human connection, of belonging and giving, is something that truly makes us sparkle.

The RESI conference was a timely reminder that it’s our human-to-human links that make the most evocative moments and I have picked up Parker’s book again to ensure my own encounters are more meaningful. Whether it be a gathering of friends, bar chat, with a team of colleagues, or a family occasion, we all have the ability to ensure they are dazzling opportunities for meaning, dreaming, and doing.