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  1. As you will be aware GDPR comes into force on 25th May 2018.  For those that do not know what it is the ‘General Data Protection Regulations’?

    The new regulations are being implemented as much has changed since the existing data protection laws and regulations were created in the 1990s. As a society, we are creating vast amounts of digital information each day and the laws that govern our personal information are no longer fit for purpose.

    GDPR is therefore being introduced to protect individual’s personal data and how it is stored and used.

    Below is my guide of ‘the activities that you need to undertake’ to identify and document the data you hold:

    You need to identify the data you currently store, where it’s held, how it’s processed and who has access to it. Document this information as thoroughly as possible.

    There are two types of data that Companies hold; Personal - any information relating to a person who can be directly/indirectly identified; Sensitive; “special categories of personal data”. The special categories specifically include genetic and biometric data where processed to uniquely identify an individual.

    GDPR applies to both automated/manual filing systems where personal data is accessible.

    Check your consent procedures - under GDPR; consent for any data processing has to be specific, transparent and auditable. The consent has to be simple to understand and easy to withdraw.

    Be aware that under the new requirements for consent you will have to approach current data subjects (for example email subscribers) again to request new permission to use their data.

    Under the new regulations, you have to keep clear and transparent records of all consent taken, establish simple methods to allow the data subjects to withdraw their consent and regularly review your procedures to keep up to date with any changes in processing activities.

    My recommendation would be to get your clients to opt-in or opt-out to you holding their data.  Do not take it for granted that if someone requested to be on your client database in the past, they still want to be included and also do not rely on the ‘subscribe or unsubscribe’ that you may have at the bottom of your emails.

    The easiest way to do this is to capture all the information on mail-chimp, CRM or a similar database.  Send your clients an email asking them if they still wish to receive information from you and get them to opt-in or opt-out.  This needs to be done twice to gain double opt-in from those that wish to remain.  If email recipients do not respond after several attempts, I would recommend taking them off your list. 

    Anyone that opts out cannot be contacted again and therefore if you use a database the opt-in and outs can be logged to have an effective audit trail of the personal information.

    Please note: moving forward, anyone that you may meet at networking events, who give you a business card, their details cannot be added to your database unless they have explicitly given you permission to do so.

    Under the regulations it states the need for a data protection officer; in essence you as the MD of an SME.

    You will also need to ensure that you have a procedure in place for detecting, investigating and reporting breaches of data.  This will either be your security firewall etc. or through an external IT provider.

    It is important not to be blasé and ensure that you are compliant by the 25th May as non-compliance of GDPR could result in a fine of up to €20 million or two per cent of a firm's global turnover (whichever is greater).

     No doubt moving forward GDPR will have an impact on a wide range of marketing activities and it is therefore important that you are ahead of the game and get all of the above in place prior to May.


    Heather Scales, Heartbeat HR Ltd

  2. 1. Preparation is key.  Look at the lineup beforehand and see if there’s anyone you want to meet. Personally what brought me to the brilliant event Build Your Empire in 2017 was looking at the lineup.

    Having followed her online for a while,  I was really keen to meet AmandaRuiz ( Amanda was one of  our speakers from October 2017) I even changed my schedule specially to make it along to meet her.  I found out what time she was speaking and made sure I had a front row seat  - which brings me to 
    2 Get there early- and be prepared for some time afterwards. Sit up front and ask questions if you want to get the most value out of seminars. The speakers have spent a lot of time pulling together their presentations and they are experts in their field - they’ll often be willing to sign people up to their programmes and help you with that part of your business. 
    3 Bringing business cards is so obvious it’s not really a rule but do make sure that you keep them within easy reach. No fumbling if possible - and keep your hands free for a firm handshake.
    4 Be social  - get sharing - @mention people that you’re meeting. Take a selfie - tweet your best takeaway from the seminar you’ve attended and don’t forget the hashtag - this makes you an integral part of the event and easy to find afterwards.
    5 If you’re feeling shy, make a friend: An introduction “Hi, I'm heading over for coffee now and would love some company.” Or on approaching an exhibitor ”Wow, this looks interesting, tell me about it.” This gives you the opportunity to relax into what they’re saying before working out how what you do is relevant to them.
    6 Now it may be that you won’t want to talk to everyone. To politely extricate yourself from a conversation try something like "Annabel, it’s been great chatting but I need to catch up with a few other people.  Have a good one.”
    7 Follow up!  Schedule some time at the end of the day to go through the people you’ve met and take a note of your next actions and make sure that they are priorities for the next three days following the conference. there is absolutely no point in going to an event, missing vital time from your work and not getting in contact afterwards. 
    Bonus - Derek Halpern has a great tip for getting chatting - which does actually work really well.  - the three magic words he’s referring to are perhaps a little bit American but I’m sure you’ll all put your Herts’n’Essex charm to work and get this tip working for you. 

    (Skip to 30 seconds in to avoid the credits)
    Have a great event. 
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Olivia Vandyk is a communications strategist and TedX speaker. Find out more at 
    Olivia Vandyk
    Founding Partner, 
    Gingham Cloud
    07967 479677
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