To draw a London audience, plan well ahead. Even if you’re a big cheese.

I’ll be missing out on seeing Trade & Industry minister Rob Davies at South Africa House tomorrow. The invitation says he’ll be in London to share the country’s latest investment incentives.

As one of my favourite members of the national cabinet I’d have loved to shake his hand. But no go this time. A long standing commitment takes precedence. And I’ve got a feeling I won’t be the only one disappointed.

Among the many things I’ve learnt since being based in the global financial capital is that people are, well, really busy. So one needs to plan well in advance. Dropping an emailed invitation a couple days before an event is likely to have a poor response. No matter how important the material.

So a tip for those from the homeland visiting London – if you want a decent turnout, plan ahead. At least three weeks, but preferably more than a month. Any notice shorter than that is a waste of time.