This is first of a series of posts with tips for organizing meetups (events with talks and time for networking).
If you are person who likes technology and visits community events, you have probably been to many meetups. For sure you noticed that quality varies. There are events that are well organized, with interesting and engaging talks, many visitors and nice atmosphere. There are also events that are not fitting in this category.
Organizing a successful event can be easy if you follow few simple rules:
- Bring value for your audience
- Bring value for your partners and sponsors
- Do this on a regular basis
There are 3 components that are important for a successful event:
- Good talks/presentations
- Location for the event
- Food and drinks for the audience
This is the most important factor for a successful event. Presentations should be informative, focused and interesting for your audience.
People will be spending the evening at your event, instead of being with their families, having fun with friends or taking a rest after the long working day. Make sure, this time is worth and they go home with new ideas and useful information.
Avoid marketing pitches and talks that are clear advertisement of company or a product, unless you want to annoy your visitors and send them home before the event is finished.
For each event you will need a location that is easy to reach and big enough to fit your audience. Your event space should be reachable by public transport and have parking possibilities nearby as well. When your host is famous and attractive company, have in mind that you may have a bit higher visitor rate than usually.
Make sure that the size of the room corresponds to the number of visitors you expect.
- Having 30 people in a room that can fit 200, makes the room look empty.
- If your location has space for 100 people, but your visitors are 130, then the people will be standing (which is quite uncomfortable for longer events), people may become sleepy because of lack of air and you may even need to refuse entry depending on fire regulations.
- Therefore, keep statistics on the number of visitors per event and your no-show rate and pick good locations for your events.
Food and drinks
Last but not least, arrange some food and drinks for the event. You can ask your host if they can provide some or look for additional sponsor to cover the costs for them.
Events often take place in the evenings after work. Therefore, most people will come directly from their work place and few of them will have a chance to grab some food on the way. They will arrive hungry and thirsty and after an hour of presentations, they will be literally starving if you didn’t manage to provide anything. Guess how many of them will stay until the end in this case? For sure less than you would like.
Pizza, beer and soft drinks do a great job for solving the problem. And they are very cost effective. You can be creative and try other options like sandwiches, finger food, food truck or anything that fits your budget and goals.
If you want to have a great and successful event, make sure the talks are valuable for your audience. Having a good and accessible location will have an effect on your visitor rate, but is not so critical. Offering some drinks and snacks is important to keep your visitors longer and ensure pleasant networking session.