Tips for events

Other tips, links, and resources related to events.

Peer-to-peer events, organized by user groups and communities of practice, are powerful. They create a neutral space where practitioners can geek out and learn from each other.

Regular user group meetings

  • Regularly scheduled meetings can build a cadence of learning & connection.

    • Quarterly is a good cadence for in-person events with busy professionals

    • If you and your group is particularly active and motivated, monthly meetings are great

    • Informal chats and check-ins for leaders and core members weekly is nice

  • Having a consistent venue can build regularity, and start to feel like "home" for the group.

    • Or, to spread leadership and the burden of hosting, rotate between several offices.

  • Having a consistent time can enable folks to plan for it and build it into their regular schedule

    • Lunchtime or breakfast?

    • After work / before dinner on a weekday?

  • Create a consistent communications schedule for event and agenda

  • Have agenda that covers skill levels for everyone (experts, newbies, else)

  • Create a schedule of upcoming topics, presenters, and dates

    • Create space at the end of each meeting to tell people about the next meeting(s)

    • Ask people at the end of the meeting if: 1) anyone would like to present at a future meeting; 2) there are any topics of interest for upcoming meetings.

    • Try to keep a healthy list of upcoming meetings (e.g. two events into the future)

  • Create time to meet new people & do introductions in every meeting

  • Try to keep presentations to ~ 15 – 20 minutes, to keep attention and focus

  • Food & drinks

    • Not always pizza

    • Set up food in a way to encourage flow/ congregation / conversation

Panel discussions

  • The relationships that are formed before, during, and after the panel can be as important/valuable as the event itself. How can you meaningfully connect panelists as you're preparing for the event?

    • Have a call or two beforehand, get to know each other, talk through potential questions, enable panelists to talk through what's on their mind and what they want to discuss or ask.

    • This type of interaction before the event can make for more lively and deep conversations at the event, and an improved rapport between panelists.

  • As a moderator/ host, can you create enough structure for the panelists - but keep it loose enough to enable the panelists and the audience to take the conversation in new and productive directions?

    • Beforehand: Provide a simple list of questions and topics to panelists.

    • At the event: Start with audience questions before you get into prepared questions.

  • Encourage panelists to ask questions of each other.

Online meetings

  • What kind of a meeting is it? How interactive is it?

    • A webinar preferences presentations and content (one to many), with some Q&A in the background. Webinars are easier to facilitate and well supported with technology.

    • A virtual meeting preferences peer-to-peer conversation (many to many). These are trickier to host, and are best for people who already know each other or when there's a strong host or process. (See virtual unconference template below)

  • Test the audio, visuals, and presenter logistics before the event - including recording.

    • Make sure you're recording the right inputs (speaker's audio, visuals)

  • Consider breakout rooms for more interactive events and smaller-group conversation.

  • Use digital tools to drive audience engagement and perhaps collect data

    • Surveys

    • Chats

    • Q&A

  • An event host/ moderator is an important role that...

    • Answers questions during presentation

    • Timekeeper to keep the meeting on track

    • Interact with speakers and presenters - ask questions, react and interact, represent voice of the audience

Unconferences

An Unconference is a meeting in which the agenda is set by participants, in real-time. This is a format that enables attendees to talk about and work on what they want to, based on their goals and questions.

It is a fluid format, enables connection & emergence.

Learn more:

Virtual Unconference Template

This Google Slides template was used to host an Autodesk Group Network meet-up at Autodesk University Virtual 2020. Please feel free to copy and re-use it!

  • This template/ format will not work for more than 40-50 participants

  • Requires breakout rooms (Zoom)

  • If there's something you want to make sure everyone sees/ hears/ does - present that before the break-outs start. People will likely use the "law of 2 feet" before you get to the last slide of the share-outs :)

TEMPLATE! (Re-usable Google Slides doc)
Video with tips on using this virtual unconference template.

Engage to improve

Submit questions, feedback, or suggestions on hosting events

Connect with a peer mentor on hosting events - access codes listed here for Autodesk Group Network members. Become a peer mentor