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


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