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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.