I’ve been known to organise a few events here and there, but more often I’m attending events. I attend a lot of events actually. Sometimes, when I’m really busy, it’s almost every night of the week. It’s my plan to write an eBook guide on “How to organise a free or low cost community-based event in Sydney.” I want to give practical advice on venues, ticketing platforms, event format, and communication for people who have a great idea but perhaps have never run their own meetup. Some of it is common sense, but I think there will definitely be some value to be shared for the Sydney community.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few quick tips that have been on my mind.
1. List your event details online
Remember when I said some of this advice would be obvious? Yes, this is one of those tips. However, time and time again I struggle to find event pages and registration information. Is this event open to everyone? Do I need to print my ticket? When does it start? What’s the format? Share as much information as possible to help people (especially new people that you haven’t met yet) feel comfortable showing up to your event.
2. Create your event hashtag early
If you want the event to be shared on Twitter with a specific hashtag, start using it early. Even before you have a registration page or speaker you can start communicating all messages on Twitter with that hashtag. This is often an after thought. The organiser will realize they want people to tweet with a specific hashtag at the start of the event (or halfway through). By this time people have crated their own, or perhaps assumed that people wouldn’t be talking about the event on Twitter collectively.
Bonus: Please also make sure it’s something short, easy to remember and somehow ties in with the event name. However, that’s another post for another time.
3. Choose an appropriate venue
Again, this might seem like another obvious tip, but I attend a lot of meetups where the space doesn’t suit the event. If you want people to be able to have conversations, perhaps avoid the noisy pub. It helps to visit or experience locations before choosing to host there if possible. Think about the type of experience you want people to have. Do you want it to be intimate with fewer people having conversations? Host a dinner. Do you want the whole city to attend? Then book a big room.
4. Introduce your event attendees
I’m a firm believer that great event organisers should know or meet everyone who comes to meetup. Of course, this is definitely much more difficult with large-scale or one-time events, but the host or hostess should always make an effort to meet people in attendance. Great hosts will also introduce other attendees, and more than just event in a polite “you both look lonely, so you should chat” type way. They should look to introduce people who could benefit from knowing each other. If people make connections that are personally valuable to them, chances are they will be back to your meetup or event again.
5. Be wary of event fatigue
So you run an awesome meetup or event (every week, month, quarter, etc.) and suddenly after many awesome events you’re simply burnt out. That’s okay. Everyone gets tired and you don’t have an obligation to continue organising your event. However, if you’ve created something awesome with a community and following it’s also a shame to shut it down. Consider setting up a team to help you from the start so when the day comes where you’re ready to leave the meetup, others can take over. The event can live on without you and continue to be valuable to the attendees.