Fresh off attending a pretty painful Meetup last night, a number of observations are circling. I had four hours of road time for an event I ended up leaving early b/c I just couldn’t bear the idea of staying any longer. And I was not the first or last person to leave.

On the plus side, I had an opportunity to listen to the entire podcast of Tim Ferriss interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson (highly recommend). And, now I have this list of considerations. And maybe a future post inspired by the drive on the yoga of traffic, but I digress.

Here are some things to think about when planning your next event or workshop.

  • Create opportunities for people to get to know each other out of the gate, preferably with at least a little bit of structure and novelty (meaning something other than “What do you do?”) to make things comfortable for introverts and extroverts alike.
  • Understand why they are there. While there may be some sort of presentation or purpose for coming together, there is often at least as much value, if not more, derived from learning about who’s in the room.
  • Convey credibility.
  • Have backup tech. And backup to the backup tech. And a plan C in case backups fail and it turns into a no tech event. (Ideally test your tech before the day of the event, though this isn’t always possible.)
  • Don’t be boring.
  • Help people know out of the gate how their time will be spent and what they can expect to get out of the event.
  • Minimize one-way communication. Lectures and monologues can be a quick turn-off, especially if the event was framed as a workshop.
  • Read the room and shift gears if you see empty faces and lots of devices out.
  • Leave people wanting more, not less.
  • If introducing something that’s not typical for your type of event, briefly explain the why and model the how.
  • Create space for questions.
  • Venue matters. Try to set it up in a way that maximizes interactions.
  • Don’t make a sales pitch.

Other ideas about what works and doesn’t? I’d love to hear from you.

Email Becca

For additional reading: