WordCamp London Meetup Organisers’ Meetup

Following chats on the UKWP Slack Meetups channel, a few of us decided to get together during the Sunday lunchtime at WordCamp London in March 2017. We expected a handful of us but so many turned up that we had to move to bigger space!

Thanks to Jenny Wong for guiding and encouraging us to get together at WCLDN 2017 – we ended up with the following ideas and thoughts, plus what could turn into another level of support network for organisers everywhere.

The focus was very much on how to build a successful Meetup:

General tips and thoughts

  • Don’t do it alone. Find someone to work with you on organising.
  • Read the Make WordPress Community pages
  • Most of the successful Meetups took a while to get going. Bristol, for instance, took a while and did not have a steady venue. With just 3 people involved, as soon as they secured a regular venue, people started turning up. This year they hold their first WordCamp.
  • Does it have to be monthly? The feeling was that a regular date is ideal and sticks in the mind of attendees more easily.
  • Be realistic with your measurement of success. This may not be numbers of attendees. If just a few people come along and have a really useful time, that is success.
  • One way to encourage more people to come is to fake the appearance of numbers. Get people you know to sign-up and say they are attending, then the event appears more attractive and more people want to come and so it really is attractive.
  • So get your attendees to sign up for the next meetup on the night, too!

This raised the question “How do you find people to turn up?“.

  • Use the official Meetup platform. This is provided by WordPress as long as you agree to their code of conduct. Then local people are more likely to be made aware of your Meetup and more may come along.
  • Contact all the local agencies and invite them in case any are keen enough on WordPress to join in with the community.
  • Get some cards printed up to hand out to anyone interested.
  • Say that it is an official WordPress Meetup.
  • Find a professional venue – WordPress.org will pay for this.
  • Bring in good speakers
  • Set a structure – perhaps a talk then a clinic. Work on different formats to find what works for your area.
  • Getting speakers is useful but you can also hold workshops or Q&A sessions.
  • Tweet it like mad, get people to share.
  • Any likely Facebook groups and pages? Invite them.
  • Same for LinkedIn and any other online platform that may have likely attendees.
  • Mix up the topics at each meetup – some geek, some business, some user. Make it about learning and growing.

Speakers and Topics 

  • Show and Tell
  • Goldfish Bowl – 3 chairs, 3 people disucssing a topic and anyone can come in to replace someone at anytime.
  • Posts-it and Pens – Lean Coffee
  • Write onto the post it what you want to know.
  • Use WordPress.tv if a speaker drops out. You do not need permission to use anything on wp.tv
  • Slide Karaoke – pick a Slide Deck and select an attendee to talk through the slides without having seen them.
  • Ask people who’ve downloaded slides of a favourite speaker why they liked that talk – for ideas or perhaps to encourage them to do a slide karaoke.
  • Questions for the speaker – find what works for your group’s dynamic and the speaker but usual is to keep them until the end. State up-front what the preference is so everyone knows what to expect.
  • Have a card that says “repeat question”. Also have a time keeper with cards, to keep things on track.
  • Videoing – when you get to this stage, get the speaker’s permission and of anyone that may be included in the video.
  • Share experience of failures and how they were resolved.
  • Panel discussions
  • Choose a topic then do 5 mins max to share a tip/trick
  • Share speakers and ideas with other meetup groups.

Other bits

We came away encouraged and with the idea to meet again at another WordCamp. We certainly will keep the community alive and build on the positive feeling from this meeting.

What did I miss? Add notes below, please. Sharing is good.

Thanks to Carme Mias for help with links.

1 thought on “WordCamp London Meetup Organisers’ Meetup

  1. Thanks for the great write up! It was a pretty inspiring sight to see all the meetup organisers chatting and sharing ideas.

    I’m not a fan of this suggestion:

    One way to encourage more people to come is to fake the appearance of numbers. Get people you know to sign-up and say they are attending, then the event appears more attractive and more people want to come and so it really is attractive.

    Why would you need to fake numbers if your measurement of sucess is not numbers?

    Just some expansions on some things:

    Find a professional venue – WordPress.org will pay for this.

    I would say find a venue that works for your group. It does not need to be a professional venue- but rather a venue that fits the local community needs. Think about accessibility, parking ( if you are in a location where everyone heavily relies on cars or bikes ) etc etc. This is an option if you can’t find a free venue- but alot of local libaries will give you space for free, to enocurage the local community to use the library and check out local council tech initiativies.

    Bring in good speakers

    It is important that local groups encourage and support local people to share ideas. I think we have to be considerate as organisers at what we call “good”. If you only have “good” speakers, it can sometimes have a negative effect on a local community if it happens too much as attendees end up thinking they don’t have anything to share. Keep an eye on the balance of the two.

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