How to organise a meetup?

Organising a meetup is a great way to connect with like-minded people and exchange on topics you're passionate about. In this post I gathered some tips based on my experience organisation meetups in the last few years.

Finding speakers

Probably the most tricky part of organising meetups, specially when you get started.

Make sure to leverage your network. Some of your friends, colleagues, Twitter followers may not have considered giving a talk before. Give them a chance!

If you struggle to find speakers, you can be creative and maybe ask a remote speaker to speak through Skype or similar. There are also other things you can do like hands-on sessions, lightning talks or discussion panels.

I also enjoyed giving under-represented people (students...) a platform to talk, to foster a culture of diversity. I even hard-coded this principle in the rule of conduct of the last meetup I organised.

Getting a venue

If you're in London and your meetup aligns somehow with Mozilla mission and manifesto, why not hold it at Mozilla office? You'll need to have an employee to sponsor you and make the requests on your behalf.

For other places or other topics I unfortunately don't have much experience, but you can try to contact the venues where you have attended meetups in the past. Here again, use your network!

Drink and snack sponsoring

it's nice if possible to offer snacks and drinks to provide the attendees with the best experience possible.

I don't have much experience in finding sponsor but you can try to contact hiring companies in industries closely related to your meetup. They'll be happy to sponsor your event in exchange of a way to get in touch with local talents and potential users.

Another possibility depending on the number of attendees is to buy and bring snacks and drinks for yourself. Some big meetups don't offer such amenities so don't feel bad if you don't.

AV

Do you need any specific Audio/Video support? Some venues can accommodate all sorts of A/V needs (recording, live streaming...). At the very least you'll need an internet connection and a monitor to show slides and demos. Make sure you know your needs and clear any assumptions with both the speakers and the venue beforehand.

Planning

When everything is ready, it's good to prepare a detailed plan. That will help on the day of your meetup to make sure speakers or Q&A sessions don't overrun. It's also good to start on time specially if you're live streaming the event. That said, you must also keep in mind that some attendees may be late so allow a few minutes for everybody to show up before starting.

Promotion

To advertise your meetup is critical to its success. Make sure your communicate it on social media and ask, for example, your speakers to help with spreading the word.

After your event it's also nice to engage with your participants and send a feedback form to help you make the next edition even better!

Organisation

The big day has arrived! Make sure there is at least another person to help with the organisation. You'll be busy making sure everything is ready and the attendees are feeling welcome. Some support from someone who is up to date with the organisation will provide invaluable help.

That's it! Many other aspects such as using meetup.com, writing a good code of conduct or charging for attendance are not covered in this guide to keep it quick and easy. I hope the points above will decide you to get started with organising your very own meetup. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have more specific questions.