When running a meetup, it’s important to establish a clear line of communication with the attendees and make sure that messages are sent regularly. You never know what attendees are listening to.
I learnt this when I was the main organiser of talks for Tech Meetup Edinburgh. One month I didn’t update the website with the speakers as I was very busy and to be honest, I didn’t think it mattered. I was soon corrected by someone who asked me what was happening that night, before politely but firmly pointing out the website was not updated. I could do nothing but apologise.
Every month I email events from Open Tech Calendar to a email list. Whilst normally I email events a couple of days before the month starts, on January 2013 I emailed it on the 4th. This was partly because of the New Year holiday – it won’t matter right? (It was also partly because there was a bug I was hoping to fix before I sent the email.) At a big meetup someone came up and said “I want to report a bug!”. Me sending the email several days late had meant he had missed an event. Again I could do nothing but apologise.
Recently I went to a meetup that was usually in a set pub. Several people had turned up, but not the main people. I asked the staff, and they were confused as several people had been asking after it and they hadn’t been told anything. They knew it was a usual booking, but this month they hadn’t heard anything. They asked me to get the organisers to call them.
The meetup’s own website did not list the latest events – it was two months out of date. Eventually I found someone on the phone who told me it was in a pub across town. Arriving late, I got chatting to one of the people sometimes involved in organising it who airily said “It’s all on Twitter”. That’s clearly wasn’t adequate.
(No names. I’m trying to make a general point, not have a go at anyone.)
Once you have established several clear communication channels, be they an email list or a webpage or anything else it’s important to stick to them. People are watching.
Annnnd this is the bit of the blog post where we start telling you how Open Tech Calendar can help with this problem. We know there is a lot for event organisers to do and they often do a under-appreciated job. We want to make life as easy as possible for them.
By adding your group and adding events in just one place, attendees can get an iCal feed to add to their personal calendar, a reminder email on the morning of the event or an email every time any details change. You can get a widget to place on as many websites as you want that displays the latest events from your group only.
And even better, our open Wiki design means anyone can add events. This way attendees can help out by editing entries and ensuring they are correct for organisers.
A lot of people check us to see what events are on, so give us a try!