We’ve run almost 100 meetups and this is what we think you need to make the experience as worthwhile, both for the organisers and the attendees.
- Timing is everything. We run our meetups on Tuesday nights although it does clash with some Londoner’s sporting activities. Thursdays is the night people drink with colleagues and Fridays are spent at home with family or partying with friends. Weekends are just too tricky for parents. Monday nights are just too tough. But every city is different, so find out when’s best for yours!
- DIY Badges Letting people write their own name gives them the choice of their identity. This is good. We think printed badges are far too formal for a meetup. We usually just get Sharpies which you can use to write your first name on a sticky label. Easy, not too environmentally dubious and personalisable.
- Cold food. We offer crisps and vegetables with dips (from Pure) and a good cheese selection (from Courtyard Dairy) with crackers and grapes. We have alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. The food is cold and even if its room temperature, it’s fine. This means that no matter when someone comes in, there’s some good looking options for them instead of something like pizza which is basically time sensitive. It also means there’s next to no food waste because you can give it away at the end of the evening which we frequently do.
- Sponsors. We have had Balena as a sponsor for almost 4 years. They’re amazing and allow our organiser Alex to take the time to make sure the meetup goes ahead and she doesn’t get distracted. It covers the food, staff at the door, hosting this website, renewing Meetup.com fees, paying for Mailchimp services and keeping the newsletter going.
- Host space. Having a good space is really tricky, especially in London and thankfully Designit are amazing and have hosted us since September last year. You need a space which will accommodate food in one corner, a kitchen area for you to wash things, toilets nearby and a projector with some chairs. Ideally this isn’t in a building full of access restrictions where people can’t find the loo unless they have an access key. Ideally again, it’s wheelchair accessible. Our talks don’t last more than 1h which is the amount of time someone can happily *not* sit if they’re having to stand in a corner because they got there late. So it’s not that the space has to be big or even a formal event space, but it has to feel we
- Be patient, you’ll be doing this for years. To start a meetup is to garden. You’ll see things happen over long periods of time, with the right amount of care. We’re on almost 9 years of meetups and we’ve seen cycles of people meeting, starting businesses together, failing, or moving out the city, then starting new businesses. By organising a meetup you allow yourself to become a resource for those people, so treat that role with care. Help people make connections and good things will happen. They just won’t happen quickly.