Running a Tech Meetup ©? Can’t skip these steps.
Meetup is a cool service that allows organizers to create events for people in the community to come together and participate in said events that they are interested or curious about. For example, there can be salsa meetups, where people may come together and learn how to dance salsa ????????! However, this post is not about salsa, rather, I am going to discuss some crucial steps to running fun and effective technical meetups, where people come together and … code?
Last month I participated in a technical meetup targeted at teaching beginners about lists in python and I realized the potential of these events however, the organizer missed some key steps.
- Connect with the participants
Many tech meetups are targeted at building community so connect with your participants. Post the social media of your affiliated organization or your personal social media. If the meetup goes well, your participants will want to come back to future meetups. Keep them engaged and informed about upcoming events. Ask what they want to hear in the next talk. Start a hashtag to build brand awareness. Sometimes you might have someone who is brave enough to share some of their technical expertise in the following meetup. As more and more meetups happen, you will grow your brand/network which is a huge win in the competitive world of software development for hire.
2. Plan Ahead
This seems like it would be pretty obvious but it is important to consider all the details. Think about how the room is setup. Is it conducive to learning? Is there enough seating for people to be able to see the presenter? Will there be food? Did you specify parking directions?
When organizing a meetup you should make it as frictionless as possible for participants to participate at your event because they are taking time out of their schedules to come and sit with a group of strangers to network. Within a technical context, many participants spend most of their day sitting behind a computer without having to interact socially with others (stereotyping, but most times this is the case). Think about having some engaging/fun icebreakers. You may receive some friction and weird looks at first but if you make it fun, everyone will enjoy it.
Finally, plan out what you want to say/teach and the exercises/schedule for the remainder of the event. At the last meetup, I went to, the organizer just looked up a CodeWars programming problem that was rather complex and was going to take most of the beginners more than two hours to complete (actually the organizer took about 2.5 hours to finish). Work on a smaller example that you know the solution for and can easily help others work through their own solution.
3. Be Present
This brings me to my next point of being present. Do not hunker down on your computer and ignore your participants. As an organizer, you should be working the room and see if there’s anywhere you can improve the experience of your participants. The participants come to the event to learn and have a good time not to feel overwhelmed/isolated.
4. BRING VALUE
This goes without saying. Start out with the objective of the meetup and when it starts winding down, make sure most people got something out of the meetup. It varies depending on the type of meetup and who is in the room however, you should make your participants time worthwhile.
As a technical meetup organizer, it can seem like it’s a lot of work but there’s a lot of value for everyone involved. If you’re present, bring value, and plan ahead, your meetup will go great and you will have grown your network of passionate technologists in your community.
Thanks so much for reading and code on.