The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

The golden rules of meetup etiquette — August 3, 2013

The golden rules of meetup etiquette

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Yes is not a maybe. Yes it not yes until a better offer… Used to the ‘Facebook generation’, organisers will estimate an actual 50% attendance based on RSVPs.

In my hometown of Melbourne, meetups are booming. Particularly in the tech, business and social scenes. A group of people in a room discussing interesting topics can be found on a regular basis at least three nights a week.

Attendances vary from three to 300, with some so inundated with interest they have to constantly move to larger and larger venues. Sponsors are falling over themselves and The Fetch started here which gives an idea of the demand.

So all is well, yes?

With popularity comes more to juggle, prepare and expectations to meet which may exceed the original intention of the group.

Spare a thought for passionate organisers, they undertake a fair amount of unpaid work, organising a venue, sourcing content, promotions and managing a night can be draining, with little acknowledgement.

Here are my golden rules of meetup etiquette:

Keep your RSVP up-to-date

Yes is not a maybe. Yes it not yes until a better offer. Last minute crises come along but generally even a five-minute change of RSVP is enough. Used to the ‘Facebook generation’, many organisers will estimate an actual 50% attendance based on RSVPs. But recently I have been to a few events with 30% or less, with no apologies. Which is disheartening for organisers, looks bad to sponsors and is just plain rude. It can also be expensive if a room has been hired and catering organised based on numbers. Some meetups now run policies to eject constant no-shows from groups, do we really need to get that far?

Don’t expect free food and drink

For meetups that don’t have an ongoing sponsor, it can be a time consuming and sometimes hard undertaking for organisers to constantly be finding and spruiking themselves to potential sponsors. Don’t denigrate a meetup just because there is no free food or drink, attend because of the topics and if you’re really desperate for something, take a long a six-pack, bottle of wine, or some snacks, others will be keen to share.

Consume and Contribute

Organisers are often desperate for content, wanting to avoid the default backup plan of ‘doing it yourself’. If there’s a relevant topic you’d like to see discussed, try to find someone who can present and propose them. Don’t think that you can’t present the topic, even if you’re an amateur or beginner to the topic, you can still bring something valuable to the discussion and your efforts may bring out more expert feedback from the audience.

General courtesy

There have been many discussions around appropriate behaviour in the tech scene that we don’t have space to revisit here, there are many cultures, backgrounds and opinions at meetups, be courteous and open minded.

Stick to the point

If you have a question of a speaker, make it a question, not a lengthy point that doesn’t go anywhere. If you have something more to contribute, do a talk!

Put your phones on silent

No need to turn them off, but please put them on silent, we don’t want to hear your latest clever ringtone.

Keep still and silent during talks

Often presenters are nervous, don’t make it harder by talking excessively, moving around, fidgeting etc.

It’s not your home

Setting up and cleaning up are part and parcel of any event. Lend a hand, it will be appreciated.

For balance, here are some tips for organisers:

It’s not an ego trip

Few organisers are guilty of this, but a meetup isn’t a vehicle for setting forth your own opinions and agendas. By all means, step in to run presentations once in a while (especially when no one else does!) and plug your work as recompense for your time. But it’s not all about you, all the time…

Keep an eye on the time

Meetups are generally after work and people have had a long day, if speakers have been given a time, get them to stick to it and allow for a little breathing/brain resting space between talks.

Keep an eye on the room

This skill can develop over time and sometimes you can be under or over sensitive to it, but try to get a feel for the room and attendees. Are they bored? Is it too hot? Do people look uncomfortable? Are people leaving?

About our contributor // Chris Ward is the cofounder of Green Renters, leads community and education at Go1 agency, and runs three tech meetups. Follow him on Twitter as @chrischinch.

Image credit: Frank Chimero

Curator Year in Review 2012: Kat in Melbourne — December 9, 2012

Curator Year in Review 2012: Kat in Melbourne

With 2013 just around the corner, we continue our update from our beloved city curators. Last but not least, Kat Loughrey in Melbourne, aka @KatLoughrey, highlights some of her most appreciated events, spaces and top moments of 2012.

kat

Best event for meeting people?
The best thing about Melbourne is that I have found it incredibly easy to meet people at every event I’ve attended. I think that comes down to the fact the people who choose to attend these events, go with the right attitude and an open mind. That said, I think I always walk away with a few more contacts after attending the monthly Silicon Beach Drinks. Great atmosphere and a very open environment for networking and making new friends.

Best event for content shared and learnings?
I’ve been on a journey of discovery in 2012 since joining The Fetch and have been suitably impressed with the digital, creative and startup scenes in Melbourne – namely everyone’s desire to learn, share and grow individually and collectively. I really like the WeTeachMe Speed Teaching events and the Social Media Club Melbourne nights, plus I think if you’re in the non-profit arena, then NetSquared is the place to be.

The Socialmelb Unconference earlier this year was memorable and a great introduction to this exciting world of learning and networking that’s happening in Melbourne – and that I fear that too many Melbournians just aren’t well aware of yet. That’s where The Fetch steps in.

All in all, we’re spoiled for choice in Melbourne – and if you can take away just one learning from each meetup you attend, then I think you’ve succeeded.

Personal event style preference (breakfast/conference/workshop/etc/etc)?
I love the more informal vibe and atmosphere of the smaller meetups, over a large-scale conference. It provides a better chance to meet people and have more meaningful conversations. I also think they fit in better with our busy time-poor schedules. I’ve still learnt a lot from some of the big conferences I’ve attended such as iStrategy though. You just need to approach a large-scale conference with a different mindset.

Favourite source of local community news?
Without a doubt – Twitter – and utilising the list functionality to (try to) stay across as much as possible happening in Melbourne. Facebook comes in a close second, with LinkedIn increasingly becoming a relevant source for community news as well.

Favourite coworking space?
Definitely a throw up between Inspire9, York Butter Factory and Hub Melbourne. All fabulous spaces that if I wasn’t working in a full time job, would aspire to do coworking at.

Favourite cafe with wifi?
I can’t go past 1000 Pound Bend, where the Social Melbourne breakfasts are held. The State Library of Victoria and its café, Mr Tulk, are also worthy of an inclusion. Now if only I could take my coffee into the library to work/read, that’d be perfect!

What’s been a personal highlight and not so high moment of the year?
The inaugural dinner for The Fetch we had at TrunkTown in September. Stimulating conversation and great people. That was brilliant to be a part of and I can’t wait for us to do another one.

Low point? There hasn’t really been one, though attending the iStrategy conference still sick with a chest infection and a fever wasn’t exactly how I had pictured myself feeling when I was networking – but yet I still took 15 pages of notes and met some lovely people!

What have you enjoyed about being involved with The Fetch in 2012?
In the short time I’ve been involved with The Fetch, a lot of my work has been behind the scenes, so getting out from behind the desk, attending industry meetups that were new to me and spreading the word of The Fetch with our slick business cards has been the most enjoyable aspects. As mentioned before, The Fetch Dinner was also a serious highlight.

I love the adventure of unearthing new events and happenings, as well as being inspired and motivated by the determination of others that I’ve met across a diverse range of roles and industries.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?
That’s easy – attending more events and happenings, and taking The Fetch to a wider audience!

I am also really looking forward to working with the Community Ambassadors further to develop more content for The Fetch and make more contacts (and friends!).

In regards to events – seeing the arrival of The School of Life to Melbourne.

I’m also excited to see the current meetup groups and conferences evolve grow further, as well as the further development of General Assembly and TEDxMelbourne.

Good times at the Melbourne and Sydney Worldwide Instameets — October 30, 2011

Good times at the Melbourne and Sydney Worldwide Instameets

Last Wednesday, both Hannah and I were on the ground in Sydney and Melbourne at the local Instagram Instameets. For those not aware (and yes it does happen – especially for those out of the iPhone world), Instagram is a photo editing and sharing app that launched roughly this time last year. It’s enjoyed solid growth with currently over 10 million users worldwide and is frequently heralded as a dream lean startup.

As it was a nice turnout in both cities, we’d thought we’d shared some of the happy snaps! Interested in attending the next event? The community-organised meetups run monthly and are mostly photowalk in style. Keep a lookout on the Meetup.com groups and of course, subscribe to The Fetch to get advanced warning.

http://www.meetup.com/Instagram/Melbourne
http://www.meetup.com/Instagram/Sydney-AU

And considering we’re launching in Brisbane, here’s the beginnings of QLDs –>
http://www.meetup.com/Instagram/Brisbane-AU 

Melbourne

by haikugirloz
by @matholroyd
by @hope_love_grace
by @sgrhall

Sydney

by @luvsariena
by @luvsariena
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