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Hosting Your Own Meetup is Easier Than You Think!

Hosting Your Own Meetup is Easier Than You Think!

So you want to host a meetup? Great! They’re all the rage these days and it’s easy to see why.

Meetups are great for networking, sharing ideas, discussing challenges and learning from other professionals in your area and industry. They can also help to position you as an expert among your peers and create connections that lead to new clients and more business.

Whether you’re about to host your first meetup or you’d consider yourself a pro at bringing people together, you’ll never go wrong by following these nine tips.

  1. Have a theme.

    Meetups bring individuals together to share thoughts on a specific topic or area of interest that fuels their deepest passions. Clearly communicate the theme for your meetup to attract like-minded individuals so you can learn from each other.

  2. Be visible.

    Meetups are a great way to meet new people. But how exactly do you find each other, especially when the location is somewhere public, like a coffee shop? You can have someone stand at the door with a sign, put a sign on your table or agree that everyone will wear the same colour shirt. Depending on the size of your group, you may also want to hand out name tags, which can be as simple as bringing labels and a Sharpie!

  3. Get acquainted.

    As host, it’s your job to break the ice so that everyone feels comfortable. Think of a fun way to introduce yourself and then ask other attendees to do the same. It can be anything that will get the conversation flowing, like sharing your favourite food, movie, band, book or the last vacation when you didn’t check your email. For entrepreneurs, days off without checking in is often a distant memory, but it’s something everyone will have in common. It will also make people laugh and start to open up with each other.

  4. Don’t do all the talking

    A meetup is not a speaking engagement or a panel presentation that you are putting on for an audience. You may want to share something with the group, but remember that everyone is there to learn from each other, not to sit and listen to you talk the entire time. Encourage interaction among your attendees. Help people get to know each other. Make opportunities for everyone to teach, learn and share.

  5. Ask people to RSVP.

    Use an online registration service like Paperless Post or Evite. This makes it easy to send out invitations and see who can make it. You can also schedule reminders for those who have committed to attend. If something comes up, attendees can easily change their RSVP so you’ll always know how many people are coming.

  6. Charge an entry fee, even if it’s nominal.

    Whether you collect fees in advance using PayPal or sell tickets through Eventbrite, people are more likely to show up if they’ve paid to attend. You can use the fees to book a private meeting room or serve refreshments to improve the overall experience. Or, if you plan to cover the room rental and have a sponsor for snacks and drinks, consider donating the fees you collect to a local charity.

  7. Ask for feedback.

    At the end of each meetup, ask attendees what they liked most. See if there was anything they didn’t enjoy. Solicit ideas for future meetups. Are there specific topics they would like to discuss? Experts they’d like to invite? Offer a way for them to contact you directly too. Use their feedback to continuously improve the experience. You can also use this as an opportunity to find members who would like to help organize aspects of the next gathering. All great leaders know that team work makes the dream work!

  8. Set dates and locations in advance

    This allows people to save the time in their calendars and plan to attend future meetups.

  9. Promote future meetups.

    There are so many ways to get the word out, like Facebook, Meetup.com, LinkedIn or word of mouth. You can even contact local media to create some buzz and encourage other professionals to attend.

Now that you know how easy it is to get started, get out there and start hosting your own meetup!