After recently attending a tech meetup in the city, I began to take notice of what should be the proper protocol when hosting a meetup. Although attending the meetup was new and exciting, I also think there were plenty of missed opportunities and feelings of awkwardness. Here’s some observations on what I think make good dos and don’ts of hosting a meetup.
- Offer drinks, but think broader. Having beer and/or wine is enjoyable by most, especially in new social situations. However, DON’T only offer beer or wine; some people do also enjoy soda or water. Remember, not everyone drinks!
- Supply name cards and make sure everyone is wearing one. This is very important when you are meeting so many new people and more than likely you aren’t going to remember anyone’s name when you leave. However, it’s nice to pretend like you know it while you’re there.
- Make sure you have enough space for the number of people attending. While you can never gauge how many people will ACTUALLY show up, it might be good to only accept a certain amount of attendees versus keeping an open invite and allowing more and more people sign up. Having a successful Meetup isn’t determined by how many people show up, nor do you want 50 people crowded into a room that holds 20.
- Don’t only speak with the people you know. If you are the host of the event you shouldn’t only speak with your coworkers or the people you know. Always be talking with someone new and offering any assistance, beverages, etc. so everyone feels welcome and comfortable.
- Don’t talk to these people as though they are your friends. While a Meetup is typically a post work event and draws a younger crowd, this doesn’t mean you should leave your professional hat at the door. Talk with the other Meetup goers as though they are potential clients and colleagues. This isn’t a frat party.
- Don’t be brief when talking about a topic. Each topic should be at least 15 minutes so that the attendees feel as though they got something out of attending. Otherwise, everyone could just attend a social meetup at a bar instead. Also, make sure that you speak clearly and elect the person who’s most knowledgeable on the topic so they are more comfortable speaking about it and are able to quickly respond to any questions.