Last Updated on August 16, 2021
Not every event has to be a massive exhibition, a bustling trade show, or a huge convention. As an event management professional, you might occasionally seek to run something a little smaller, a little more reserved – a meetup. These informal gatherings are typically planned on a much smaller scale than a traditional conference, and usually tend to be focused on a particular community, interest, or activity.
Done right, they’re incredibly fun and rewarding – and as an added bonus, they generally require significantly less work than a large conference.
Here are a few tips to help you run a picture-perfect meetup:
Hook Your Guests With A Sweet Reward
One of the best pieces of advice in terms of increasing attendance at your meetup comes from Julius Solaris of the Event Manager Blog. According to him, one tactic that’s pretty much always brought people to his meetups is the prospect of free stuff. In his case, he offered free food, and occasionally a free drink. Occasionally, there were also prizes given out – “like a bottle of champagne in exchange for business cards,” he writes.
Of course, Solaris also cautions against being too generous with your gifts. Do that, and people are going to start feeling entitled – a sure-fire way to add a bit of negativity to your events.
Talk About It On Social Media – And Meetup Sites
Since you’re probably going to run a meetup on a smaller budget than a large-scale conference, your advertising tactics are going to be a little different. Usually, it’s enough to just talk about it for a while on social media – create an Event page on Facebook, share details of the meetup with any associates you think would be interested on Twitter, submit the event to Meetup; that sort of thing. As Solaris explains, most of the people who attend meetups know one another – meaning word will spread pretty fast if you catch someone’s interest.
Tailor It Directly To The People Who Are Attending
There are two general rules you’ll need to remember when planning your meetup:
- More than any other breed of event, they’re designed for a very specific group of people
- They usually tend to be smaller than commercial events.
With these two details in mind, you’ve really no reason why you shouldn’t design your event to appeal directly to the people who are going to be attending – especially since they probably share at least a few interests with you.
Choose Your Partners Very Carefully
We’re going to grab another piece of advice from Solaris here – be very careful who you invite onto your team to help you with your meetup. Speaking from a position of experience, he’s seen several incidents in meetups he attended where one or more assistant organizers didn’t like something their event planner was doing and took over the whole team as a result, ousting the original organizer in the process.
Remember Why You’re Running This
Last, but certainly not least…whether you’re hosting a meetup simply out of passion for a particular topic/interest or to network with prospective partners, you have to always keep sight of your original objective. This isn’t a commercial event, so don’t treat it as one.
Meetups are an odd class of event. You don’t necessarily need formal event management training to make them work, nor do they necessarily have any commercial goal in mind. At the same time, if they’re your passion, running them could be one of the most rewarding things you do as an event management professional.
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