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How to Host a Polkadot Meetup

We are appreciative of the willingness of our community to step forward to host meetups so have assembled this guide in order to make it easier to others considering starting or taking over an already established Polkadot group.

Scoping Phase

When thinking about launching your own Polkadot group, the following questions might be considered:

  1. What values does your meetup represent? For example, localism, collaboration, social, participant driven, large scale and far reaching.

  2. Who is the target audience? Non-technical users, beginners, advanced developers etc.

  3. What specifically do you want your audience to learn about?

  4. How are you going to provide variety of content and a stimulating learning environment?

  5. What format will the meetup take? Fireside chat, lightning pitches, panel discussions, debating, presentations…

  6. How regularly do you plan on hosting your meetup?

  7. Who can support you and make up the local leadership team?

  8. Are there any key takeaways from other meetups that can help you plan your own?

Creating an "Issue"

To keep the community up to date with your meetup plans and for attracting new members, co-organisers etc, we recommend opening a new issue in Polkadot/Community.

Within the issue if you can let us know the following:

  1. Rationale for the meetup, why it is a good idea to host one then
  2. What presentation resources, slides etc you require from the Web3 Foundation
  3. To reach out directly to the Community Team at Web3 Foundation, complete the following application

Things you might need

  1. Organizer
  2. Graphic to promote the meetup
  3. Venue (AV, projector)
  4. Food and drink
  5. Swag
  6. Meetup group or page (meetup.com or eventbrite.com)
  7. Videographer (optional)

Organising Speakers

Finding talented speakers for presentations, moderators for panels and master of ceremonies for more interactive meetups is the key to making your event a success. Most of the other organisation comes secondary and is planned around when your first choice speakers are able to present. Providing your audience with a variety of content at each event is important instead of focusing on the same topic repeatedly.

Save The Date

Now that you have your speakers in mind, you’ll need to go firm on a date. When thinking about the date:

  • To maximize turnout it is helpful to begin promoting the meetup at least four weeks in advance of you event.
  • Try to avoid hosting a meetup if similar events are taking place on the same day and in the same location.
  • Whilst it can help to pick up numbers by hosting around a related conference, we feel that meetups are local community driven initiatives and are not purely a numbers game.
  • We find that members prefer to attend meetups when their diaries are more open in the first half of the week Monday to Wednesday.

Finding A Venue

Finding the right venue for your meetup can be a significant challenge. The most popular venues tend to book months in advance, the bigger venues often come with a large cost. Finding central venues that are easy to get to may not have the desired look and feel for the meetup. We have tended to find that co-working spaces are open to hosting community driven events and often are able to offer more competitive prices. But it is great to offer your members a variety otherwise the meetup will feel the same every time. So don’t be afraid of renting some unconventional spaces such as clubs, boats, pubs, theatres, art galleries - assuming you can secure at a competitive rate or better still for free!

Remember to leave enough time on the night to put up signage to help your members navigate to the right floor or room for the meetup.

Publishing Your Meetup

Now that you have your planning phase complete, you need to focus on publishing and marketing:

  1. Start a ‘Polkadot - Your City’ group, see for example Polkadot - Berlin
  2. Draft some text on what your group is about in the ‘What We're About’ section
  3. If there is already a ‘Polkadot - Your City’ group, contact the organisers for assistance and tell them about your planned event.
  4. Draft a detailed outline of your event for the Event Page, aiming to be as informative as possible about your speakers and their topic in order to attract your audience.
  5. Publish your event on meetup.com (Yay!)
  6. Spread the word for your meetup on Twitter
  7. Aim to cross market to other similar groups. Reach out to their organisers and ask them to tweet about your event.

On The Day

  1. Make sure you allow plenty of time to get to the venue
  2. Get there sufficiently far in advance so that you can:
    1. Test the Audio/Visual equipment
    2. Put up signs for directions
    3. Prepare the food and drink
    4. Set up the space
    5. Make sure the speakers have water or their preferred beverage ready
    6. Check the lighting arrangements for the videographer
    7. Test the wifi connection and make sure you can access the WiFi reserved for the venue staff and not the audience
    8. Sound check all of the microphones
  3. Prepare the merchandise and swag, ready for the arrival of the members

Brief The Speakers In Advance

  1. Ensure the speakers are aware of their time allowance
  2. Brief the Master of Ceremonies on the cut off times
  3. Let the speakers know the order they are speaking in or how they will arranged on a panel

At The Start of the Event

  1. Welcome the audience and brief them on the order of the event, start and finish times etc.
  2. If appropriate, let the audience know that you are looking to build out a local leadership team and are looking for volunteers.
  3. Remind the audience to tweet about the event and display the appropriate social channels

Throughout the Event

  1. Live Tweet throughout the event, with pictures and quotes from the speakers
  2. Take lots of pictures for the meetup.com group
  3. Generally make sure your members are enjoying themselves
  4. Enjoy yourself!

After the Event

  1. Request some direct feedback from people you met and from the group. Make sure you follow up with anyone who gets in touch or refer them to Web3 Foundation.
  2. Hold a ‘post mortem’ call or meeting with all the organisers and if possible any attendees to discuss what could be improved, what went well, in order to refine the process of delivering meetups in the future.
  3. The Event Host should draft a review of the event within two weeks of the event and post in the Polkadot Community Issue. This could also make for some interesting content for the Polkadot Communications team in general for a medium post etc.
  4. Finally, submit the final budget in the Polkadot Community Issue and, where applicable, directly to the Web3 Foundation. This will be useful information for future organisers in your region.

Further Reading

There are some excellent guides on how to host a meetup which we have relied on in producing our own:

Meetup.com Organisers Guide

A Practical Guide to Organising a Successful Meetup, By Jordan Lewis

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