Issue #28

Welcome to the newsletter! I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am writing them! πŸ˜„ I try to be: (1) brief (2) ad free and (3) target to organizers, speakers, and/or attendees.

Feedback: (1) ping me on Twitter (2) email me (3) i’m going to leave comments open for now for approximately a week on the website posts if you want to leave your own feedback/$0.02.

Thank you! πŸ™πŸ»

You can find this issue on the website:

Today’s Topics: Good use of social media, a few speaker reminders, and recommendations for taking notes at conferences.

Organizers 😊

The Best Use Of Your Time With Social Media

A previous newsletter covered what was likely a waste of time (or at least things to consider when it comes to ROI). I thought I would share some brief reminders on what likely IS NOT a waste of time – that you or your social media SHOULD probably be doing.

  • Obviously critical announcements with plenty of time (months for big conferences, perhaps weeks for meetups). This includes the dates themselves, call for speakers, call for sponsors. Create tweets and posts that could stand on their own so you can share the link (to ask others to retweet) across a good period of time. For example, don’t make a tweet “Happy Halloween! Our event is happening in March, so Sign Up” and share that for months. Simple “evergreen” tweets and messages are best to share with your meetup groups and include in long running email newsletters.
  • Initial speaker announcements: When you initially announce speakers you can do this in small groups (for larger conferences) or one-by-one for meetups and smaller gatherings.
  • Focused speaker announcements: Create a speaker card template for your conference that you can easily swap out a name, photo, and a talk title. After most if not all the initial announcements are out, try to give the speaker “their day” (tweet one focused speaker announcement per day) although if you have a ton of speakers and short on time it might have to be two a day (morning and afternoon).
  • Thanking sponsors: Each sponsor should get their own tweet with logo pointing toward their own page on your conference site. Frequency of sponsor announcements and thanking may depend on their sponsor level, but don’t attempt to thank all the sponsors right before the conference. Don’t make it look like you forgot until the last minute. It’s ok to thank sponsors during less busy times (like evenings and weekends) although you should be giving them some prime time at some point.
  • Thanking volunteers: Take photos of the volunteers and use the times where there isn’t a lot happening (say during lunch or later in the day/evenings) to thank them, especially if they are in action (like the registration desk for example).
  • Useful Attendee Information: Anything you post on your site that would be useful for attendees – directions to venue, registration information, parking, food, etc. I find it better to have a “top things attendees needs to know” post on the website and push tweets to this. I appreciated the conferences that had a bulleted list of “this is what you need to know” which was easy to find on social.
  • While the conference is taking place: Last minute updates to schedule, venue room changes, lost and found items, reminders about locations for nursing mothers, delays (like lunch), and emergencies are all perfectly good uses of time. Try to have a “chain of command” in terms of how these messages go out. Your speaker/programming time should confirm or write the message and hand it to social, for example. Other times critical organizers might need to review and approve a message on site before it goes out. Small typos in tweets can be big headaches. Facts and language of the messages being sent to attendees should be double checked and not fall on one person.
  • Retweet others that are sharing good content. Shows appreciation.

Know a social media strategy for a conference or meetup that you have done that actually worked? Share it with me!

Speakers 🎀

This newsletter is already full enough, so I would advise you to read the NEXT section below for attendees… and think about how you can make your slides and presentation easier for people to take notes.

  • Announce Early On The URL for Slides, Recordings Afterwards – Attendances will still take notes (because that’s how they will remember their key points) but will be less anxious if they can refer to slides and recordings later. Share on social before and after.
  • Don’t rush through key points of your presentation. Have “title slides” that contain a key phrase or point while you are repeating that to the audience. Give thought as to the best time to phase to let the audience absorb the biggest points of your talk.
  • A “cliff notes” or a slide that holds all the main points (in a bullet list?) at the end of your talk makes for a great “if anyone is going to tweet or take a photo of a slide, i want it to be this one” thing.

Attendees πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

How do you take notes at conferences you attend? Do you use electronic or more physical means?

Everyone is different, so there’s no right answer but I wanted to share results and feedback from a recent Twitter poll. Maybe get you thinking in case you wanted to try something new. Notes allow us to take to remember and help us apply points after a meetup or conference, so important that we take good ones.

  • Over half of 160 people (a decent response) preferred something physical. Not too surprised here, since many associate physical writing with better long term memory.
  • For notes I use Twitter. It helps me stick with main points, brief, includes links, and sharable to those following me. Some others mentioned tweeting as well (including taking photos). One downside however is that unless you export your tweets, Twitter owns your content (not to mention they can disable your account).
  • Evernote was mentioned a lot in the feedback from people such as Tammie Lister, Michele Butcher-Jones, and Patrick Rauland.
  • Other software tools mentioned: Typing with SimpleNote, OneNote, and NotionGoogle Docs was the second biggest response at nearly 20% in the poll.. but also handwriting on digital devices like Notability (with iPad and Apple Pencil) and a Surface Pro. A few mentioned using these tools in the past but got too distracted with the process and switched to physical note taking so they could focus more.
  • Some, like Aaron Jorbin, draw their notes. I wish i had the talent for that.

Taking notes is an extension of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. If you are better at typing then writing (like me) and you aren’t going to go with a physical solution. If you are tactile and able to physically write, then picking up a pen and writing or sketching is something you might favor.

Misc. Stuff πŸ€·β€β™‚️

These tips were written and/or gathered by David Bisset, someone who’s been helping organizing conferences (such as WordCamp Miami, but others too) and meetups for over a decade. He’s still learning so share any of your tips and it might be included in a future newsletter.