Welcome to the mycamp.rocks newsletter! I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am writing them! 😄 I try to be: (1) brief (2) ad free and (3) target to organizers, speakers, and/or attendees.
Thank you! 🙏🏻
You can find this issue on the mycamp.rocks website: https://mycamp.rocks/issue-29
Today’s Topics: Tips for organizers regarding after parties, speakers getting feedback from attendees…and more.
(More) Quick Tips For After Parties
- Obviously make it clear in emails, the website, and opening announcements that the Code of Conduct is in full force at such activities even if these parties and events are not physically in the conference venue. Put a CoC sign in the main entrance.
- You can never have enough visible volunteers spread across the area – in theory those attending the gathering should spend more than a few minutes looking for someone clearly marked (via shirt or badge) as a volunteer (not just for CoC but for urgent questions, etc.). Make a schedule weeks in advance and let everyone know where they should be located. Try to have volunteers have some fun as well though.
- To go along with that last bullet, have a clear chain of command at the after party – who do volunteers report to? Avoid making the person in charge of larger after parties the same as the lead organizers of the conference itself. Perhaps the person in charge is the one that coordinated with the venue personally.
- You don’t need to hire a DJ or a Photo Booth to be “cool”. 99% of attendees won’t remember these details months after a conference – focus on providing a safe, comfortable experience first.
- Water. Yeah, hard to believe but I’ve been to multilpe after parties where they have enough drinks with sugar (or even tea) but water is the universal beverage anyone (especially on certain popular diets) can drink.
At most conferences there is a typical “main” or “big” after party (not big in terms of fireworks and explosions, but there’s at least one where most attendees are expected to come) along with smaller or “satellite” events. Some of the above suggestions are easier to apply to larger events but remember that any event (especially more than a few people) should be treated seriously by the organizers.
Here are a few ways to get more feedback from attendees. Because without feedback, it’s difficult at times to refine your talk for future conferences. As much as attendees loved your talk, majority will walk out and “not get around to it”. Some thing to change that maybe:
- You can drive them to a small form on your website, but you would need to DRIVE them there. Perhaps you leave one nice unanswered question in your presentation and the answer is on the site, right under a quick box they can quickly submit.
- Mention that you will share noteworthy questions and feedback in a follow up post. I’ve seen this work out good for some speakers.
- Use a site like joind.in which makes the process easier, but the encouragement to give your feedback has just shifted from your site to another one. But it’s a handy way to see feedback from others if the conference is using it.
- Make any URLs easy to remember as possible. Use a custom link shortening service.
- Some speakers promise the slides of the presentation after leaving feedback. If you go this route, make sure people can submit anonymous feedback so they don’t feel like they are signing up to a mailing list.
- Ask people right after your talk or during the rest of the conference for quick feedback. Frame it like you are wanting to continue to improve and not trying to boost your ego.
- Hand out small note cards or papers before your talk and ask audience to write out feedback, and collect them after your talk. Some might be too busy during your talk taking notes, but I’ve seen this work well for some.
Honestly I’m still recovering from the 101 tips for attendees I wrote a short time ago. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.
I’ll repeat this tip from the list:
Conference talks and workshops are largely pointless in of themselves unless you apply what you learned after the conference is over. Set goals and priorities after the conference (big or small) to maximize the time you spent at the conference (for some, this means moving forward with a business plan, building a website, or simply learning a new skill). Make a post-conference plan!
Misc. Stuff 🤷♂️
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.