I recently started to talk about the concept of running meetups for yourself; having a common purpose, a common idea or even just an excuse to get some people out of the house. All in all, running a Meetup is an enormous undertaking with huge benefits, whether it be one under the Meetup.com banner, or an event that you’re just putting together. I’ve done some of these articles in the past, but every now and then I still recieve emails and notifications through various places. I sometimes get asked if someone can run an event for me, when they have no experience. I sometimes get asked if they can take over my event (…). Anyway, this is how to run a meetup and how purpose matters.
Events With Purpose
When you put together an event, do you think to yourself “I want to have a lot of people in a room”? Okay, great. But why..?
Why are you the right person for the job? What can you bring to the event? What equipment, what tools, what know-how do you have? For me, I had very little experience when I first started, but I knew how to come up with a plan and stick to it. Fortunately, that has kept our events afloat. We’re halfway into our fifth year of being, which isn’t anywhere near as long as my visions for the group. Ignoring that, there was one thing I took from my relatively broken education that I wanted to apply to my events. I wanted to treat it like I was running them like a job.
I have seen so many events come and go, because someone wants to just get people together to chat about a topic. But what happens when one person puts that topic off-track? What happens when you kind of run out of things to say? Do you just let people go into tangents? Do you let people do whatever they want, but are just happy that they all happen to like the thing you like? How does that make your event about what you say it’s about, as opposed to whatever a bunch of friends want it to be? How does that welcome new members?
All of these questions are the types of things you should answer in a form of purpose. You may have it as a strapline, a tagline, whatever you want to call it. You could have it written in a document somewhere. You could just decide that actually, you don’t really have a core purpose, but you just want to get people together with similar interests. As such, when do people move too off-topic? What can you do to safeguard the future of your events, from just becoming another lads or ladies night out? I hate to be so blunt, but there are so many people and events out there who get into this state.
Start off by writing your purpose down – Even if you’re still uncertain, if you’re planning on starting an event, write it down. You may event respond to this article by writing what your own personal events purpose may be. Do you want to be the number one cosplay craft club in the UK? Do you want to be a recognised leader in video game tournaments? Do you want to develop a comfortable and welcome atmosphere for people to play games together? Do you want to go to the cinema with a bunch of pals? Write this down.
GeekOut’s tagline is “Geek proud, GeekOut”. I want to offer a safe environment for people to enjoy their geeky side. The people could be what you could call a typical geek, I.E someone who likes to play games, paint models, make cosplay, read comics, read books, whatever they are into. But they could also be people who have an interest in various aspects of pop culture, but don’t really know how to get into it. We want to encourage folk to enjoy what they want to enjoy – and to share what they enjoy with others. It’s why we have our Discord group, as well as real life events that we hold every month.
There have been too many times recently where I’ve been challenged to run more events, wanting weekly, bi-weekly or event more events. I don’t think that’s right for our group. We manage to get people across all walks of life together for a whopping 10 hour fest of all that is fun and games. We get board games, video games and then people can socialise and share their interests. There’s a big chill-out zone that people can take advantage of, often getting into a bunch of conversation about anything they want. All in all, we are who we are because we are our own community. If you’re the type of person who wants to do better, I challenge you to step up, take what I’ve said about coming up with a purpose for your own event – And run with it.
The UK needs more fun social events. We’re in a time where there’s so much anger and hatred in the world, that in all honesty, I think only through bonding with our friends, our neighbours and more… Only then will we really be able to enjoy what makes all of us human. Anyway, that got somewhat deep at the end. Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages. If you’ve got a tagline for your own event, share it with us! I’m looking forward to reading what you’ve got.