(Less Popular) Ideas for Event hosts

I’ve lost count of the number of events I’ve attended in the past couple of years. Reflections, thoughts and more self notes on how to host an event for All.

  • Be Bold wrt. Accessibility. If you plan to host an inclusive event, let the world know. Announce that the event is meant for All. People are more likely to hold you accountable and give you feedback if they see you derail from your NorthStar.

  • Clear is Kind. e.g.., The event is a 10 AM. 10 AM where? There are 24 time zones in the world. Indicate the event time zone, not just the time.

  • Overcommunicate guidelines. Can I sit anywhere in the room? Is it okay to not be on video? How do I ask a questions? Can I interrupt the speaker to ask a question or do I wait till the end? Are there mask guidelines?

  • Assume nothing. Stock up on volunteers. Google cannot show directions to Room “Westminster A4”. Additional hands to respond to user queries and chat comments helps the presenter stay focused and the audience feel attended to at the same time.

  • Build community, not just events. Create sessions that will take the audience breath away. Not obstacle courses in between sessions. Jam packed schedule with no processing time between sessions may help accommodate more speakers and sponsor ads. Not really audience friendly. Community building does not happen at the sessions. It happens in between the sessions with activities that enable networking, speaker interactions etc.

  • Offer speaker mentorship. Speaker swag is great. Another way to give back is to provide guidance on making effective presentations e.g., how to create an accessible presentation. Your speakers will be indebted. They will use these skills in their future talks. And they will never forget that they picked it from you.

  • Build an event With the masses. Not just for them. Build a diverse team with people who have differently lived experiences. Actively seek and integrate feedback.

  • Commit to Learning. Challenge yourself to do better with every event. Every event is a learning opportunity not just for the delegates and speakers but event organizers too. Seek active feedback and commit to improving the experience the next time.

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