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EventDev

Page history last edited by Lucy Windmill 11 years, 5 months ago

This page is a manual of how to mount an Amplified event in your region.  Please feel free to add details as you feel is appropriate.

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GETTING STARTED

 

First you need to find 3-4 other people in your area who share your interest.  You need the support of a few people to get an event off the ground.  If you have other networking events or if you are in contact with other digital/creative types, start by organising a drink at a coffee house/pub and go through the idea of Amplifed as a conversation series for digital and creative professionals, amplifying products, interests and concerns you might have.  Make sure everyone knows there are 2 primary rules:

  (i).  Two Ears/One mouth.  You have to listen at least twice as much as you speak.  There are no formal  presentations with slides etc.  Amplified involves structured conversations where everyone gets a chance to share their perspective.  If you want to display how your latest idea works, that could help but please don't consider this a chance to advertise your product/service.  It's genuine engagement on a subject of interest.

   (ii).  Free entry. If you want to find sponsors to pay for food/internet/freebies/whatever, that's fine but please don't charge entry. 

 

Next you need to let us know you want to run an event.  That involves setting up a page on this wiki, with your region identified.  You do that by editing the front page of the site and adding your area on to the list of regions, and then you highlight the text of yoru area and making a link to a new page, giving it a name like East09 or EastMay09, or whetever suits you.  Once that page is set up, you can go right in and add some details.  Most of the Amplified team 'listen' to the changes on this wiki so we'll soon find out about your event and start helping you promote it.

 

FINDING A VENUE

 

Your next task is to find a venue to host the event. These are the things you are looking for:

  (i) Free use of the venue.  Sometimes venues want to charge you a minimum spend of around £200.  That's usually fine if you're getting 70+ people along to an event and everyone buys at least one cup of coffee at the place. Over 3-4 hours that's pretty easy to make.

  (ii) Conversation spaces.  Big halls tend not to work, unless you can section them off and they have nice lounges or places you can sit and chat. Lots of small spaces or rooms works really well, but you also need a space where everyone can stand and listen to a brief plenary session which maps out the scope of rules for the event, and where you can all report back together at some stage.

  (iii) Wireless access.  This is really crucial.  If you're running a digital event it helps to have access.  Don't believe the staff at the venue either.  Make sure you talk to their technical team and ensure that you have all the codes and test the wireless before the day of the event. Some venues may want to charge you for use of the internet connection.  I recommend asking them if that could be part of their in-kind sponsorship of the event.  (In return you can give them a badge on the event wiki and recognition, etc.)  Alternatively you can ask local businesses to sponsor the web connection.  If all else fails and your ideal venue doesn't have wireless, we CAN install a temporary wireless networks but we need a landline which can carry data as well as voice, and we need at least 3 weeks notice to set it up.  And you're going to have to find £350 in sponsorship to cover costs of the temporary network.  It's not a lot of cash, and again, it's perfectly okay to have a sponsor pay for that capital investment cost and be recognised, have badging etc at the event.  Amplified doesn't mind at ALL if you want to generate sponsorship, just so long as there are no pitches/presentations and that the event is free for entry to all sessions. 

 

Events last anywhere between 3 - 5 hours and we tend to find many restaurants and cultural centres are often underused during the mid-late afternoon period, so they like us, because we look after ourselves, we buy their coffee and food and we bring an income in an otherwise quiet period.  We've run our events in the past from 2-7pm and from 4-8pm and both have worked well.

 

But offices are often empty from 6pm, so if you prefer to run an event in the evening at a corporate venue, we suggest a 6-9pm slot.  You might need to bring in coffee/alcohol/pizza for evening events so be sure to keep that in mind if you are going for a non-food-serving place.  (Or you could consider sponsorship for catering.) Remember that you may need to clean up after the event if you situate it in a corporate venue. 

 

We also suggest that you have a pub in mind for a post-event drink, and that you let that pub know you plan on dropping in on them.  It's just a courtesy, but if you have 100 people at an event, you can guarantee that at least 20 of them will want to have a drink after the event.  That can overwhelm pub staff, so it's decent to give them fair warning. 

 

We suggest you talk to:

- Restaurants, cafes and bars with separate spaces for events

- Cinemas, galleries and exhibition spaces with cafes attached that are likely to be open when you want to run an event

- Clubs, corporate or public sector venues with a pub either next door or underneath the building, and preferably a coffee shop or kiosk within the venue

- Universities, schools or colleges during non-teaching periods (or even during teaching, where a venue is often empty).

 

Venue hunting can be a tough task and usually needs a strategic approach.  Share the work among the 3-4 of you who form the main event crew, and report back to each other regularly.  We suggest you have a venue booked at least 6 weeks prior to an event, to make sure that you have time to promote the event and get all the wireless details ironed out.

 

BOOKING THE VENUE AND SETTING AN AGENDA

 

Once you've found your venue, you may need to enter in to a contract with the place.  This can usually be signed off last minute, but they often need a deposit of £100 or thereabouts to secure the place.  Some Amplified people are prepared to pay this from their own wallets (and get a refund once any minimum spend is reached), but if you are having a problem with that, please let us know on your wiki page.  There is a small budget available to cover those costs from the main Amplified purse. 

 

(Keep in mind, Amplified is not a formal body, just a loose collection of professionals, so any money we have is supposed to go towards analysing the best methods of collaborating for business success in new media.  No individual is profiting from Amplified and we intend eventually to turn Amplified into a non-profit institution so it's a limit pot of funds we have available.)

 

Once the contract is there and the wireless issues are sorted, you need to get your wiki site and event registration sorted.  We recommend Eventbrite for event registrations because it is free to use for free events, and you can send emails out reminding people of the event to attendees in the lead up to the day.  It's easy to use, you can add a google map of the venue, and you can customise to your heart's content.  Alternatively, you can just get people to list their intention to attend via the wiki, but if you do that, it'd be sensible to get them to list their twitter IDs and email addresses so you can aggregate these together to contact them before the event with any last minute instructions. 

 

On the wiki page, it's a good idea to put all details of the event, and also to set up a timetable for the event itself.  For details you will need:

- Place: Include all details of level of the building, access roads, parking and a postcode.  A Google Maps ref is useful, as is a picture of the venue from the outside, so people nknow they have got to the right place.

- Date and time: Please ensure you give the day as well as the date, to reduce confusion, and also the arrival time for participants.  Include 30 minutes for arrival and registration prior to the event formally starting.  People will come and go all the time during the event, but those 30 mins give you time to meet and greet. Also consider giving details of the duration of the entire event.

- Team members running the event: People want to talk to the event organisers, always.  It's worth identifying yourselves and making sure you're available to answer questions.

- Themes or seeding sessions: If you've chosen a specific theme for the event or if you have a series of questions that local businesses want to address in conversations, make sure you let people know what these are.  It can fire interest as well as act as a basis for divergence on your timetable.

 

For your timetable, we recommend you set up a table with columns for all the tables/spaces/rooms for sessions and rows for timing.  Eg:-

 

 

SPACE1

SPACE2

SPACE3

SPACE4

SPACE5

2:00 - 2:15

Plenary

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

2:15 – 2:55

Session 1: Topic1

Session 1: Topic2

Session 1: Topic3

Session 1: Topic4

Session 1: Topic5

3:05 – 3:45

Session 2: Topic6

Session 2: Topic7

Session 2: Topic8

Session 2: Topic9

Session 2: Topic10

3:55 – 4:35

Session 3: Topic11

Session 3: Topic12

Session 3: Topic13

Session 3: Topic14

Session 3: Topic15

4:45 – 4:55

Plenary

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

5:05 – 5:45

Session 4: Topic16

Session 4: Topic17

Session 4: Topic18

Session 4: Topic19

Session 4: Topic20

 

We recommend 40 minute discussions with 10 minutes between sessions to move people around between topics.  Convenors are people who propose topics and their job is to ensure that all interested people get equal say in discussions.  You don't have to stick to this format at all, but we have found it generally works well.  It's also good if not all spaces on your timetable have topics in them on the day, as some people wish to raise topics at the event itself. 

 

PROMOTING AND RUNNING THE EVENT

 

Once you get through the above, you now should be promoting the event among local digital companies, communities and businesses.  We recommend doing a search on google for businesses and digital networks in your area and letting them know about the event.  You may also want to look for conferences and other networks and let them know you'd appreciate their participation.  It's fine for them to promote their own networks at an Amplified event - indeed it is encouraged. You could also contact the local academic and public sector representatives and let them know what is happening so they can participate and run sessions on topics of interest. 

 

We recommend you share these promotional tasks among your team.  If everyone sends one email/post out to a network of their choosing, the message will soon spread.  You should also tweet about the event with the #amp09 hashtag, and a URL for further details.

 

It may sound deceptive, but we find that if you say there are limited places, the tickets tend to go much faster than leaving an event open. *shrug*

 

You should also be calling for session topics from registrants to the event and have a few session topics up your sleeve to seed interest.  Use email and twitter to call for topics and give people clear instructions about how to edit your timetable on the wiki. 

 

As the event draws near, you will need to get some butchers paper or a whiteboard or some other way of displaying your final timetable, and you have to provide people with an opportunity to add topics on the day.  You will also need A4 paper for signage on wireless codes, hastags and space names, and you will need to get some pens and some sticky labels for name tags.  You may even want to deliver these to the venue in advance of the event so they're all ready to go. 

 

ON THE DAY

 

Your main focus on the day will be managing the registration process, ensuring the wireless is working, herding people around from session to session, and keeping time.  Make sure you have an easily accessible table at registration to sign off who everyone is and to get people to make their own name tags. 

 

You'll also need for your timetable to be reproduced at the venue itself in a public space.  The barcamp style of adding sessions on post-it notes to your butchers-paper or whiteboard timetable can work well, but it's also a good idea to have someone keeping an eye on the new additions and adding these to the website so people can plan where they move to around the venue. 

 

Before everyone arrives you should have the following set up:

- Table for registrations with sticky labels and pens as well as a list of attendees

- A4 printouts of all hashtags and wireless codes

- A4 printouts of space/room labels for sessions

- Bluetack or sticky tape to post all signs

- Extension plugs/powerboards in all session areas for multiple laptop power connections

- Your timetable

 

At your first plenary session you'll need to identify fire exits and toilets as well as tell people all the details of how the day is going to work.  It's also nice to thank the good people at the venue for accommodating you.  Please also ensure you mention the hashtag for tweets of #amp09 and any session hashtags.  You might also want to recommend the one-tweet initiative which is to ask everyone to post 1 tweet on what was meaningful about each session they attended (rather than just saying where they are or what people are saying).  This encourages a meaningful and rich tweetstream.  Finally you should clearly identify where all the spaces are for conversations.

 

Someone should be taking note of the time throughout the day and notifying all session convenors of when they need to wrap up.  A bell can be useful but you do what you think is best. 

 

At most events it's good to have a live stream and/or a virtual room at the event for people who either can't make it or want to participate from a distance.  Sleepydog has a service to run this, but again he needs advance notice to set it up.

 

In your second plenary session it's good to review what's happened in sessions, to do your thank yous and to tell everyone which pub you'll be meeting at for drinks following the event.  It's also good to ask people to help you clean up and take away all your powerboards, signage etc.   And finally it's a good place to ask people to blog about the event and to post the URL of their blog posts back on the event wiki page. 

THAT'S IT FOLKS

 

It may seem like a lot of work here, but when the work is shared it's actually not hard to mount an Amplified event, and as a general rule they are both useful and enjoyable.  Most importantly, there are people in the Amplified community who are more than willing to assist in any aspect of the development process.  All you need to do is ask! 

 

 

We are scheduling the next lot of regional events for the end of June - give me a shout if you are interested in doing an event in your region I can help lucywindmill@googlemail.com

 

 

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