Our second eventprofs meetup is finished and we couldn’t be happier with the result. We tripled the number of attendees and can really see it taking off now. We are close to confirming speakers for the rest of meetups from here till the end of the year and have confirmed some amazing venues, which we’ll be announcing soon in our meetup page.
As a quick recap, we are running a monthly meetup for people within the event industry in Ireland. The event takes place in Dublin on the second or third Thursday of the month. We select a different venue every time because we want to showcase some of the amazing places the city has to offer, and also inspire the eventprofs for their next function.
The meetups run for two hours and have two speakers, generally one international and one local, each one presenting for 30 minutes with a break in between. We offer canapes and welcome drinks, which are kindly sponsored by voxgig. We also have a networking space after the talks. This wonderful time to interact and strengthen links with one another usually happens in a nearby pub.
The idea of the meetup was born because, surprisingly, we found that there aren’t spaces where the event professionals can get together, exchange experiences and help each other grow. We saw it as an invaluable opportunity to develop the industry, and so we started meeting last June. The feedback so far has been very positive.
For this second meetup we were privileged to be hosted by Dogpatch Labs and to have Vicky Lee, and authority in community building and diversity at events, and Dylan Schiemman, CEO of SitePen and official event-rules breaker, as speakers for the evening. We are very grateful to them for all their support.
The first guests arrived at 6:00 pm and the talks started at 6:30 pm. Natalie Gray, voxgig’s Head of Business Development, took the lead behind the microphone as MC and delivered superb introductions for our speakers.
As we learned during Dylan’s presentation, this is not a job to be taken lightly. MC’s are key in events because they set the scene for the speakers to perform. They give the presentations a frame and a context. Their endorsement predisposes the audience to connect with the speaker and reinforces credibility. They also provide a short pause for the speakers to relax and feel more comfortable with the audience before they do their magic. MC’s make the whole event smoother and more comfortable for everyone, so we are very grateful to Natalie for playing the part in this event.
Next one up was Vicky, who shared with us her vast experience developing inclusive communities and events in the tech industry. She took us through her journey opening up spaces and creating initiatives that are truly diverse, and gave us many tips on how we could use her learnings for our own events.
Vicky’s presentation was followed by Dylan’s, which was a case of success. Dylan presented how he and his team organised and delivered TSConf, a very successful tech conference, in just 2 months from concept to delivery. His talk was (very accurately) called ‘Breaking all the Rules without Losing your Shirt’.
So here we are, after two successful meetups, with four more about to be announced and a growing list of guests, speakers and venues. What have we learned so far?
Well, probably one of the biggest lessons is that there is always space to innovate and leave a unique touch. We have done it by changing the venue every month. It seems like a gamble because it presents a constant challenge to find suitable spaces, each with its own logistics process and requirements. However, in reality it has been a great decision. Attendees are delighted to see different venues every time, and as long as we are able to offer central locations with relatively good parking options around I think we will be fine.
Now that we are feeling a bit more comfortable with the way the meetups are run, we have started opening more interaction spaces for the Irish eventprofs to connect and discuss. Since doing so physically more than once a month can be quite challenging, we turned to social media and now are the proud hosts of a Facebook group and an Instagram account. These online properties are an addition to our Twitter account, which is about to reach its first 100 followers, and our YouTube channel. At this stage we are only experimenting to see if these are the right spaces for us. Be assured we will report on progress in later blog posts.
We can’t mention our social media presence without giving a massive shout out to Pauline Kwasniak, who has been an absolute legend. She totally rocks digital marketing in the eventprofs industry and her endorsement has been very important for us. Thank you Pauline.
Our second big lesson this time was that, although there is always room to change and improve, there are also things not worth changing. Among them, we have found, is your food partners. For the second time we went through the hassle of quoting different catering companies, asking for menus and checking reviews to go back to the crew we used last time: The Right Catering Company. Their food is gorgeous, the service on the day is outstanding and they are just so easy to deal with! They really do take ownership of their contribution to our project, so we know we are in the best hands. We have already booked them for the next two functions and we highly recommend them.
Same applies to our videographer, Kevin Pim, from Sporthouse Productions. He is well able to capture the essence of our meetups in a very professional way and deliver the final product in no time, which is critical for us. Highly recommended too.
Last but not least, we have reaffirmed our initial premise: eventprofs in Ireland want to connect with one another and are ready to work closely together to grow and develop the industry as a whole. We are incredibly proud to be part of this and can only thank all of you for giving us the chance to do so. We look forward to having you at our next eventprofs, which will take place on September 13th. See you there!
In the meantime, do join the conversation online: #eventprofsdublin #eventprofs.