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Meetup Format

Page history last edited by Tristan Kromer 8 years, 1 month ago

* This guide is meant to be updated. If you have suggestions, please add them.

 

There are a number of different formats for your meetup group and people try new things all the time. These are just a few suggestions.

 


Speakers

 

The most common format is just to get a great speaker and invite people to come and hear them. The biggest problem with this format is usually finding great speakers. If you're not in a big startup area, this can be a challenge.

 

One solution to this has been to use video conferencing such as skype to bring in remote speakers. Eric Ries has done this on a number of occasions.

 

Another solution is just to work with new speakers to ensure that their presentation has the maximum impact. Sending the Speaker Tips & Tricks can be very helpful.

 

  • 30-40 minute presentation
  • 10-20 minutes Q&A
  • Cost will vary by region. In San Francisco we typically charge $25 to cover costs but could easily charge more for some speakers.

 

Note that speakers often like to pimp their books and / or have the ticket price go towards book purchases. This can obviously increase your event costs and cut your margins. It's your decision as to whether this is a good idea for your event. 

 

Examples of a great Speaker:

 

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Speaker and can give support:

 

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.) 

 

Case Study

 

Another solution is just to recognize that the speaker doesn't need to be famous.

 

Sure, it's easy to sell out a room with a big name, but a lot can be learned from your fellow startup entrepreneur who has a success story to tell, or even a good story of learning from failure. In San Francisco we have an entire convention around people telling their stories of failing called FailCon.

 

A case study can take a little more prep work than a big, well polished speaker and it's a good idea to make sure that your guest speaker rehearses (which people really hate to do). The presenter needs to present not only the facts, but how they thought about the problem at the time. This takes a lot of difficult introspection and honesty.

 

The presentation should ideally be a nice simple story that is self contained. Startups are complicated and there are admittedly a lot of variables. But it's hard to learn from a complicated scenario, so break it down to something people can understand:

 

  • The hypothesis - What were you trying to learn?
  • The metric - What will you measure to learn it? How will you measure it?
  • The experiment - How did you setup your experiment?
  • The outcome - What happened?

 

It's a great idea to have the presenter draft a case study blog post to go along with their talk and publish it on the Lean Startup Circle Blog. This can add to the marketing of the event and help get people interested in what you're doing.

 

  • 25-30 minute presentation
  • 10-20 minutes Q&A 

 

Examples of great Case Studies:

 

  • ???
  • ??? 

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Case Study and can give support: 

 

  • ???
  • ??? 

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.)

 

Fireside Chat

 

Famous speakers often just wind up regurgitating the same material over and over and are rarely asked novel questions. A fireside chat can be a great format to try and drag out something new by putting a challenging interviewer with a speaker.

 

This means putting both speakers into a casually seated environment and letting the conversation flow naturally. Ideally the interview can swing with both participants grilling each other.

 

However, this doesn't mean it doesn't take preparation. You can ask your members to submit questions before hand and try and find the themes that your members really care about. Even if you're not the one participating in the chat, you can submit some questions to the participants so that they understand what people would really like to hear about.

 

It's also helpful to organize a chat around a specific theme and have at least 2-3 pre-planned questions which will start the conversation off in the right direction. The first question should be something relatively familiar to the speaker so they can feel at ease, so letting them know the question in advance is a good idea.

 

Examples of great Fireside Chats:

 

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Fireside Chat and can give support:

 

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.) 

 

Round Table Discussion

 

Smaller groups can benefit a lot by just getting together and talking through issues. The level of structure and facilitation required is largely dictated by Dunbar's Number.

 

If you have a group of less than six, a brief introduction from everyone and free discussion is probably sufficient. A group of twelve will require a more active moderator to make sure everyone gets heard and to make sure the conversation flows.

 

The shape and placing of the table and participants can effect the outcome quite a lot. A long table is usually undesirable as people from one end can't always hear the other and soft spoken members may feel discouraged to participate.

 

Consider breaking a larger group into smaller groups if necessary.

 

Another variant of this is to keep the membership of the working group constant over a regular schedule. This can give the member a great opportunity to really get to know each other's businesses and give in depth advice. However, a lot of care must be taken to make sure that the participants are comfortable with one another. A 'do not discuss' rule is advisable although a formal NDA is probably overkill.

 

Examples of a great Round Table Discussion:

 

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Round Table Discussion and can give support:

 

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.)

 

Workshop

 

A great workshop where members can get hands on instruction and practice can make for a fantastic meetup. Of course, it's hard to find instructors and it's not something that you can just put together at the last minute. It takes time to setup and practice to become a good instructor. If you can find professionals, get them.

 

Workshops are also heavily in demand so they can be a valuable revenue stream for your meetup groups. Here are some topics that make popular workshops:

 

  • Customer Development
  • User Experience
  • Business Model Canvas 

 

Examples of a great Workshop:

 

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Workshop and can give support:

 

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.) 

 

Charettes

 

Examples of a great Charette:

 

  • ???
  • ???

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Charette and can give support:

 

  • ??? 
  • ???  

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.) 

 

Lightning Talks

 

Examples of a great Lightning Talk:

 

  • ???
  • ???

 

Lean Startup Circle Organizers who have organized a Lightning Talk and can give support:

 

  • ??? 
  • ???  

 

(Please add yourself to this list if you're familiar with this format and willing to help.)  

 


 

Additional Links

 

 

Questions? Contact us!   

 

 

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