You’ve got your organizers, your BAM is live on the Business Agility Institute website, and people are starting to pay attention to your Meetup page . . . great! You’re ready to plan your first meeting.
Here is a handy step-by-step guide to getting your BAM off to a good start.
- Choose a central location for your first meeting. Location is key when planning your first meetup. Try and choose a location that’s easy to access via public transportation and has plenty of parking nearby (and publicize this information!). Additionally, try and choose a location you can meet at with some consistency.
- Choose a topic or activity for your first meeting. Think about the target audience for your BAM. What are they most interested in? Where are their “pain points?” It may even be helpful to think of areas where you would like more insight and discussion, and go from there. In addition, be sure and plan a time for everyone in the room to introduce themselves, and a timeline for what time the meeting will wrap up.
- Publicize the event details 3-4 weeks in advance. Once you have finalized a location and time, add your first meeting to your BAM page on meetup.com. Include, at minimum, the location, date, and time–but also include any other relevant details that will help guests feel welcome. Are members of your leadership team well-known in the community? If so, include the names of your leadership team. Is your BAM geared towards executives only, or will it be open to anyone interested in business agility . . . or perhaps you have more of an HR focus? Be sure and include those details in your first meeting announcement. In addition, be sure and include any extra details to help guests find your meeting–if you are using an office building after hours, for example, provide clear instructions on how to access the building.
- Market your meeting. Depending on your target audience, share the meeting announcement in relevant LinkedIn groups, your social networks, and by word of mouth.
- Plan refreshments, if possible. Ordering a coffee traveler from a nearby cafe or picking up a carton of biscuits on your way to the meeting will go a long way in helping guests feel welcome. Everyone loves snacks!
- On the day of the event, provide nametags and pads of paper with pens. If budget allows, providing these supplies will help your event run smoothly (and, you won’t have to try and remember 20 new names in one evening!).
- Station a member of your leadership at the entrance to the building as a “greeter.” This is especially important if you are meeting in a building where guests will be required to navigate a bit to find the meeting, and having a friendly face upon entry will help ease any nerves your guests may feel.
- Be welcoming. Entering a room with strangers for a new venture can be scary. Put yourself in the shoes of those coming to your first meeting, and welcome each person individually if time allows. Ask questions–where do they work? What drew them to the BAM? Do they prefer dogs or cats? Being friendly, genuine, and welcoming goes a long way in ensuring success.
- Enjoy! You’ve already done the work of planning your first meeting in Step 2, so just execute and enjoy your first meeting!