Organizing a Quorum meetup

Thank you for participating in Quorum and for being willing to host an upcoming event!

The following details the basic process for working with the Quorum to plan a meetup, confirm a speaker and topic, and provide any required information or materials for the meetup event.

The suggested timeframe for completing each of the preparation steps are:

Step Timeframe
Confirm details 1 month before
Create event 3 weeks before
Publicize event 2 weeks before

Planning the meetup

To plan the meetup, begin by brainstorming possible speakers or presenters that you’d like to consider for your meetup. As you are brainstorming, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is there anyone in my immediate social network that would make a great speaker, such as a friend, co-worker, or a member of my local meetup? You may be surprised to find good speakers in your network! Speakers don’t have to be technical writers by profession. They can be developers, UX designers, product managers, Scrum masters, or other related professionals—they all have useful insights to share.
  • Have I read an interesting book on a documentation-related topic that I’d like to hear more about? Speakers are usually willing to promote and discuss their books, especially to receptive audiences. Most people you approach are likely to say yes, so go ahead and dream big!
  • Have I heard or watched any interesting presentations or podcast episodes outside of Write the Docs that I’d like to hear more about? Who seems to be on the speaking circuit right now? Sometimes you can find good speakers that have presented at conferences or other local meetups, such as the Society of Technical Communicators, Confab, or other technology or content-oriented conferences. Speakers who have already given or prepared a presentation are usually more than happy to give the same presentation again.
  • Did someone in the WTD community creatively solve a problem or develop a novel approach to a documentation task? Sometimes people in the Write the Docs community have really interesting approaches to solving documentation problems. Sharing those problems and cool solutions can help others in their own sticky situations. Feel free to reach out to members of our community who might be interested in providing more details.
  • Does someone who works for a company that makes documentation tools want to speak to our audience? While we don’t want every presentation to turn into a product demo, members of our community might be genuinely interested in hearing about new products or tools that are being developed to help solve documentation problems. Some product demos can be quite interesting and these kind of speakers will (of course) jump at the opportunity to speak to our community.

If you’re stuck, ping into the #meetup-organizers-quorum channel on Slack to brainstorm possible speakers.

Confirm details

When you have a speaker lined up and confirmed, you are ready to check with Quorum meeting volunteer leaders to discuss the speaker and topic and determine whether it’s a good fit for a Quorum meetup event, and finalize details, including:

  • Date and time for the presentation
  • Presentation title and description
  • Obtaining a brief speaker bio
  • Any other concerns, materials, or information

Create event

After the details have been nailed down, coordinate with Quorum volunteers organizers to schedule the Zoom event and Meetup event.

Publicize event

After the Zoom and Meetup events are created, announce it to the rest of the Quorum meetup group, and remind Quorum members to join the meetup and help publicize it to their individual meetup groups members.

Great ways to publicize the Quorum meetups in your local meetup groups include:

  • Adding a description and meetup event link to Slack in your local meetup channel.
  • Sending out an email via to your group with the meetup event info.
  • Using Twitter or other social media avenues to further promote the meetup event.

Practice emcee-ing

One week before your meetup, the meetup organizer hosts a 30-45 minute technical check where we go through the event logistics and answer questions. This technical check helps give you confidence in helming the big event and gives experienced Quorum volunteer leaders the information to effectively manage the event alongside you.

You can also invite your speaker or speakers to the technical check if you feel it would be advantageous. It can help you and your speakers feel at ease and it gives everyone a chance to ask questions.

At a minimum, if you don’t feel an emcee practice dry-run is necessary, open an a Slack conversation with you, the speaker, and other leaders so that communication channels are open for sharing pertinent details.

Tips for the day of your meetup

It may all seem overwhelming at first, but hosting one of these Quorum meetups is a fairly simple and gratifying process! Here are some tips to help your meetup go smoothly:

  • Open the Zoom call for the meetup about 5-10 minutes early to allow the meetup organizer and speakers to do a tech/sound check and answer any last minute questions.
  • Be ready to converse with attendees as they join! Use the ice-breaker questions as a starting point.
  • Encourage people to add a comment in the chat box or unmute themselves as people are joining to greet others. Creating an open and friendly environment makes the process easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Speak slowly—the temptation is great to rush through things. In the first few minutes of the meetup, let your statements, questions, and comments breathe a little bit. Attendees also feel more inclined to join the conversation or add chat comments if the pace feels casual and conversational.