Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good Event Etiquettes

Article posted on the meetup page.

Good Event Etiquettes
By Edward Yuen- Oct 16, 2012

Want to be that person who gets the first invitation to the latest and most popular events? Want to be remembered by event planners and get VIP/backstage access or sit at the same dinner table with the keynote speaker? Being an event organizer for over 50 meetup events and attendee of over 30 networking events in the last 10 months, here is my list of 5 event etiquettes to build your credibility to be that person.

1-                 Join the discussion, lend a hand.
Organizers would like to know how you feel about the event that is coming up; feel free to participate in the conversation if the event has a facebook page or twitter channel. Ask questions if you have any or take initiative and answer a fellow attendee's question you may know. If it is your first event, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, we’re here to meet people after all. For meetup events, if I drive I would offer fellow attendees a ride from the nearest skytrain station. If the event has a twitter channel, send out a few tweets about it! Not only organizers get an email that you tweeted about them, they would highly appreciate that you're helping them promote their event, generating activity on the discussion page and also helping others get to the event.

Having an updated profile has its benefits too. If you want to be invited to events, organizers would like to know your interests and hobbies so if they do send you personal invites they will know they are not sending invites to events you're not interested in. Organizers usually send personal invitations to people they know or they're familiar with, having a blank profile does not help at all.

2-                  Don’t be a no show, change your RSVP!
One of the worst thing a person could do is to hog up a seat through RSVP and not show up leaving an empty chair that could've been filled up by an eager wait listed person. If you still not sure wheter you can attend 48 hours before, it is better to change your RSVP to no and let someone who is 100% sure of attending. It is likely the event will come back again at a later date, but if you cannot wait, organize the next one yourself! My Meetup group, Extremely Shy, usually emails members a day before the event a reminder  so you have an opportunity to update your RSVP if you cannot come. We also encourage members to take the initiative to organize events to encourage building community regardless of how long they've been with the group.

If something happens last minute and you cannot come, let the organizer host know. Don’t be a no show! Not calling ahead in the case of a no show is very rude, not only because it frustrates the organizers who bought the food or tickets already, it also makes other attendees frustrated as they're await for your arrival. No shows are frowned upon in our meetup group with each no show infraction tarnishing your reputation and may prevent you from attending future events or at extreme cases result in expulsion from the group.

3-                  Don’t arrive late,
Coming late to an event has lots of disadvantages, full parking, stress, figuring out where the group has moved on to and the list goes on. Plan ahead with a transportation plan so you can arrive early and remain calm. Some events may have a ‘Do Not Disturb’ policy and may not allow you to enter until intermission while others may not let late people enter in at all because a key card is required to enter the facility.

Coming early has plenty of advantages from mingling opportunities to choosing a good seat at the table (You wouldn't want to sit in front of a loud speaker at a dinning event!), easy parking and buffer time to prepare for possible accidents or to get lost if the meeting location is difficult to find.

If you are going to be late despite all effort done, let the organizers know as soon as you can so they can accommodate your late arrival and send someone to get the door for you.

4-                  Give an evaluation/feedback on event
Was the event great? Was the food too salty? Were the people nice? The organizers would never know if you don’t give them your feedback. Tell them how the event went, what you liked about the event. At Toastmasters we give feedbacks on everything from speeches to the MC's facilitation to the organization of the meeting and room. One of the common structures for feedback is the sandwich technique where you start off by commenting on something that was great, something you enjoyed. Then Talk about what can be improved upon for next time. And end off with another great item you enjoyed. Most events have an evaluation form included, be sure to fill them out and hand them out to the organizers.

If the event has a twitter channel or a discussion page, feel free to share with others your experiences and join the post event discussion with fellow attendees; comment on a few points form the keynote that inspired you or comment on who you met. Event organizers loves it when you share with your friends how much you got out of their event. It is also important and common courtesy to keep all negative comments between yourself and the organizer, send them an email if something didn't go that well and provide some suggestions on how they could improve. If there was an obvious error at the event (food came late), pointing out the obvious is not likely going to add value to the organizers as hundreds of others are doing that already,  instead thank them for the things that worked out and offer some suggestions on the issue and consider offer a helping hand next time.

5-                  Thank your organizers and hosts
For every great event is a great team that worked behind the scenes from the event core team who worked hard planning in the months leading up to the event  to the event volunteer/operations team who worked hard on the day of the event to present you with the quality of meeting you enjoyed. Be sure to thank them on the way out or if you see them around, a kind word or a smile can brighten up a day.

Do likewise for the venue hosts too, whether it is the restaurant server, the belaying person at the rock climbing gym or the attendant at the bike rental store; most of them are just minimum wage worker facing angry customers all day long. Thank them for providing you with service (good or bad) and you may never know how far it can go when you come back next time.

Like many organizations, different organizers have different niches of events they organizer, at my meetup group we have different organizers organizing events based on different genres (eg. Ed organizes networking and community building events, Peter organizes weekly boardgames, Ivy organizes fancy dinners etc...). Asking an organizer to add you to their mailing list will give you first shout outs when the organizers organize their genre of events. Another way to get first invitations is to follow their twitter page or social media pages so you get updates sent to your email.

Follow these five steps and you can be quite popular amongst event planners, they will give you early invitations or special VIP status to their events.

Happy Socializing,

Edward Yuen
Assistant Organizer- VP and membership
Extremely Shy Meetup
For the earlier part of his life, Edward has been sitting at the sidelines of life observing his more charismatic peers basking in the spotlight. Ever since his 'great encounter' and the discovery of his 'Anchor', Edward has found strength and a new direction to overcome his fears of interacting with people in a social setting and establishing that "change is possible" with true wisdom and sufficient perseverance. Edward is an event organizer for the meetup group Extremely Shy, the most active meetup group in Vancouver (as of sept 2012) with 10 events happening every week and 2100 active members. He organizes monthly minger events with guest lists of over 80 people and introduces the 2100 members to different exciting activities and local restaurants in Vancouver. Aside from meetup, Edward is actively engaged with the community from volunteering to organizing speech competitions and training for Toastmasters clubs in Burnaby. 

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