Timing your meetup just right

Photo of Oleg Podsechin
Oleg Podsechin
October 3, 2016
Photo on theme 'Timing your meetup just right'

When you organize your meetups & how you time them can make or break your community. In this post I’ll tell you what you need to know to make it.

This is part three in a series of posts about running meetups. If you’re late to the party, make sure to check out the first post and go from there.

What time should you start your meetup? This is a trick question: the time when you say you’ll start should be the time when you open doors, but people will be late. So, the actual time when talks start should be around half an hour later. In other words, don’t start on the dot!

When should you say you’ll start then? That depends on where you are. People will head to your meetup straight from work but it will take them some time to get there. So, the starting time is a function of when people finish work and how big your city is. In Helsinki, we start at 6pm; in Moscow, you don’t want to start before seven.

What days are good? I’d say Tuesday to Thursday. Weekends are off and so is Friday — you don’t want to be competing with friend and family. Most of us hate Mondays, so I’d skip them too… unless it’s part of your name, like “Metrics Monday”.

How long should each talk be? Let’s just agree that they should be short and delve into reasons why later. So, assuming a 6pm official start, delay at the beginning and three talks, we’re looking at the following schedule:

  • 18:00 Doors open — attendees can talk to each other
  • 18:25 Welcoming words from sponsor
  • 18:30 First talk — sponsor’s speaker, if available
  • 19:00 Second talk — can be anything, really
  • 19:30 Break — nature calls!
  • 19:45 Third talk — leave the best one till last, if you can
  • 20:15 Closing words by organizers — don’t forget to thank the sponsors
  • 20:20 Let the networking commence — attendees must talk to each other

You should have a break in between the talks & you must leave enough time for networking afterwards. After all, this is the main reason why people show up!

Looking for a tool to run your meetup?

Try Meetabit