How do you find people to host events when you're just starting and how do you attract them when you only have a handful of members?

Hello,

I am new here and very excited to see so many great resources!

We are converting our 10,000 sq ft makerspace into coworking. We currently have four desks and 5 cubicles rented. How do you find people to host talks, etc… for events and how do you attract them?

Thanks so much for any feedback
T.

Welcome to the group @Makertribe!

A few things that have worked well for us in terms of people to host/share their knowledge

  • our own members! this is often overlooked and in our case the biggest source of knowledge and programming. we are always on the lookout for members doing things and offering them the platform to share. if that’s new to them, or intimidating, we start small with things like Show & Tell (3 presenters, 10 mins each plus 5 mins for q&a), rather than full blown workshops or talks. This is hands down our biggest onramp.

  • members and leaders of other local orgs who already offer their knowledge. again, if the opportunity is clear and you make it fairly easy, it’s rare to get a “no” unless the person is EXTREMELY busy in which case it’s still an option just a scheduling challenge.

  • online! tools like Zoom and Crowdcast make it easy and reliable and CHEAP to bring in a remote presenter for a room of members. I jump to this option as a last resort when we can’t find someone in our community.

In all cases, I’ve found that it’s important to have an audience interested in a topic before seeking experts, rather than the other way around. We build everything around our members and what they are doing/want to do more of, which means investments in programming basically always pay off!!

Thanks Alex!

Great ideas and food for thought. As a follow up, you mentioned having an audience for the topic is important. Do you send out an email to get feedback on which topics would be of interest? If so, is it best to offer a list of topics to spark ideas or do you just ask what they are interested in?

Also, are the presenters paid?

Thanks I am learning a lot of helpful info here. I hope to jump in and give some feedback on our coworking space too!

We have only had a few over the last four years at our makerspace and now we are turning 9000 sq ft into coworking. It’s located in a small downtown area with lots of walkable destinations. Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Gym, Parks, Walking Paths, Salons, Dentists, Doctors etc…

Happy Saturday!
Tracey

Do you send out an email to get feedback on which topics would be of interest? If so, is it best to offer a list of topics to spark ideas or do you just ask what they are interested in?

We’re always listening & paying attention to stuff our members are up to and into, so most of the best ideas come out of conversations not surveys. In the rare scenarios we do a survey, our surveys are almost always pre-populated with concepts and then have room for freeform additions.

Also, are the presenters paid?

Depends on the event! If we’re charging for an event, I think it’s important to pay a speaker. If an event is free, I still think it’s important to provide the speaker with value…though that’s usually non-monetary value. Could be in the form of a membership credit, or something else to sweeten the deal. In the event that a speaker is charging for their own event, we take a cut. None of these are hard rules, and the choice/offer also depends on the relationship.

Sounds like you’re in a great area - reach out to those neighbors and invite them to be speakers & attendees, too!