Continuing on from our Tech Talk variants, I follow up with ideas for socials.
Here members of a your meetup gather and talk about tech, related subjects or things at random. Often this is a pub or bar but might be a place with food or coffee shop.
When picking a venue, you can increase numbers with somewhere easy to find, not too expensive and with good transport links.
Many tech meetups combine Tech Talks with the Gathering for their regular event. In Exeter this is true of Tech Exeter, Exeter Python and SQL Southwest. I know people who find more use in the chats afterwards than the talks beforehand.
Organisers like these events because they are easy to set-up and require little planning beyond naming a time and location.
Here your techies meet with an activity in mind, likely tech or geek-related. I've seen groups go for board games, playing around with virtual reality and ten-pin bowling. A personal favourite are quizzes, on their own or combined with something else. We have a combined python and .NET quiz at Xmas in Exeter.
Meeting around an activity or goal appeals to members who are prefer a focus over casual conversation. A group activity with others is also a great time to get to know them better.
The downsides of these events is that they often involve some money and more organisation.
Here your meetup members will head somewhere together away from the regular locations. This could be a tech conference, another meetup with an popular speaker or simply somewhere interesting a few miles away.
Again this will take more organisation and co-ordination as you have to juggle travel, people and timings. But to me it can be worth it as a group experience and introducing people to new ideas and places.
I've also used it to get more exposure for a group such as when a couple of us from Exeter Python traveled up to a Bristol Python social just to show our faces and talk to a different group doing something similar.
Time for Tea
After looking at regular socials, something more targeted and traveling elsewhere, it's time for a tea or something stronger.
See you again soon for last minute formats to use when a speaker drops out last-minute.