Well, the first LIKE North event was last night, and despite some problems with the venue I think it went pretty well. I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts here while it’s still fresh in my mind!
What went well
- Lots of people turned up – thanks to everyone that came! There’s a Twitter list of attendees (the ones that are on Twitter, at least!) – if you were there but you’re not on that list, just tweet @LIKENorth and we’ll add you
- Really good conversations – never felt stilted or like we were scrabbling around for stuff to talk about
- Got some great ideas for future events – and may have roped in a speaker or two!
What went, um, not so well…
- The sodding pub we were supposed to be at gave our room away, so we had to explore Leeds to find a new place to go! Luckily found a decent student-y bar nearby that had space, but still absolutely livid at the Victoria for messing up our booking (that we’d made weeks ago! Weeks!!!) Don’t think we’ll be going back there again!
- Although we’d tried to get out the message that we’d had to go somewhere other than advertised (sent email via Eventbrite, tweeted, texted those we had numbers for), inevitably there were people who didn’t see the message. Very, very sorry to anyone who couldn’t find us! Apparently the staff at the Victoria sent a few people on to the wrong place too, which didn’t help…
- All the confusion at the start of the evening meant that we never got around to doing proper introductions with everyone, sorting out name tags, etc. Still, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – I think we’d all bonded through adversity* by that point anyway, so maybe we didn’t really need all of that!
- First of all, find a different location – one that actually honours room bookings**!
- Get to the venue much, much earlier, to make doubly sure that everything is ok and have time to organise a plan b if not! I was first at the pub but I didn’t get there until just after 6, with the event due to start at 6.30, so once I’d learned the room situation and argued a bit with the pub staff about how to fix it, people were starting to arrive. Had we learned of the problem even half an hour earlier we might have been able to let more people know sooner about the venue change, and the whole thing would have been less stressful!
- Not much else we should do differently, except that I think it would be good in future events to have some kind of structure for the evening. Our only plan last night was “get some people together in a pub, have a chat, come up with some ideas of what to do next” – and I think we succeeded admirably in that! For the future though, I think some proper CPD stuff with a speaker and a topic (even if only very informal) would probably be more valuable to people.
So, on to planning the next one now! We’re not sure yet when it’ll be, but hopefully it’ll be reasonably early in the New Year. Thank you to everyone who came along last night, and a massive thanks to my two co-organisers @libmichelle and @theatregrad!
*Adversity in this instance = desperately battling through wind and rain in search of a pub 😉
**Am rather cross about this. Does it show?