Hosting your first event

Step 1: Set the Agenda

Identify what you want to do. Is this a knowledge sharing session? Is it a networking session? Or are you trying to upskill the community?

There are several different types of events you can organise and each is ideal for a different purpose:

  1. Speaker sessions: These are your standard presentation sessions where we invite someone exceptional to come in, talk about their experiences or learning and answer all our burning questions. This is great for large and small audiences. The Obvious office has previously seated 60 attendees. So that would be our upper limit!

  2. Workshops: If your goal is to help up-skill the community, this is perfect. If your speaker has a hands-on skill to share, this will work like a charm. Workshops are harder to manage and so we recommend hosting 15-28 attendees in this format to ensure that all participants receive the attention they deserve.

  3. Collaborations: These are events that we host at Obvious but are organised by external parties. We do this because here at Obvious, we all have varied interests. Hosting an off-theme event gives us a different sort of perspective and adds a unique flavour to our workplace.

  4. Panel Discussions: This format is ideal for coming up with actionable items. Similar to speaker sessions, panels can be great for an audience of upto 60 people.

  5. Casual Meetups: These are more low-key events with no specific agenda. They’re great for meeting new people, spontaneous conversations and it makes for an easy evening. These events are great for large and small crowds. The upper limit here would be 70 attendees.

Things to Remember

  1. All Events at Obvious are not for profit: All events at Obvious are not for financial profits. Most of the events will remain free of cost. We may occasionally have a small fee to cover speaker fees, or to cover the costs of materials/logistics of an event.

  2. Safe Spaces: We do not tolerate harassment of community members in any form. For more information on our policies of safe spaces, you can look through our code of conduct that will be enforced throughout the event.

  3. Diverse Speakers and Audiences: We want to encourage participation from a variety of diverse backgrounds. We want to hear different voices and different perspectives on the same concepts.

Step 2: Sweat the small stuff!

Name the event, select a date, timing and target audience. Also identify two points of contact for the attendees apart from yourself.

You will also have to collect feedback from attendees on the day of the event. In the past, we have used a box with a hole on top to do this and we have also asked attendees to put up post-it notes on the wall.

To make the event thorough & well planned, here are a couple of things to consider:

  1. How are people welcomed to Obvious?

  2. How do we help participants connect with each other?

  3. How do we introduce participants in an inclusive way?

  4. How do we keep in touch with everyone who visits us?

  5. Can everyone take something away from any event?

Step 3: Call speakers, hosts or experts

Based on your event format, you might have to invite speakers, hosts or experts. Reach out to them (here’s a format to get you started) and confirm their availability.

If you think it’ll help them be more comfortable, take them out for dinner to get to know them, tell them more about Obvious and put them at ease.

Do delegate responsibilities to attendees from Obvious. You don’t have to manage everything by yourself. It can get very overwhelming.

Step 4: Invite everyone!

Create an invite and share it publicly. We typically use Eventbrite for this. Don’t forget to integrate Mailchimp! Here is how we’ve done it in the past. Make sure to specify the date, time and location in the invite.

If applicable, be explicit about children being allowed at the venue.

This includes a calendar invite for all Obvious employees. Make the RSVP mandatory for invites to Obvious employees.

Maintaining a repository of all attendees. We will keep a record of everyone who comes to the office for the event so that we can add them to our mailing list -- though do ensure that people opt-in, and we don’t mandate that they have to share their contact information.

Keep in mind that:

  1. All invitations are sent on behalf of Obvious and not the host or the speaker.

  2. Any image used as a cover of the invite must have Obvious’s logo.

  3. Include a link to obvious.in in the invite.

  4. Specify that our code of conduct will be enforced throughout the event.

  5. Include at least 2 points of contact from Obvious in the invite.

The event link will be shared on

  1. The Obvious Website

  2. Obvious’ Twitter account

  3. Obvious’ Instagram account

  4. Obvious’ LinkedIn account

Step 5: Logistics

Luckily, the admin team at Obvious is excellent and we already have the basic requirements set-up. This includes stationery - which is always in stock at the stationery desk and a projector that has been set up with a screen in the cafeteria.

The only thing you’ll really have to plan is food. We have two standard caterers.

You can contact Cookifi at +91 82493 92586, for large events that need a variety of food items for many people. Or you can contact our Lunch Vendor at +91 99024 93415 for some light snacks for a smaller crowd.

Step 6: Pre Event

Now that you're about 2-3 days away from the event, here is a checklist of things you need to do:

  • Purchase gifts for speakers

  • Confirm all speakers/organizers one day before the event & also keep a back-up plan.

  • If they have presentations, make sure you have them tested on your laptop at least a day in advance.

  • Set up the space with the help of Obvious employees and staff.

  • We have name tag stickers that you can use if you would like to. You can find them at the stationery desk.

  • Set up a way to collect feedback from attendees.

  • Delegate the following tasks for the day of the event:

Step 7: On the day of the event

Be present at the venue on the day of the event, ideally 45 minutes to an hour before it begins, to make sure that everything is in place and to greet early guests.

Mic Up

  • The Lav mic should be placed right in the centre of the interviewee’s/speakers chest, where the sternum lies. It should be placed at a distance of 6 inches from the person’s mouth.

  • The mic should be fixed using a gaff tape or the clip to the clothes of the speaker.

  • The wire should be concealed, it should ideally run through the inside of the interviewee’s clothes, from the front to the back where the transmitter will be fixed.

  • The filming person can fix it if the interviewee/speaker prefers so or can assist in fixing if the interviewee/speaker is not comfortable.

  • The interviewees/speakers should be miked up at least 10-15 minutes before the commencement of their interview/talk.

  • The transmitter should only be switched on just before the commencement of the interview/talk and should be immediately turned off as soon as the interview or talk gets over. This is to prevent feedback noises.

  • Please ensure that the wind filter/pop filter/sponge is intact while removing the microphone.

  • Please ask the assistance of filmmaker to clear any doubts with fixing the microphone.

Registrations

Use your laptop to collect emails and mark off registration.

If the event has been announced on EventBrite then you can mark registrations on the website. Simply log on to the Dashboard and select Check-In and you can proceed to mark the attendance of the various participants.

Emcee-ing

It's always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the agenda for the event from the Eventbrite link or the calendar invite the host has shared with you.

At the start of the event, here are a few things we consider important enough to touch base on every time:

  1. Our code of conduct

  2. What the event is about

  3. The event agenda

  4. A brief introduction to what we do at Obvious

Your speaker introductions should include a brief description of who they are and what they will talk about. Please make sure to do your research on who the speakers are. Look through their LinkedIn, personal website and Twitter handles for some extra information!

Step 8: Post Event

Share a retro about the event. Here is a sample.

And you’re done! If you’ve made it this far, congratulations on hosting your first event!