Meetup of Meetups

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Aurelien (Left) and Bora (Right) organizers of Christmas Meetup Budapest 2015

I met Bora in 2014 when I was new to Meetup.

Meetup has meant a lot to us both personally and professionally. I run Skill Goulash and Bora runs the Budapest WordPress Meetup. We’ve learned a lot from each other over the years, and we now organize Meetups together.

Meetup brought us together in a meaningful way that changed our lives, so we decided that for Christmas this past year we would help people connect with each other just like it happened to us.

That’s how we got the idea of “Christmas Meetup of Meetups”, with the objective to gather all of the Meetup groups in Budapest together.

It was a huge success, even though it was our first time organizing this kind of Meetup. So we’ve created a guide so anyone can organize a Meetup of Meetups in their city.

Here’s how to spread the Meetup magic and foster great opportunities to connect with others in your hometown:

 Contact everyone

We wanted to gather everybody from the community, so we set about contacting every Meetup group in the city. Contacting organizers one-by-one took time, so we alerted Meetup HQ to our plan. They were able to help us speed up the process through the creation of an Organizer Meetup group.

Outreach was worth it. All those who answered were excited about the idea and helped us promote the project too.

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Find a venue

We needed a large place to host the event so we got in touch with the IMP Budapest Meetup, which organizes huge parties in Budapest regularly. They were kind enough to connect us with one of the largest bars in Budapest that provided all the space we needed.

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Advertise it everywhere

We asked organizers to re-post details about the Meetup on their group calendars, and we created a Facebook page to attract new people who didn’t know about Meetup yet, which was shared widely through everyone’s personal networks. Word of mouth did the rest.

Connect and entertain attendees

Generally people tend to gravitate towards other people they know. Filip, another local Meetup organizer, suggested we create an icebreaker game to encourage attendees to get to know everyone at the Meetup.

A simple card game did the trick. We created 5 uniquely designed cards for the largest Meetup categories in our city:

Technology

Career & Business

Socializing

Health & Well-being

Language and Ethnic Identity

The objective was to collect the 5 unique cards, and the rules were simple:

  • Register at the entrance and get 2 free cards
  • Get extra cards by asking organizers to connect you with people you don’t know
  • Exchange any duplicate cards with the people you meet
  • Gather the 5 unique cards then go back to the entrance
  • Receive your lottery ticket for a chance to win a prize
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    The idea worked much better than any of us expected. It turned out people loved to play and exchange cards.

    Have an awesome team of organizers

    When you organize a big event for the first time, it can be a bit chaotic. We needed help before, during and after the Meetup, so we asked fellow Meetup organizers for assistance.

    Here is the list of Meetup organizers who stepped up to help out all along the way:

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    The results

    More than 250 people attended the Meetup, and we left the place with lots of great memories and new friends. We also now have the Budapest Organizer Meetup to synchronize future efforts.

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    It’s likely we will repeat the experience in June before the summer holidays, and next Christmas for sure.

    – Aurelien Vabre