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Discussion on: Hello! I've been running developer events and building communities since 2012. Bring it on and #AMA !! <3

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Tessa Mero Ask Me Anything

Hi Andrew,

This is a very important question and I have my own process that has been working very effectively. I will write it as a list:

  1. I always have 2 speakers per meetup, in case 1 cancels, which life happens. There's only been one rare moment when both speakers cancelled. Also, for speakers to do their slides/talk very last minute is an expectation. Even when my slides are done, it never feels done and I will update it and work on it until the minute I have to present it.

  2. When I'm lacking speakers, I send an email out to the group looking for anyone interested.

  3. During each meetup, I will ask about anyone interested in speaking.

  4. During meetups, I will talk to attendees and offer them to speak at upcoming meetups.

  5. I will meet other people from other meetups or tech groups/events in my city and invite them to speak at my meetup.

  6. I'll ask social media if anyone from my city is interested in presenting.

  7. I'll invite known speakers (developer advocates or people who have companies that will support their travel) to travel to my city to present at my meetup

  8. If I have a food sponsor, I will invite/offer a speaking slot.

Now, what if you have tried this all and unable to get ANY speakers for, let's say, February 2020? Here's some options of what I do:

  1. Skip a month and take a break, so you don't burn out quickly.

  2. Have your meetup anyways and turn it into a round table. Create a topic or a set of topics to discuss.

  3. Throw a developer networking event. (big win if you find a sponsor to cover food/beverage costs)

  4. Put together a breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetup (people pay for themselves so it costs nothing of course).

  5. Turn your meetup into a Hack Day, where you get together at a coffee shop and work on personal projects together.

Once I ran my vue.js meetup where I had 2 speakers. One wasn't able to come, and one canceled a few hours before the meetup. I hosted the meetup anyways and turned it into an open discussion where we talked about why we choose Vue.js over other frameworks. Then the conversation organically evolved into other fun topics related to Vue.

Always have a backup plan and be prepared. You don't always have to have 2 speakers every single month forever. Be creative.

Hope this helps. If you have any more questions or want me to elaborate on any comment I made, please feel free to ask!