Positive Suggestions

* Give everyone a name badge and also (perhaps) a badge that says the thing that they are most passionate about (e.g. engagement, aviation, biodiversity, social justice, energy saving, food)

* Before having speakers, get everone to turn to the person behind them (they probably know the person next to them) and just talk for thirty seconds about why they came, what they want out of it. This ice-breaker will mean that people become more willing to talk in bigger groups, so these groups are not so easily dominated by the confident old white males.

* This will make the break in the middle more useful to people who cannot stick around till after the event ends (which is usually long after its scheduled end!)

* Explain your three letter acronyms. Better yet, don’t use them.

* If it’s not a workshop, don’t call it that.

* Never put people’s names on feedback sheets, unless you are only collecting feedback to be able to put favourable quotes in your next glossy annual report. If you want the truth, you hand out anonymous feedback forms. And if you have guts, you publish all the (non-libellous) feedback you get.

* Never ever EVER EVER point to the twenty-five people or so there at the end, who are mingling, as an example of a successful networking event. Or at least, never do it within earshot of a MCFly staffer. That twenty five DOES NOT include
– people have long way to travel
– people who have kids and babysitter drumming their fingers
– people for whom it was a school night and they had to get up early to work (like me)
– people scared of late night public transport (gendered, much?!)
– people put off by the Q and A nastiness and lack of interactivity earlier

* Read about the Peak-End cognitive bias  and therefore engineer things to end on a high (e.g avoid contentious issues and the subsequent Q and A as the last item)

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