Convening: Ideas for Social Gathering

“To feed a discussion about a potential get-together, a client recently asked me to gather some interesting event formats. After asking for pointers on Twitter, I was asked by a number of people to share my findings. I repurposed [sic] some things from the report, fished some out of my “archives”…

First are some of the “features” I look for, encourage you to consider, or would hope to produce myself if involved in getting something together, followed by some of my favorite live examples of those ideas, as well as good reads on convening and organizing.

* Small size.

* One track.

* Space to wander / organized walks or visits.

* “Speaker dinners” for everyone.

* Something more interactive than talks and panels.

* Something co-organized (à la unconference).

* Questions that aren’t comments and with time to discuss properly.

* More than yearly (depends on the exact combination of features, but some variations could be held two-three times a year).

* Ongoing exchanges between events.

* For some combinations, think of streaming and leaving proper archives to make some form of asynchronous “attending” possible.”

—Patrick Tanguay, “Convening.” Sentiers: Dispatch 5.