“Open Mic Night” Saves the Day After No-Show SpeakerIn short: What do you do when your speaker bails at the last minute? Think of something quick, but don't cancel!Last Wednesday, I organized a meetup to bring together marketing enthusiasts in the Ottawa and invited a special guest speaker from across the borders to join us and talk about Google+ Marketing. Short story: an unexpected event happened and got word at 2PM (4 hours before the event) that he wouldn't be able to make it. I was stumped. I didn't know what to do. I thought, this is the worst thing that could happen right now.I first thought about what people would say if I cancelled the event because our speaker won't be making an appearance. Then I thought; what if we told the people that our speaker is not coming, but change up the format and still hold the event? I thought, the worst thing I could do is to cancel the event after 64 people had confirmed their attendance. So I knew what I needed to do.I received the message at work and got a few Pathers to help me brainstorm ideas to fix this problem, and to still deliver an exceptional show to those who've been waiting weeks for this to take place. There are two concepts that i think really worked. Most, if not all, of those who showed up, stayed from the beginning, right to till the end. I was, more than shockingly surprised and happy.A message was sent out to the group letting them know about the cancellation of our speaker. Still, we got a decent showing of ~30 people. After the message was sent, replies were coming in and many still wanted to meet. So I was glad only a select few bailed last minute.On to the two ideas:
- "Open Mic Night" – this idea came from one of my colleagues, Mike Prouty.
- Questions, Answers and Discussions – this came up on the spot at the event
As simple as it sounds, one the key objectives of our group is fostering knowledge sharing. I feel like both of these accomplished that, and it worked out well enough that the audience was engaged and participated in the discussions.
Open Mic Night – this idea is all about giving members an opportunity to get into the spotlight and share a project that they're working on. The topic had to be on something related to Internet Marketing (SEO, SEM, Web Analytics, UX, etc.). Each participant had 10 minutes to talk about their project, with a few Q&A at the end.
Questions, Answers and Discussions – to fill the gap where if nobody was brave enough to take the stage, I asked whether anyone had any questions about their website or anything related to Internet Marketing. Immediately, a few hands shot up and the questions and answers got into motion.
At The Ottawa Web Marketing group (free event), we take privilege to those who volunteer their time and assemble a presentation and share it with the group. We hope to continue down this path, and that our group continues its growth into 2013. If you're an avid or enthusiastic marketer, I invite you out to our next event to check us out! Come join the fun!
Has this situation ever happen you? What have you done to keep your event live and entertaining?
August 19, 2012 / Jackson Lo / 0