With the country on its 3rd month of quarantine, the Philippine Tech Communities moved their usual in-person talks, workshop and competitions to online channels. While many communities seem to have a hang of it by being more efficient in the online format, others are just starting. For the May 2020 Meetup of the Philippine Tech Community Leads, the session focused on sharing challenges, solutions, and tips as tech communities shift to the “new normal”.
Facilitated by Miguel Fermin of the Philippine Android Developer Community, leaders had an insightful exchange of lessons, to do’s and not to do’s in organizing online events.
Apart from the generally known challenge of online events which is the internet, as a community organizer some of the challenges mentioned are:
- Timekeeping for speakers
- Chat not being utilized for Q&A
- Participants not on mute
Based on various experiences of the communities, here are some tips in setting up your online meetup:
- Pre-record Speaker Content. This addresses internet connectivity from the speaker and you’ll also be able to share the same content with the audience should they want to re-watch.
- Schedule a Dry Run. Some recommend doing it 1 – 2 days before. This addresses familiarity with the tool and any other protocol the speaker needs to know. Speakers can also practice or strategize the presentation based on the set-up.
- Manage the floor. Organize the team to take different roles. Example one to facilitate or moderate the session, another to pick questions from the chat section, another role to ensure everyone is on mute when not speaking. This also addresses dead air during the session.
- Set session guidelines. Ensuring you follow guidelines in the session keeps everyone on the same page. Guidelines can be sent prior to the event and reminded at the start of the session.
- Follow through with updates. Just like when we do in-person events, get feedback from the audience to identify areas for improvement. Also when possible, share the content for those who didn’t make it.
While online events are no longer new, the mindset of taking the online route to continue to serve the community is challenging but fulfilling. The current how-tos may not be at its best yet but we improve as we learn more from our own experience and from our fellow community leaders.
Are there any tips you’d like to add to the list? Do share in the comments!
PH Tech Community Leads Meetup is a monthly meetup by Philippine Tech Community Leaders, a group that aims to produce and empower tech community leaders through continuous advocacy, collaboration, and education to improve the IT skills and culture in the Philippines. May 2020 Meetup is hosted by Philippine Android Developer Community with the help of Drupal Pilipinas.