Today we have put together the best tips for you on how to organise a successful WordCamp! Our friends in the WordPress community speak from experience. These people are the best in the biz and speak from experience when it comes to organising WordPress events throughout the UK. WordCamps are community led events making the experience of attending WordCamp that much richer. Less of the corporate vibes, more of the genuine love for WordPress.
I’ve actually volunteered to help organise WordCamp Manchester 2017 myself this year and I’ve never done anything like this before. With it being my first time, I’ve found the help of these amazing people invaluable. And if you are thinking of creating a community event yourself or maybe joining us at WordCamp, here are some tips I think you’ll like too.
Tips from the organisers
Visit the venue several times before the WordCamp, ideally when it is in actual use. Take note of things like lighting, air flow, noise carrying from other rooms. Is it too light? Too dark? Too stuffy? Can you hear everything from the next room? Are speakers blinded by spotlights? Can the people at the back hear a thing? Are people going to be tripping on power cords? Where do you put the wheelchairs? The prams? Take care of people’s sense of comfort first.
Venue selection was critical to the success of our WordCamp. Our venue, the Watershed, was a great venue right on the harbourside in central Bristol that was large enough to accommodate all the attendees, yet small enough that the event “felt busy”. Their catering was excellent too.
My one tip is simply identify pain points and address them sooner rather than later. Most of us work in small teams for jobs, and organisers can be a bit bigger. If you spot something going awry, it is good to address them. In my case, I made sure I was on the sponsorship team as for the first few years of helping organise WordCamp Manchester the feedback was often we could have done more for sponsors, so when I stood down from being co-lead organiser to join the sponsorship team, I made sure those concerns were addressed.
Lead organiser for WordCamp Birmingham 2018, 2015 & 2008. Head of Digital @ Wider.co.uk
Involve your local community as much as you can by visiting your local development/WordPress meet ups, it helps get people invested in the event and many hands make light work!
Make it fun. Make sure there are topics, talks & events (workshops etc.) for everyone – not everyone going will be developers, designers or bloggers. So make sure there are talks happening that suit every type of WP user.
My tip is to find and listen to as many different ideas as possible.
For WordCamp Brighton 2017, we’re trying very hard to reach a wider and more diverse audience. This means we not only get input from all our volunteers (including organisers, volunteers and speakers), but also from the wider community.
It’s been especially helpful speaking to people who’ve never been to a WordCamp, as these are the people who we haven’t managed to reach previously and need a little more convincing to attend.
We don’t have to agree with every suggestion, but we do really listen and empathise. Sometimes it can be tough to take and sometimes problems can seem too hard to solve. But by being really open to lots of different viewpoints, we hope to continue to be more and more inclusive and ultimately make a WordCamp where everyone feels welcome regardless.
All I can say is listen. Listen to people and try to put yourself in their shoes.