Organizing events

If you are an R-Ladies organizer and have further tips, please submit them! If you are an R-Ladies organizer and have further questions, please ask them in an issue.

Planning events

  • Organise the year (or, say, semester) in advance. Even if you change your plan in the middle is always good to know what to expect.

  • Find speakers at least two months before the talk. Even if it is a 5 minutes talk, it will give you peace of mind and time for people to prepare their talk.

  • To find ideas for topics, have a look at other R-Ladies groups or at conference programs. Also ask your meetup members for ideas and wishes.

Launch Event

Different ideas:

  • Kickoff/Meet & Greet: Present your vision/idea for the meetup, invite others to help organise.
  • Lightning talks: Short talks of 5 minutes on a range of topics. This format usually also has a low barrier to participate.
  • Survey: Some chapters have set up an online questionnaire before their first meeting to find out what people were looking for in the meetup. Here are examples from Paris, Madrid, Tbilisi, Oslo, Los Angeles.
  • Making your group/event known: you can reach out to some other meetups in the area which might have overlapping audiences (e.g., data science meetup and R user groups) and universities (e.g., statistics departments).
  • Finding co-organisers: Some chapters have found their organising team at the launch event, others have included a question on who would be interested in organising in the initial survey.

Where to hold events?

This is a paragraph for when we all can have events in-person again.

To find a good space for your event, think of spaces you know (maybe a room at work, a room that the city lets local groups use, etc.), ask other local meetups.

Please keep accessibility in mind: can everyone access your meetup space? E.g. you don’t want to exclude people who use wheelchairs! If the space you are holding the event at does not clearly list accessibility on their website, check with them, and list the information on your event description (potential attendees should not have to ask).

If possible and relevant, finding a space where one can loan computers might help some attendees get the most out of practical sessions even when they do not own a computer.

Announce events

See event promotion.

Events RSVP

Note that some people might RSVP to an event and not attend, it’s actually quite common. You will however need to set a maximal number of participants based on the physical capabilities of the room you organize the event it, or based on the online platform you use.

Inter-chapter events

Chapters within a country or some other relevant group (e.g. a shared language) can get together to organize an event, especially online.

Examples

During events

Always remember that there is a code of conduct, remind everyone of the code of conduct at the beginning of events, and do not be afraid to use it! Minorities will feel at home if there’s someone there to guard their safe space. Sometimes it can be very intimidating to tell someone to shut up or that they are not welcome but the code of conduct actually gives you the authority to do it without being a personal issue.

Refer people to the written coc on the website, and underline that it applies to all forms of media and communication.

Make organizers easy to recognize. Introduce yourselves at the beginning, consider wearing a specific badge. This is important for participants for different requests for help and for being able to report incidents related to the code of conduct.

Snacks

If you found a sponsor willing to fund snacks for the event, that might be a great way to make it look more welcoming and promote people talking to each other. Try to cater for dietary restrictions.

What is a successful event?

A successful event does not need to have a huge turnout. Of course you want a few people to attend to make your efforts and the speaker’s efforts worthwhile, but there does not need to be dozens of participants. Also, some events, the first, or some random events, might have a lower turnout than expected and that’s ok.

Resources