Things are already in the works for my next meetup. In the Lagos meetup summary post, I announced that our next meetup will be held in Washington DC. That's changing. *see end of post* Now for my lessons from Lagos... I honestly did not intend for the Lagos meetup to be in sequels but since I'm so overjoyed by it all, I'll let it happen. In the midst of joyful feeling though, we often forget to take note of the takeaways and everything we could improve on to make that joy more long-lasting than temporary.
So as I look on the smile across the faces of our attendees, I cannot help but think of how the Memkoh brand will continue this promise.
In no particular order, The Memkoh Meetup: The Lagos Edition taught me:
- The power of word-of-mouth : Forget this internet madness where we sit on the train and post a picture that gets millions of likes in seconds, yet we cannot interact or merely say hi to the person in the next seat. Word of mouth as I got to learn is very much important in running a business or promoting a product. Putting up a number for my guests to contact me to confirm event details was the single most powerful tool as I discussed earlier in Planning the Memkoh Meetup Lagos.
- Preparation : There are multiple forms of preparing for an event. There's the kind where you reach into your mental space and pull out everything you've ever dreamed of happening at your event and there's the carefully written out kind of planning. Whatever form you decide to choose, make sure it works for you and just you. The event is yours and no one else's. You should be able to defend it all at the end of the day - from the successes to the mistakes.
- Have Gifts for your Attendees : I forgot to mention this in the meetup recap, but there were surprisingly more guys than girls. I'm not sure if my co-host, Henry knew this would happen, but I was genuinely surprised and happy at the same time. In addition to the complimentary drinks our guests received, I was able to make African print choker necklaces for the ladies (email firstname.lastname@example.org to order). The guys got nothing extra, sadly. So when it comes down to giving your guests gifts, try to come up with gift ideas that are unisex or get a head count way ahead of time if you decide to take the hand-making route. Also invest in pretty gift wrapping.
- Host your event with someone : Not just anybody, but a similar-minded person that shares your ideals and is as motivated or even more motivated than you are. My second meetup in New York was co-hosted with Aniekeme of TFLA and my last one in Lagos was co-hosted with Henry of FashDiaries. How you find your co-hosts doesn't matter. All that matters is your genuine desire to work with them. And don't be in the habit of using people. Some of us can sniff that out. Be genuine. It pays more than you will ever know!
- Let it Flow : When your event is on, just let it flow. Allow your nerves to relax or grab a drink/water whenever you feel antsy. Focus on taking in the moments you have to spend with the amazing people before you. Don't be in a rush to talk most of the time. Give your audience ample opportunity to do the talking and you'll see they will eventually get curious about what you have to say. For example, I jokingly dodged the Style Snapshot segment where we gave a brief description of our style. The next time we revisited it when more people came, my audience suddenly turned to me to speak. I thought they had forgotten. Let everything inside of you totally receive everybody seated before you. They have unique experiences too.
One bonus tip is "Fish out the quiet one". There is always that quiet / shy person or someone who's just a great listener. What I've noticed about these people is that they have a wealth of knowledge to share if deliberately given the opportunity / grounds to speak. As an event host, fish out that person and make them talk once in a while. It's easy to ignore these people just because they don't talk much. But you'll be glad you didn't.
Oh another tip is to get everyone's email at the beginning of the event. I didn't want to have a corny sign-in sheet so it won't feel like we're taking roll in school, but you can get creative with your sign-in sheet or use your tablet (preferred). It's the single reason I haven't been able to get all the pictures each person took. Oh well...
Next Memkoh Meetup location: We will be heading to The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Tentative dates are February 5/6 2016. Please fill this form to suggest a better time and day to meet. If you're absolutely in no matter what, leave your email here and I'll be in touch with details.