Coworking Night - An Event Organizer’s Guide

This guide is intended to help you, a new event organizer, get situated with hosting events at Coworking Night.  Note that this guide is currently under contstruction as we move to our new location at Real Estate Row.

But First: What is Coworking Night?

Coworking Night is a free community events platform for creative professionals. We meet every Wednesday night from 6-11pm at the Real Estate Row building (1806 University Drive NW). Professionals of any age or background are welcome to join us.

Each Coworking Night, we feature a range of sub-events hosted by community leaders and collaborators. You're welcome to attend these events, or work solo, or bring your cofounders/colleagues/friends and do your own thing. So long as you're respectful of the space, Coworking Night is whatever you want to make of it.

We're very grateful to Real Estate Row for providing us their space.

Photos of Coworking Night and the Real Estate Row space: https://www.facebook.com/groups/openhuntsville/photos/

Who Organizes Coworking Night, and How Did Coworking Night Start?

Coworking Night began in April of 2015 when Chris Beaman and Larry Mason co-founded what was then called Code for Huntsville. After their kickoff meeting, AL.com granted Code for Huntsville permission to host weekly “Hack Nights” on Wednesdays at their office. For its first few months, Hack Night remained a community group intended for programmers.

In August of 2015, Chris and friends launched a website called Open Huntsville. At the time, Hack Night was fizzling out, and so Chris’ organization Open Huntsville took over Hack Night, renamed it Coworking Night, and began inviting all types of creative professionals to attend.

In September of 2015, Chris invited Noah Huber-Feely to help co-organize Coworking Night, and the two became Coworking Night’s main facilitators. After several iterations and changes, Coworking Night began picking up steam again. It re-engaged its former base and drew a bunch of new members. In January of 2017, Coworking Night moved to a new location at Real Estate Row.  Today, it is more popular and active than it’s ever been.

Today’s Admins:

     Chris Beaman

     Noah Huber-Feely

     Michael Carroll

What’s the Routine at Coworking Night?

     4:30pm

     Noah arrives at Real Estate Row.

     Noah retrieves the TV out of the Apollo Room.

     Noah sets up his spare computer with an attendee list accessible.

     Noah connects his computer to the TV and serves the flyer for the night.

     5-5:30pm

     Chris arrives at Real Estate Row.

     Chris sets up the Coworking Night sign on the front doorstep.

     Chris does a sweep of the Real Estate Row space to get a sense of any food or beverage items that may have been left out by Real Estate Row employees and puts them away so that Coworking Night guests don’t get confused and consume them.

     5:30-6pm

     Guests arrive and meet-and-greet in the foyer area.

     Chris and Noah meet and greet guests.

     6-7pm

     If there is a featured speaker for the night, Chris or Noah heads to the Rear Pitch Area to get them set up.

     6-8pm

     Either Chris or Noah stays downstairs by the door to watch for incoming guests.

     7-10pm

     Event Organizers facilitate their respective groups.

     8pm

     Chris or Noah (whomever is watching the door) puts a Post-It Note on the door with either of their phone numbers and relieves themselves of door duty.

     10pm

     Chris does a sweep of the Real Estate Row space and pushes all chairs back into place, picks up all trash, erases all whitebaords, and otherwise returns the Real Estate Row space to how it was when we arrived.

     11pm

     The lights at Real Estate Row automatically turn off.

     Chris kicks everyone out.

 

How are Events at Coworking Night Organized?

1.    Events are created and conference rooms are reserved via Facebook. Events are created by their Organizers, not by Coworking Night Admins. Unless a group has a long-standing reservation for a particular room (for example, the Write Your Masterpiece group has a long-standing reservation for the Apollo room from 6-8pm every Wednesday), conference rooms are accessible on a first-come-first-serve basis.

2.    When an Event Organizer is scheduled to facilitate their first-ever event, typically Chris or another Admin creates their event for them. The reason for this is that Facebook grants Admins the option to select a checkbox that says “Invite all members of Coworking Night” when creating an event. Doing so invites all 400+ members of the Facebook group to the event, thereby serving each of these members a notification. The resulting RSVPs via the “Interested” and “Yes” buttons provide a good temperature gauge for the event organizer to understand who might be interested in their event should it become a recurring event.

3.    After an Event Organizer’s first event, the responsibility to create events and invite members is left to the Event Organizer. Each week, a Coworking Night Admin may check in with recurring Event Organizers to ensure that an event is planned. It is recommended that Event Organizers become Facebook friends with or otherwise contact/collect contact information from attendees who expressed “Interested” or “Yes” at their first event so that Event Organizers can re-invite these attendees to their following events.

Here’s how to create a Facebook event

  • Go to Coworking Night group www.facebook.com/groups/openhuntsville/events
  • Add Event Photo, Event Name, Location & Room, Date, Time, & Description(Check to ensure the room & time are available)
  • Select the Invite your friends in Coworking Night checkbox
  • Create Event
  • Edit the Event
  • A box will appear to add Co-hosts 
  • Add Chris Beaman as a Co-host
  •  Invite others who were interested / going from previous events that you organized

4.    These tips will help you have successful events.

  • Invite friends & contacts through social media & word of mouth
  • During the event, keep attendees engaged by communicating ideas & thoughts
  • Take notes for future event topics
  • At the end of the event, pass out your business cards or contact information
  • Collect email addresses of attendees
  • Follow up with attendees after event by email or social media
  • And just Have Fun!

How Can I See Which Rooms Are Available?

There are several ways to see which rooms are available at a given Coworking Night.

1.    The Coworking Night Events page on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/openhuntsville/events

2.    The Schedule/Flyer on the Coworking Night website:
http://coworkingnight.org/#/flyer-list

3.    Here’s more information on the rooms & the equipment available for each room

Big Spring Room (located upstairs)
Max capacity: 20-30
Equipment available

  • Large screen
  • Projector
  • Whiteboard

Space Station (rear pitch area: located downstairs)
Max capacity: 75
Equipment available

  • Large screen
  • Projector
  • Whiteboard

The Vault (located upstairs)
Max capacity: 14
Equipment available

  •  TV (no projector)

How Can New Event Organizers Get Set Up at Coworking Night?

Individuals who wish to organize a new event at Coworking Night need only ask the Admins: Chris, Noah, or Michael. Chris will likely help a new Event Organizer get set up.

Whether or not an individual can host an event at Coworking Night is discretionary, per the admins. We allow most events, but do not allow some. Examples of events we do not allow include:

     Events where products are being sold

     Events where information is being delivered in a one-way format, without questions or collaboration

     Events that are strictly for business development purposes

     Events that offend or put off our members

     Events that are excessively loud

 

Other Random Things To Know

     There is only free food available at Coworking Night when a guest chooses to provide it.

     No one has ever made any money from organizing Coworking Night.

     Chris wishes that other people would volunteer to help facilitate Coworking Night.

     Chris is in the process of incorporating a nonprofit to manage Coworking Night.

     Hack Night/Coworking Night was founded on April 17, 2015.

     Noah drives 1 hour and 45 minutes from Tennessee to open Coworking Night every Wednesday.

     Michael Carroll and Drew McDowell built Coworking Night’s website.

     There is an overhead/ceiling PA system that only Chris knows how to access.

     There is a way to turn the lights on at Real Estate Row after they’ve all turned off.

     Restrooms are located upstairs immediately to your right after you arrive upstairs.

     Clean up after you host your event.  Put dry erase markers back, throw trash away, etc.

     Inform others at networking events & through your contacts about Coworking Night.  Help spread the word.