Moderator Checklist for Event Set-up and Moderation — March 5, 2015
WELCOME to the CNY Conversation Corps — our community of practitioners who enjoy and benefit from orchestrating great talk among our fellow New Yorkers. Together, we’ve learned a few things about assuring the success of our meetups, which you may want to consider in planning your conversation.
- Check out the venue * before scheduling to assure adequate space, hours of operation, configuration of tables, heat/cooling, noise level, etc. Also, determine that no other CNY or Meetup events have been prescheduled at the same location.
- Specify start and end times on your event notices. Note the closest subway, bus stops and cross streets (as well as street address — e.g., not just 429 Fourth Ave., but 429 4th Ave., second floor, bet. 8th and 9th Streets) to make location easy to find. Specify if there are any food or beverage minimums or other charges. Provide RSVP information so you may determine number of chairs and tables needed.
- Consider making available phone numbers for moderator and participants in the event of unforeseen changes close to event time.
- Arrive at least 15 minutes before your event’s start-time. Providing a brightly-colored “Conversations New York” tent-card can help newcomers find you.
- Obtain permission to move tables and chairs, where applicable. The best configuration of tables is as circular as possible, followed by a square. (Long narrow seating makes it harder for people to see and hear one another.)
- Provide name badges or tent-cards and a thick black marking pen so that attendees can identify one another by first name across the table.
- Distributing a 1–page print-out of the Conversation announcement, perhaps with a few starter questions, is very helpful to assure that everyone starts “on the same page.” Stress the importance of staying on topic.
- Upon conclusion of the event, replace the tables and chairs to their original position and clean up before leaving.
- What to do if problems arise (TO BE DEVELOPED)
* We have found numerous venues throughout the city which accommodate conversations, including the upstairs rooms of self-service and fast-food restaurants such as Bread and Butter, Le Pain Quotidian, and Panera Bread; back rooms of restaurants and bars such as TGIF and the Statler Grill; and in good weather, outdoor venues such as Bryant Park.
Especially serviceable have been the many Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS): chiefly, the atriums of major corporate business buildings such as Citicorp, IBM, and SONY, as listed in the following sites:
- Website lists by location but also lets you search by various
categories – neighborhood, seating, food service, climate control, etc..
- Official NYC site. OK but not as user friendly
- Wikipedia listing