Atlanta Business Connection Message Board Archived Discussion › Here's Some Feedback for Future ABP Meet-ups

Here's Some Feedback for Future ABP Meet-ups

A former member
Post #: 1
Team ABPs, based on my experience from last night, I'd like to proffer some feedback that might improve our meet-ups.

1. Meet-up signs should be placed on certain tables so participants know who is linked to our group and who is not. If the organizer cannot be present and on-time, then one of the assistant organizers should stand in and encourage introductions (and promote ABP, etc).

2. We need roomy accomodations that make networking easy. Kat's had great service and appetizers but the small bar and two-person tables limited the interaction of more than 2 people at a time. The music was good (old school) but loud.

3. We don't need a written agenda but we need to give people a reason to leave their jobs or homes and travel downtown to participate in our group. Maybe we can canvas the group and ask for feedback on what is wanted out of our monthly meetings. Perhaps a conference call would allow ABPs to feed the organizer some ideas here. Let's not complain but be part of the solution.

4. Each meet-up should have one table reserved for business collateral. Participants should feel free to shamelessly promote their business.

5. We need an attendance list at every meetup where people can record their name, business, email, and telephone number. This will enable us to establish a communication chain. There might be opportunities to partner if people are comfortable with this list being published.

In short, we need to give people a reason to show up. It means nothing if we're a large group but no one is getting much out of it. And since talk is cheap, I am willing to offer my time and ideas to make this group succeed. Antonio, feel free to call or email me.
A former member
Post #: 29
I think a written agenda is great idea. The organizer of the Atlanta Web Entrepreneur Meet Up Group, Mike puts his agenda on the message board a few weeks prior to the meeting and has the members discuss it and make suggestions.

§ § §

Also, when I was in college, I was an executive board member of our chapter's National Society of Black Engineers. We recorded meeting minutes and compiled 'chapter development packet' or CDP. The CDP contained meeting photos, business cards, meeting minutes, and brochures from corporate sponsors and theme speakers. With Meetup.com the entire packet can be recorded here, without paper.

§ § §

Question. Would it to be to much of financial stretch to have the meetings in a small hotel conference room? Doing this gives the organizer 100% control over basic environmental influences (i.e. music, attention, table and chair arrangement, projectors, food, length of time, etc). If the members wish to get additional food and drinks then the hotel bar will be available to them after the meeting.

§ § §

Institute a cover charge. This weeds out the unproductive ones and the lonely stragglers that can't afford Match.com . Serious professionals don't mind a cover charge, because they know it is a mere investment for access to premium leads.

§ § §

One more thing. You can create a photo album in Meetup and call it 'business cards'. Have members e-mail scanned copies of their business cards to be posted in said album.
A former member
Post #: 2
Awesome ideas! What do other people think about a small cover charge?
A former member
Post #: 9
Most, if not all, of the ideas suggested are great. I'm in favor of having some sort of structure to an event I am attending. Even limiting the amount of time at the event is a good idea. I attended a networking session last night. The organizers set the time from
6-8 p.m. Knowing that there was a limited time to make connections, I made it a point to circulate more. In that time period I made seven solid contacts. One of which was a photographer. He took photos of me and several others that I was talking with. We will be in an upcoming edition of a local weekly newspaper. I am, however, less inclined to institute a cover charge.
Pierre D.
user 4852863
New York, NY
Post #: 25
If people don't come out to meetings it won't matter what you do. I question why people RSVP and then don't show up. The reality is that this could be a great group but what is the focus? If people are not going to contribute to the group get rid of them. A smaller, more focused group is better than a large group full of dead weight. I have a group that I organize and it's about finding ways to tackle problems that business owners have and help professionals get ahead.

I came to the function at 8:30 and was able to meet a few people. But the first thing I noticed was how loud it was. I spoke with Antonio and he was very nice, but I have no voice today because I was yelling last night. Let's be real, networking is about more than giving out a business card and a wet handshake. It's about building relationships and using them for mutual benefits. It's about helping people even if you get nothing out of it but the satisfaction of helping someone achieve a goal. This group can be that way. Let's just move forward as PROFESSIONALS.
A former member
Post #: 32
A good friend of mine who organizes the Houston Black Professional Meetup Group gave me an understanding of the current situation here. This group is in rehab. The last organizer totally cluster-F'd this group before he left. I remember driving all the way from Norcross, to my very first ABP meetup in March this year, only to find a vacant Edgewood Avenue cafe, a locked door, no note, and five attendees who had the same deer-in-headlights expression I had.

There are 2000 registered members, and my guess is most of them feel let down from that moron of an organizer that dropped off the face of the planet with no explanation. I think people have found homes with other groups. I know two people from this group that have started their own meetup groups.

This group can make a comeback and it starts right here at the message boards. The key to message board growth is the A.P.E. formula.

Amuse Them
Piss Them Off
Educate Them

People love to laugh. People love to get mad. And people love to learn. Stick with the A.P.E. formula and people will keep coming back for more.

It will take some time for the veterans to come back around.
A former member
Post #: 8
I have to admit that I am one of the offenders who responded that I was coming and didn’t show. I had a flight out at 11 so I figured that I would have time to stop by before going to the airport, but it didn’t work out that way.

I’ve moved to GA from PA and the only person that I know here is my husband. The company that I work for is based in NJ and I work from home so I have no option of meeting people at work. I was really disappointed because the whole point of me joining this group was to get out and meet people here in ATL with whom I have things in common while getting to see the different spots to hang out (beyond the night clubs). I’m really hoping that there will be another function soon.

I think that some of the ideas are pretty good. I can say that from my perspective, I’m not really looking for networking specific functions. I’ve found the best contacts in more relaxed atmospheres where you really get the opportunity to meet folks and get to know their real personalities but I agree that it’s important to be able to hear the person that you’re talking to.

If I were going to pay to meet people solely for the purpose of exchanging business cards and shaking hands I would probably do that at a seminar. There were places in Philly (coffee houses, book stores…) where a group could meet to discuss and debate specific topics. I’m sure there are places like that here in GA. If I find any I’ll post them here. Most of these spots were free or really cheap because they made their money off of selling food and drinks (potential business idea for someone). It could be more informal then an actual seminar and someone could volunteer to be the moderator.
AntonioBlog.com
antonioblog.com
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 80
These are all great ideas and I'd like to start implementing some them soon. And yes...Juanita, I will take you up on your offer to help. smile
A former member
Post #: 61
A good friend of mine who organizes the Houston Black Professional Meetup Group gave me an understanding of the current situation here. This group is in rehab. The last organizer totally cluster-F'd this group before he left. I remember driving all the way from Norcross, to my very first ABP meetup in March this year, only to find a vacant Edgewood Avenue cafe, a locked door, no note, and five attendees who had the same deer-in-headlights expression I had.

There are 2000 registered members, and my guess is most of them feel let down from that moron of an organizer that dropped off the face of the planet with no explanation. I think people have found homes with other groups. I know two people from this group that have started their own meetup groups.

This group can make a comeback and it starts right here at the message boards. The key to message board growth is the A.P.E. formula.

Amuse Them
Piss Them Off
Educate Them

People love to laugh. People love to get mad. And people love to learn. Stick with the A.P.E. formula and people will keep coming back for more.

It will take some time for the veterans to come back around.

Okay Mr. Estelle,

Thank you for mentioning me (organizer of HBP) but I'm not sure where my advice/ perspective came in on your post above. I know I certainly don't use terms like "cluster-F'd" and sure didn't mention the A.P.E. formula. :D

All groups are different and a group does best to tap into the "culture" of the members. I would make the following suggestions:

1. Determine the purpose of the group. Is it more business or social? It can have both, but it has to lean one way or another.
2. If the group is social, become resolute about the inevitability of losing members who want structure or less noise.
3. If the group is business, I highly suggest implementing a cover charge. This will enable you to pay for space to have control over your surroundings. Be prepared to lose members that want a more social environment or are not really serious enough about the group to pay to attend events.
4. Make evident the "added value" of being a part of the group if it is business. People can mix and mingle anywhere, but there is something (or some things) that they can gain by being active in this group. What are those things.

I think that Antonio is doing a wonderful job in shaping the group. When I first took over HBP it had been through more organizers that anyone could count and most members were very unhappy. I am still learning what works best and my members have been very supportive with encouragement and constructive feedback. I am glad to see that ABP is doing the same for Antonio.

My humble two cents... :)
A former member
Post #: 38
Oh my crap!

I meant to make that two separate paragraphs.

"...current situation here.<enter><enter>This group is...."

Sorry bout that.

What I'm saying is many people (and I'm guilty of it as well) are blaming the shortcomings of the previous administration on the current administration (one too many CNN political debates!).

(Cue in orchestral 'Pomp and Circumstance')

ABP right now is going through painful detox. For years, a steady diet of the toxic substance known as, unproductive human beings, has been pumped through its veins by the syringe of bad organization. Now, alas, we have a new organizer. So, our patience is required as the toxic substance of unproductive humanity is being diffused from ABP. Stand by him as he attempts to clean the stench of empty socialism left by the last cat. Be in support of him while he injects the antidote called the Professional African-American Alliance: African Americans who judge you not by your cup size, but by the size of your heart and motivation. African-Americans who look at the shot glass as half full and not half empty. The ABP's arteries and veins can be rivers and streams of business alliances, with the blood of money and power flowing from capillary to capillary. Imagine that utopia. Meetings are called at 7:00. People show up at 7:00. The Meeting starts at 7:00. Bob meets with Sue. Bob and Sue make a ton of money. Sue tells Bob about Jim. Jim gets hired for a $60/hr position. Jim is up for a promotion a year later. He has two respected references to add to his resume. Bob, Sue, and Jim are members of the new ABP.

As you know, rehab costs money. This utopia doesn't come free. What? $5 per meeting? Perhaps $10? Maybe $15. Arguably one could say more money is spent on the abominable snowman of African-American destruction known as hip-hop. A measly 15 bucks for access to the good leads. The Caucasoids pay tons more for groups like this one. They call them rotary clubs, country clubs, and golf courses. So what do you say? Let's get ABP back on its feet.

Thank you ABP Class of 2008.
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