Planning your first meeting

So now I had a group of people and a few of them had introduced themselves. The next step was to get them all together in person and choose a course. I sweated the details on this step. I wanted to accomplish the following things:

  • Find a place and time where we could meet, introduce ourselves in person, and choose a course
  • Have an idea of an ongoing meeting place
  • Gather a list of possible courses that we could choose from together

Finding a place and time for the first meeting

Finding a place

Finding a place to meet is key to your ongoing OCC, so it’s good to start reaching out to venues early on, even for this first meeting.

I started with my local library, where there are meeting rooms that any resident can reserve. I made contact early on, and described my idea. They were really supportive, though the rooms were pretty well booked up, and I had to wait for a slot.

If your library doesn’t have meeting rooms, you could try co-working spaces ($$), community centers, places of worship (I used one once for $20), or even hotels that have meeting rooms (but can be pricier). Of course finding ongoing meeting space — assuming you’re going to be meeting in person — is key, so allow for some time and effort. You may even need to move around a bit; we did at first.

Finding a time and filtering down

To find a time when most of us could meet the first time, I used a Doodle poll, and we finally found a time when twelve of us could make it. In the end, only six people showed up! So don’t be shocked if that happens to you. Six was a great manageable number of people to start with when introducing ourselves and choosing a course. So I’d suggest casting a wide net at first, and expect it to filter down to the smaller number of people who really get on board.