Last weekend, WordPressers met at the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown Auraria Campus Hotel & Hospitality Learning Center in the Mile High City for WordCamp Denver. It was two days chock full of networking, speakers, and cider.
The organizers did a great job of adding new elements to the “typical” WordCamp format. There was a lot of audience/speaker interaction, and even more time than usual for networking.
Town Hall Sessions
Alongside sessions, WordCamp Denver also featured five Town Hall sessions. The casual format allowed attendees to comfortably ask questions to experts. Each session was centered around a specific topic and featured subject-matter experts:
- eCommerce – presented by Pippin Williamson and Caleb Burks
- Growth/Marketing – presented by Amber Hinds and Tracy Malone
- Business – presented by Miles Kailburn, Vi Wickam, and D’nelle Dowis
- Community Organizing – presented by Jeremy Green and Cami Kaos
- Development – presented by David Hayes and Jon Bellah
Each Town Hall was a unique experience that put the power in the hands of the audience and provided important insights. Allowing the entire hour to be a discussion kept attendees more involved and opened up different lines of communication.
People were able to ask questions like “how to set up a staging site,” or more specific ones like, “how can I get more people to buy my book on my site?” Both types of questions greatly benefitted anyone listening and made it feel like more of a community effort.
To break up the talks, the organizers put on a Social Sidebar Sunday morning. This was a time solely dedicated to community and making connections. While talks and sessions are a huge draw for any WordCamp attendee, a lot of important networking is actually done in the hallway before and after those sessions. This is where you meet people you’ve only talked to online, check in with your customers, and hand out business cards.
The Social Sidebar took the idea of “hallway tracks” to the next level. Two hours of Sunday morning were dedicated solely to meeting people. Various discussion hubs were scattered around the room. Each hub discussed a specific topic and there was even a business-free corner, where people could talk about anything they wanted.
It was the perfect time to meet a business partner or to make a new friend. Oftentimes it can be hard to talk to everyone you want to at a WordCamp but the Social Sidebar made sure you could get around to anyone you wanted.
It was a successful weekend and many left happy.
— Kelly Hoffman (@kellychoffman) November 5, 2016
Why did I do it? The discomfort of effort, learning, and public speaking is temporary. Learning is forever. I really enjoyed #wcdenver
— Chris Mospaw (@ChrisMospaw)
— Taylor Hansen (@tayhansenxo) November 6, 2016
://twitter.com/ChrisMospaw/status/795449860623396864″>November 7, 2016
If you attended and have any feedback, make sure to let the organizers know.