How-To: Community Leadership Town Hall

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How to Host a Community Leadership Town Hall

I was recently asked if I would be hosting a Community Leadership Town Hall in Tulsa again this year.  I will not be attending so I thought I would share what is needed and how to host a Community Leadership Town Hall in case there are others that would be interested in doing so.

Things you need:

  • Category Signs: Membership, Leadership, Speakers, Sponsors, Meetings, Other
  • 4x4 or 3x3 Sticky Notes, enough for everyone to write topics, questions, etc.
  • Pens, I usually have a bundle of about 20 pens
  • Color Coding Labels, i.e. dots used for voting

Room Setup

Stick up the Category signs around the room.  Be sure to allow enough room for people to walk around and look over each others shoulders.   These areas get pretty crowded during the Topic\Question and Voting sections.

Get 4 chairs that you can setup in the center of the room.  This is the fish bowl and is where the main discussions will happened once the topics are organized.  This is also a good way to keep the discussion close to microphones if you plan on recording it.

Introduction

Time: 5 Minutes

In this section of the event you want to welcome everyone and let them know how the night will go.  You can also ask if any of them are familiar with Open Space Technology events.  This is a variation of that formula.  This event is going to be only as good as what the attendees put into it, stress that and let them know they have a critical part to play in making it a success. 

Topics\Questions

Time: 10 Minutes

Let them know that you will give them 10 minutes to write down questions or topics they would like to discuss. They don’t have to lead the discussion, just have the need or knowledge to share. Tell them they will need to write down the Topic\Question\Idea on a sticky note and then stick it on the wall under the Category that if best fits into.  The things you want on the sticky notes; The topic/question and who wrote it.  This helps later when you ask them to go over it in more detail and to take a set in the fish bowl to start the discussion.

Voting

Time: 10 Minutest

During the voting each person should read over the sticky notes posted and if they feel strongly about a topic they can vote on it by putting one of their dots on it.  Once time is up have everyone return to their sets.

Tally

Time: 5 Minutes

Now you need to look over each category and find like items.  Those that are similar or have a common theme and group them together.  Once you finish that make a tally of which sticky notes have the most votes, counting similar themes as a single item.  Organize the sticky notes in order from largest number of votes to smallest.  This is now your agenda for the rest of the event.  You want to do this quickly since everyone else is sitting around waiting, help can make this go faster.

The Fish Bowl

The fish bowl is where the real discussion happens.  This is also a great way to control the amount of time spent on each topic making sure that everyone topics get a chance to be covered.  Remember the 4 chairs?  Ask the person that wrote the sticky to take a seat.  Explain the fish bowl, only those seated in a chair can comment and one chair must remain empty at all times.  Simple rules but it can make for some confusion.  This is much like Survivor, if someone new shows up (sits in the empty chair) someone must vote themselves off the island (leave their chair).  A great way to wind the discussion down and keep it on time is to pull the empty chair away every 5 minutes.  Remember one chair must remain empty, since the empty chair is gone, someone has to get up.  Continue this until there is one person and one chair left.  When they finish, they have to get up the discussion is over.

Reset the chairs and start the next topic.

Summary

This a great open format for experts and those interested in a topic to share information. The events I have hosted in Houston, Dallas, and Tulsa have not only been informative they have been a lot of fun.  You can also get a sponsor to cover food if you want to offer a meal to you attendees.  This is an attendee lead event and the more input you get from them the better the event is.  You job for hosting a Community Leadership Town Hall is well to host.  You are just there to get everyone else talking, and they will just give them the floor and see what happens.

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Nwa CodeCamp 2010 Videos Available

Shawn Weisfeld, Director of Community Activities, INETA NORAM Membership Mentor for North Texas, INETA NORAM, speaker and all around great guy was gracious enough to record several of the session at the Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp

Here are the sessions he has posted so far:

Thanks to Shawn for spending his day recording sessions, if you have never seen his setup it looks like a small mobile television studio.

Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp 2010 October 23, 2010

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Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp 2010

Connect | Learn | Teach

 FREE 1-Day Developer Conference in Springdale, AR!

Saturday October 23rd, 2010

The Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp is a yearly regional developer and technology focused event that is focused on three things Connecting, Learning and Teaching

Connect with your peers! Knowing who knows is almost as important as knowing.  Attending local and regional conferences is a great way to interact and expand your circle of influence. 

Learn, by attending topical sessions presented by national and local speakers can help you stay up to date on the mountain of new topics coming out each year.

Topics will include iPhone, Andriod, ASPNET MVC, Object Oriented Programming, Test Driven Development, Web Design, CSS, JQuery, Entity Framework, and Version Control.

Teach what you know, share your experiences with others.  Teaching and presenting is also an awesome way to learn.  By putting yourself out there and letting others hear what you have learned you gain incredible feedback and learn other approaches to the problem.

When and Where October 23, 2010 at the Tyson Corporate Headquarters located at 2210 W. Oaklawn Dr. Springdale, AR 72765.

Register online at http://nwacodecamp.com.

The Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp is organized by members of the Northwest Arkansas .Net User Group, Inc..  The Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the promotion, education and adoption of Microsoft .NET Technologies. They strive to provide an environment for professionals to network in Northwest Arkansas and foster the free exchange of ideas and information.

They hold monthly meetings with presentations that allow you to keep up to date on the latest emerging .NET technologies as well as provide practical skills you can use immediately. To find out more about the Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group visit them online at http://nwadnug.org.

Nwa CodeCamp 2010 New Site!

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Due to some hosting issues I was forced to create a new site for the Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp 2010 event.  The good news is I was able to utilize the Event Server project that a few of use have been working and had it up and going in just a few hours.  This is the same project that is currently running the Tyson Developer Conference site.  There are still a few style sheet tweaks to be made but in all the site is up and ready.

With that being said the new site is up and we have a new url: http://nwacodecamp.org and since we are using Event Server you can now register as a speaker and submit your sessions online.

Please forward this information to anyone you feel would be interested in presenting at this years event.

Also, if you or your company is interested in being a sponsor for this event please view out Sponsorship Information or contact me directly at jay@jaysmith.us.

Don’t forget the new site is http://nwacodecamp.org and mark your calendar for October 23, 2010.

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