Making Event Descriptions Welcoming
A checklist! Welcome your attendees before they even attend.
Who should read this article?
You’ll probably like this article if you are:
- An event organizer who wants your events to be more welcoming and inclusive of people.
- An event attendee who wants to help support an event you enjoy (because you can suggest text edits like these!)
Why do people hesitate to attend?
Many people hesitate to attend events (probably you too sometimes!). I’ve heard people say things like:
🚗 “I hate parking in the city so I almost didn’t come — I’m glad you all put parking instructions!”
😒 “The last meetup I went to said it was a very community event, but it was entirely advertising for the company that hosted it - bleh!”
🐣 “Since I’m newer, I’m always hesitant to join groups like this. I’m glad you said new people were welcome!”
🤷🏻 “I really had no idea what we would do at this event. I even read the event description several times!”
👴🏻 “The last meetup I went to was all older white men - you can imagine that’s uncomfortable for me! I was so glad to see last event’s photos.”
You might not have even heard things like this yourself — but that doesn’t mean people aren’t saying/thinking them! To hear, you’d have to ask people directly AND have high enough trust with them to hear things like this. Fortunately, the more you listen and try to be inclusive, the more likely you are to hear these things - a virtuous cycle.
Lot of questions to answer!
When someone is considering coming to your event, they have a lot of questions! The more you can answer upfront, the more likely each person is to come.
Do a self-check: how many of these are covered in your last event description? This will be your Welcomingness Score.
Example event description
Here is one we used for a Product and Pastries event. I’m pretty proud of this event description we wrote together — some attendees even spontaneously complimented it!
Product and Pastries - Meet & Greet Social @ La Cosecha (near Union Market)
Who is this meetup group for?
🧑🤝🧑🧑🤝🧑 We’re a Community. Our attendees feel like they’re a part of the group. This group is not run by a company — it is run by a group of individual community members.
📈🔍 Of Product Managers and Product Designers. Or for people who work with them, or want to become one.
🐣🐓 At Any Level. Whether you’re aspiring, newer, or more experienced.
We invite anyone working on product development, especially product designers and product managers. You may already be working in one of these roles, or you might be interested in learning more about these roles — either way, you’re welcome!
What do we do at these events?
💬 Discussion. Many attendees come with questions, ideas, or strategies to discuss.
🕸️ Networking. Many people come to meet people, that’s enough reason on its own.
🏻 Support. Many of our attendees in the past have also found mentors, mentees, and peer-support. We encourage it!
Many people come with questions, ideas or strategies to discuss — and many others just come to meet people! Many of our attendees in the past have also found mentors, mentees, and peer-support friends — and we encourage attendees to form relationships like these.
What happened to Design and Donuts?
With our post-pandy reboot, we are trying out an event that invites both product designers AND product managers — “Product and Pastries”. There is so much overlapping interest with these two groups. We also noticed a need in the DC area for a community-led group for product managers, and we’re happy to pull them into this group. Yay product development!
What is La Cosecha?
La Cosecha is a food court by Union Market. We’ll provide some donuts, and you can also buy food, snacks, and drinks in the food court. The arepas are great!
Join us on Slack!
We chat on DC Tech Slack in the channel #product-and-pastries.
Interested in Volunteering/Organizing?
Interested in helping with these events? We’d love to have you! The more support we have, the more we can (sustainably!) do!!
Join us on DC Tech Slack in #product-and-pastries-volunteers-and-organizers
Could this be too long?
Some people don’t want all this.
Some people don’t want to read that much, true!
The reader can decide if they want to read it all or not — some people definitely will, and some people definitely won’t.
For everyone’s sake, you do want to make sure it’s easy to skim! Headers, bold text, and most important info at the top.
Some people do want all this.
Many people DO want to read all this!
Many people hesitate to go to events like yours due to all sorts of things — fear of parking, uncertainty about what the event is all about, not sure if it’s for them, etc.
By sharing this much context upfront, you signal to these people what your group is about. And by being so upfront, that is itself very welcoming!
Learning from your members.
You are lucky — you have this “cheat sheet” to help you become more welcoming much earlier, without years of learning. It can take a long time for community group leaders to learn all of this organically. If ever.
You might want to learn directly from your members what would help them feel more welcome. Ask newer members what it was like for them joining. Ask them what made the group more welcoming vs less welcoming. Ask them what we could do to make things better. Better yet, offer for them to be directly involved in making it better!
Some tips for improving your “Welcomingness Score”.
- Create a new google doc and copy-paste the last event’s text
- Go through and score it based on the checklist above
- Edit until your score has increased! It’s okay to just increase it — it’s hard to get 100% here.
I hope this checklist inspires you to make your event descriptions better! 🎉