NetSquared Australia and NZ meet-up on the Gold Coast

Christie Long
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A cloudless blue sky, glistening sand and crashing waves were literally right outside the door. It was a demanding task for the NetSquared Australia and New Zealand co-organisers, convening on the famous Gold Coast for the regional meet-up on 7 May.

Beach aside, the six co-organisers gathered to learn from each other and devise ways to grow and strengthen our NetSquared communities in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Wellington.

Our communities are very diverse — from the topics and speakers we host to the size and demographic of the audiences we attract. In Sydney, for example, the size of the city has so far prevented a sizeable community from gathering, while in Melbourne the community is large but only a small percentage attend meet-ups regularly.

As co-organisers, we shared these experiences and brainstormed new ideas in areas such as:
• selecting topics and speakers
• promoting meet-ups
• working with other networks in our cities
• keeping the momentum going

We also discussed ways to collaborate on meet-ups and work together as co-organisers, particularly around themes such as digital storytelling and Giving Tuesday.

We then spent the next two days at the Connecting Up 2014 conference, which brought together 300 non-profit communicators and innovators from around Australia. Many conference delegates got a one-to-one introduction to NetSquared.

We also promoted NetSquared communities by staging a friendly take-over of one of the informal conference dinners. Diners were invited to write down someone who inspired them recently – an easy icebreaker we’d typically use at one of our learning events. Even though people didn’t need much encouragement to talk, they joined in our community building exercise.

One of the positive outcomes of conference was meeting our new co-organiser for Brisbane - welcome, Andrew Pitchford!

We look forward to sharing how we are implementing our ideas from the regional meet-up and the conference in our communities.