- Find a speaker: although not essential, a good speaker can increase the number of people attending your meeting. If you have funding for your meeting, you can of course pay someone's expenses to come to your meeting from further away, but remember there are likely to be good, enthusiastic speakers in your own area. It's also worth looking at speakers in related fields (sexual health, welfare rights etc).
- Have a topic: not every cafe event will have a single topic, but this does help focus everyone's attention. You could have the topic follow on from the speakers you have or from things happening in the local area (an example would have been Glasgow and the 2010 Anthrax outbreak).
- Food and Drink: if you've been lucky enough to get some funding consider supplying some food to people, the most attended cafes we've seen have been the ones where people know they'll get something to eat.
- Prepare beforehand: as lovely as it is for a group of folk to just meet up in a cafe (or pub) and chat, if you can prepare first you're more likely to get things done. There are also a number of great online meeting planning sites like 'The Meeting Minutes'.
- Follow up: after your meeting come back here and write up a report in the Virtual Cafe. This will help people who attended the meeting remember what was discussed (get them to add to the report, after all there are going to be lots of conversations happening at any event). It may also help others to prepare for their meeting.
- Book the next meeting: add the next event here on the site as soon as you can to maintain momentum.
- Keep in touch with people: did people have action points from your meeting?
Have you got other tips on how to have a successful meeting? If so, let us know.