This content was originally published Kyan’s blog at http://kyan.com/blog/2011/2/9/smaller-more-focused-events, but is no longer available at that location. Reproduced here with permission.

Smaller, more focused events

Last week I attended the inaugural Heart and Sole conference in Portsmouth. It was a fairly small conference at 150 people, but I thought it really showed the benefits of having a fairly tight focus on what you want to achieve when putting on an event.

Heart & Sole was initially conceived as a networking night for students and web professions on the south coast of the UK. Students would be able to get advice from professionals on how to get into the industry and agencies would be able to meet motivated people who would actively looking for jobs in the next year or two. This premise not only served as a base for the ensuing event but informed the choices that were made during the planning process. The final event ended up a fair bit bigger that originally planned and in a far more dramatic location (not having been in the Spinnaker Tower before I was somewhat taken aback), but the idea of a network event for students and professionals was still core and this made it unlike any other conference or event I’d been to. I know that the organisers are beginning to plan a second event with a similar focus, and I really hope it takes off for them.

From Kyan’s point of view we also host an event: Web Meet Guildford. Again, this started with a simple idea: ‘a dialogue between local web and design agencies would be a good thing’. Our event is a lot smaller than Heart & Sole but so far we’ve had two successful nights and made a lot of friends in the process. We’ll keep growing the event to include any new people who want to come along and we’ve got some plans for some more structured activities than mass beer consumption (don’t worry!), but at the heart the event will keep the same core goal.

If nothing else the small focused approach should convince a lot more people that it’s feasible to host your own event, and that’s got to benefit everyone.