Over a decade ago, a few Scottish educators got together in a pub for a meetup. This spawned something that is still going to this day: the TeachMeet. I’ve been to a fair few in my time and, particularly in the early days, found them the perfect mix of camaraderie and professional learning.

Does the size of the event matter? I think it probably does. While you can absolutely learn a lot at much larger events that carefully curated such as MoodleMoots, there’s nothing like events of fewer than one hundred people getting together. If it’s less than fifty, even better.

I’ve been reminded of this thanks to a post on ‘tiny conferences’ that I found via Hacker News:

I find that I get so much more value and enjoyment from conferences with less than 30 people than I do from most of the 200+ attendee conferences I’ve been to. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent, well-run, “real” business conferences with plenty value.

But if I compare and evaluate them based on this criteria: “Did I get what I wanted out of this trip?” … “Will my business benefit because I went?” … “Did I have fun and enjoy my time there?” … “Would I go again?”, then I choose Tiny Confs every time.

The author of the post gives eight pointers for running a successful ‘Tiny Conf’:

  1. Keep it 'tiny'
  2. Make it application and invite-only
  3. Pick a fun location with an activity
  4. 'Sessions' not 'talks'
  5. Plan everything in advance
  6. Manage the money
  7. Keep in touch before, during and after the trip
  8. You do you!
There's some solid advice in there. It actually reminded me of the MountainMoot I went to earlier this year, which ticked all of these boxes. It was a great event, and one that I'll remember for a long time!

At this time of political upheaval and social media burnout, it might be nice to even call this kind of thing a ‘retreat’? I’d certainly be attracted to go something like that.

Source: Brian Casel

Update: Thanks to Mags Amond who mentioned CongRegation which looks excellent!