It’s OK

In the last couple of weeks I found out about the existence of this excellent poster which lives on the wall at the Government Digital Service.

Poster from GDS with list of things it's ok to doIt’s basically a list of things that it is absolutely OK to do, and its function is to reassure people who might be new, visiting, or just a bit shy about how to fit in.

Following the latest Local Gov Camp in Birmingham I thought it might be a nice idea to have a version for anyone who’s new to the event next time, or for unconferences in general. It’s been observed that the regular unconference-goers tend to all be good friends, with a lot of shared history and experiences (and curry and beer),  and that makes us a lively and irreverent bunch. All the feedback I’ve had so far is that it’s lovely to be in a room with people who clearly want to welcome everyone and make it a good experience, but I want to make a quick something for anyone who didn’t quite feel so confident, maybe felt a bit excluded or shy, and isn’t sure what’s ok and whats not.

So here we go. At Local Gov Camp, it’s OK to …

  • Sit down at a table and introduce yourself
  • Approach a standing group and introduce yourself
  • Ask who people are
  • Ask what people do
  • Ask where the toilets are
  • Walk to the nearest cafe for cappuccino if you don’t like instant coffee
  • Be first in line to pitch
  • Be last in line to pitch
  • Pitch two ideas at once
  • Pitch, have another idea and get back in line to pitch again
  • Switch sessions if it’s not working for you
  • Sit out a session and have coffee and talk to someone new instead
  • Sit out a session and have coffee by yourself and think
  • Call out bad behaviour
  • Point out mistakes
  • Make sure people get your name right

Did I miss anything out? Let me know, and let’s have a list ready for the next unconference!

About jargonaut

Unashamed geek lost in policy land. Frequently required to believe three impossible things before breakfast, and implement them by tea time.
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1 Response to It’s OK

  1. It’s ok to… ask for help.
    I get anxious in networking situations like this. I said that (on Twitter obvs!) and two people immediately offered support. It helped me get going and I had a brilliant weekend. Made all the difference for me.

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