The WordCamp Osnabrück 2019 has shown how professional the German WordCamps have become. Thanks to the extremely good work of the German community, WordCamp participants were able to fully concentrate on the content.
At WordCamp Osnabrück we were able to gather more insights than ever before. Because two colleagues helped out in the Orga core team: Colleague Leefke in the marketing and social media team and Johannes, our founder and CEO, as organizer for the workshops (yes, there were finally workshops at a WordCamp again :)).
We can therefore report first-hand how professional the German WordCamps have become in the meantime and how the community manages to maintain the high level of previous years. Particularly noteworthy here are of course the WordCamp Retreat in Soltau and the WordCamp Cologne 2018, which was set up in record time. WordCamp Cologne 2018.
So if you've been hesitating, we can only recommend community work to you - especially, of course, the WordCamps and Meetups.
For our recap, we were of course able to gather a lot of input on the topic of community work. For this purpose, I conducted a short interview with Leefke, who was part of the marketing team and very close to the orga work.
Leefke, what exactly attracted you to the task of WordCamp-Orga?
I was already a volunteer at the WordCamp Retreat in Soltau and WordCamp Cologne 2018. This time I dared to join the core team - a decision I would definitely make again! Because in the community, you work together with professionals from the most diverse fields: From photography, web design, programming, marketing. And with community members of all ages (in our case from 26 to 54 years).
I personally benefited enormously from the ideas, skills and experience of the team. So if anyone is thinking about getting involved in the community, as a volunteer for a WordCamp or as part of an organizing team, I can only say: Have the courage, it's worth it!
And how exactly does one become a member of the Orga team?
There is usually no official application process for small WordCamps. The WordPress Foundation requires that the lead organizer applies to the Foundation with his or her desired WordCamp and then looks for appropriate co-organizers.
Since the idea for the WordCamp Osnabrück was born some years ago within the WP-Meetup Muenster/Osnabrueck, the orga-team was formed relatively quickly from the Meetup members.
Once the team is up and running, the first thing to do is to get a rough idea of the general conditions. In the first organizing meetings we decided when, where and in which format the WordCamp Muenster/Osnabrueck should take place.
Then it was time to distribute the areas of responsibility. In our team, it was relatively quickly clear who would take over which area - it is best to orient oneself according to the interests and abilities of the individual team members. However, at the beginning we were missing someone for the volunteer planning. We could have "advertised" this task externally, which was not necessary in the end because a Meetup member agreed to do it.
And what about the time involved?
If you want to help organise a WordCamp, you must of course have enough time. After all, you will have regular meetings (every two weeks at the beginning, later weekly) and various tasks in the run-up to the camp. Of course, the teams are flexible, so there is not always the same amount to do for everyone. For example, the sponsor acquisition has to start early, whereas the volunteers can be organized at relatively short notice.
At the WordCamp itself, most of the work is done. Then it's all about the finer details: setting up and taking down, filling swag bags, checking technology, training volunteers, keeping the information on the website up to date, distributing speaker gifts, helping participants find their way around, answering questions on site and via social media, taking photos and simply making sure that everyone feels comfortable. I hope we managed that 😉 .
Before we get to our top presentations, we have to say a special thanks to our session hero Matthias: Despite tearing his ligaments three times, he came to Osnabrück and presented his session "How to deal with difficult clients". But more about that later.
Spoilt for choice - our top sessions & workshops
Of course we would love to go into detail about all the workshops and sessions we attended at WordCamp Osnabrück in our recap. For reasons of space, however, we will limit ourselves here to our personal top ranking. If you are still missing a session, just write a comment on this post 🙂
>> Workshop: Health Check - Performance and Security
After a long abstinence, the workshop format finally made its comeback at WCOS 2019. At a WordCamp in the Barcamp style anyone can propose a talk and the participants then democratically vote on which topics they would like to hear and when.
Workshops, on the other hand, have the advantage that the organizing team can set thematic priorities. For example, you can offer a stage to supposed niche topics. In addition, the workshop leaders can adjust to their participants before the start of the camp and adapt their topics and the difficulty of the workshop.
The workshop that was of particular interest to us, of course, is the safety and performance workshop by Michael Hörnlimann. With the help of Webpagetest, Hacker Target and a few other tools, he shows you how to quickly create a meaningful audit of your sites .
Michael took three sites from participants and explained live what needs to be optimized in each case. You can find all the tools he used directly in his Recap of the WordCamp Osnabrück 2019. Unfortunately, there are no video recordings of the workshops themselves.
>> Session: Wireframing – More Customer Confidence and Productivity With Style
Arne Albers from Motion Media shows in his BarCamp session how to optimize your design and development workflows with sensible wireframes.
If it's done right, you can use the design drafts to promote understanding of your work among your customers and shorten feedback loops. Along the way, you'll also improve communication with your clients and build confidence in your abilities.
>> Workshop: Gamification - It all comes down to planning
The workshop "Gamification with WordPress - An introduction" by Carlos Fischer Fernández and Frank Staude (who unfortunately couldn't be there - get well soon :)) shows how to gamify your WordPress projects.
The focus here is clearly on preparation. Because without a proper concept and a clear goal in mind, says Carlos, the playful approach unfortunately doesn't really bring much.
"The most important thing in the whole WordPress gamification process is the groundwork."
In the course of the workshop, Carlos shows you which Plugins you can use and which hurdles you have to overcome during implementation. With a good concept, you can engage your users through gamification or communicate your product and service in a more playful way.
>> Sketchnotes for beginners
Leefke has fallen in love with this interactive session 😉 Because Bettina Schöbitz shows in her session "Sketchnotes for beginners" how to quickly create beautiful sketchnotes. Even if you're a complete beginner, you'll be able to master the basics after Bettina's session. And with a little practice, you might be able to create your own live sketchnotes at the next WordCamp.
Here is Bettina's session to sign up for:
>> Workshop: WordPress as a marketing machine
Stefan Kremer and Thomas Maier have taken on the topic of marketing in their workshop. Using the example of a travel blog, they show how you can trim your site SEO and content for maximum reach.
The two give input on all important topics, from keyword research to building a fan base. Of course including helpful Plugin tips. A great lecture for all of you who want to start a new project soon.
Of course we also shared our experiences and input with the community in sessions and lectures. Matthias, Johannes and I held sessions on the topics of customer communication for freelancers, PageSpeed and the idea of the 'Economy for the Common Good'.
Matthias, our Head of Product Development, has collected examples of particularly difficult clients from his twelve years as a freelancer. And he shows how you can deal with these difficult clients as a freelancer or agency.
With his tips, you can create more confidence in the acquisition and minimize or even completely avoid conflicts in the later course of the project. You can watch Matthias' extremely entertaining session here:
In my session I dedicated myself to my favorite topic: Pagespeed. Using a live analysis, I show why you should not only rely on the results of Google PageSpeed Insights and what advantage a real load time test offers you.
I'll give you a brief overview of the tool and show you how you can quickly generate reasonable readings. By the way, I have also written an e-book on this topic, which you can download it at any time at any time. You can also find the printed version in your WCOS swag bag.
In his session, our managing director Johannes presents the concept of the 'Economy for the Common Good'. He explains the background, how the concept works and, above all, how you can take the first steps with your company towards a common good certification.
The session is perfect for entrepreneurs who have always wanted to take a closer look at sustainability and the common good, but haven't had the time or opportunity to do so yet.
Since Johannes and Leefke were also directly involved in the organization of the WCOS this time and we at Raidboxes now know even better how much work is behind a WordCamp, we would like to express our special praise for the entire organization team at this point.
As a normal participant, you rarely notice how professionally the WordCamps are organized. You are happy about the seamless Wi-Fi, the delicious food and the central location of the venue. But if you get a look behind the scenes, you get a completely different view of the challenges of a WordCamp organization.
You experience first-hand the effort and stress that the organizers voluntarily put themselves through for the good of the community. And you see how cool the organizers remain despite everything.
A big thank you from the entire Raidboxes team for the excellent work at WCOS 2019! Thanks also go to all the volunteers, speakers and workshop leaders! Without your commitment, the WCOS in this form would not have been possible 🙂
If you are now interested in community work, take a look at where and when the next WordPress Meetup is taking place in your area. At meetup.com and in the community section on wordpress.org you'll find a whole range of information about community work and the Meetup landscape in Germany and Europe.