As Claire Gibbons, IWMW 2019 co-chair describes, we’re looking to introduce a new Buddy Scheme for seasoned speakers to help out first-timers in the run-up to delivering their session at IWMW 2019.

2018 Buddy Scheme

Last year, for the first time, we introduced a Buddy Scheme designed to introduce new IWMW delegates to more-seasoned IWMW attendees and active members of the HE web and digital community.

It was particularly relevant last year as we had over 50 people attend the event who had never been to a previous IWMW event.

A call out was placed on the HE Digital Slack channel for seasoned IWMW-ers to get involved and all of the first-timers were emailed with an invitation to be matched to a Buddy.

The response was great and we had 16 first-timers take advantage of the scheme with eight previous attendees getting involved as their Buddies.

The Buddy pairs were encouraged to make contact before the event, meet up at the start of the event in York and then remain in contact in whatever way was most suitable for them. The aim was for the scheme to be flexible and to encourage the Buddy pairs to agree any next steps between themselves.

Feedback on the scheme

Following the event at York I contacted all of those involved to gain some feedback to help us build on the Buddy Scheme for 2019, with the aim of developing it further with a specific strand for new speakers.

Feedback was generally positive with some useful tips for this time:

I liked that the welcome email gave us some specific actions to do. I rang my buddy the week before, and we met up for a coffee on the morning of the conference.

I found it useful to have a quick phone call with my Buddy beforehand, we then followed each other on twitter and caught up at registration.

“Maybe a defined time and place in the schedule for a pre-conference buddy meetup?

In the welcoming email, I think listing the many ways people might initiate contact is a little off-putting. You can trust people to find their own way to communicate (or not) and you can’t cover everything anyway.

What next for 2019?

We will be running the scheme again with a few tweaks and are on the lookout for seasoned IWMWers to be Buddies to those new to the event and/or the sector.

As ever, we are encouraging new speakers to take part and would like to encourage those who have spoken before, or run workshops etc, to be part of the scheme and work with new speakers in the run-up to the event in whatever capacity they require some assistance. It could be the development of their session content, how to get over the stagefright (although I’m not sure any of us really ever get over that, we just learn to deal with it!), practising their session together, exploring topics which would be of interest to the audience, development of follow-on materials, and so on.

Get involved

If you would like to get involved either as a seasoned IWMW delegate, a previous speaker or a newbie, do get in touch. Please sent an email to Claire Gibbons, who is managing the buddy scheme, at Alternatively leave a comment on this post.