Last night I spent the evening at Creative Sydney, a three week festival celebrating the wealth and diversity of the city’s creative talents. I was there to speak on the topic of creative approaches to networking – and in particular, how our coffee mornings have evolved into a vibrant community gathering.

Interestingly, as I arrived, I bumped into Sebastian Goldspink who was part of our original coffee morning brigade. It seemed a fitting and positive omen.

The evening kicked off with a quick get together … allowing the speakers to get to know each other (a little), and then it was into the rapidly filling room complete with smoke machine. Imogen Semmler facilitated the panel, setting the scene for the different types of networking that take place across the city.

creativesydney-piavangelder Pia van Gelder entranced the audience with her unique, geeky style and passion for electronics. As the Overlord of Dorkbot.Syd, Pia creates a space where people who are interested in “doing strange things with electricity” can come together to share ideas, collaborate on projects and showcase their latest inventions. In Sydney, they meet on the second last Tuesday of every month – but check their website for confirmation.

creativesydney-chrismead Chris Mead from Playwriting Australia spoke about the way his small organisation of three people are working across the creative industries to connect like minds and resources. From Broome to Hobart, this small team are transforming the relationships between people, plays and playwrights – and doing so on a shoestring budget. It was particularly fascinating to hear the way play scripts affect the individuals who work on them as well as the communities of which they are a part.

creativesydney-angelabennetts Angela Bennetts runs an event called Even Books. It is “… a regularly occurring night of mayhem themed around a different book each time. Sometimes we have bands, sometimes acting performances, sometimes bingo, sometimes readings. But always booze. Good old booze. Oh, and books.” It was great to see how the event grew from a small cafe setting with book readings to full-blown, themed parties – but what was clear – a tremendous amount of planning and effort goes into making these events a success. There is another one coming up soon (check the Facebook page).

Michael Chrisoulakis from Metro Screen spoke about the way they bring various players in the film industry together. Events are designed to start building creative teams – putting producers and directors in touch with screenwriters and actors and so on. The “speed networking” events are designed to accelerate these types of introduction. The next speed networking event is scheduled for July 7.

Pecha Kucha is a regular meetup for architects and designers – and provides an opportunity for them to showcase their ideas and work. It has a huge global following – and the Sydney event is run by Marcus Trimble. Each presenter is allowed 20 slides – but only 20 seconds per slide. This means that their story must be delivered in 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

My talk was on coffee mornings and how they evolved. You can see it here.