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User Groups How To


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This is intended to be a knowledge base of things that worked--and things that didn't--to keep user groups fresh, growing, and responsive.
See also: How To Ruin a User Group
I'm in exactly the same position as you are, with a Sacramento users group. Because I'm new to this role, I can't speak to what works, but the single thing most important to me is the opportunity to learn something new. I appreciate tips and tricks on VFP as much as the next person, but a chance to broaden my horizons -- a detailed presentation on .NET or UML or creating a COM application with VFP 7's new features -- is more likely to get me in the door.

Keep members coming back

One thing I like about the Chicago group is the size. There's about 12-15 people each month so everybody who wants to say something gets the chance. Joe Kuhn

Nothing beats good topics. We try to have at least two different topics at each meeting. We look at new technologies (currently .Net) and do some basics too (currently the FFC). -- Craig Berntson

You can't make the sale if you don't ask for it.

Encourage participation, because members who participate are members who are invested.
Promote the group through monthly announcements and reminders to forums, mailing lists and Fox Central. Encourage activists to *personally* invite the other members that they know.

Encourage new attendees

Encourage people to grow professionally by speaking

This one is difficult. I've heard that public speaking is the number one fear that people have. Death is number two. (What about dieing while speaking?).. anyway, I listen to the questions that people in the group ask. I ask them what kinds of things they are working on. I will sometimes ask them to speak on a topic. I also offer to help them prepare if they don't have much public speaking experience. -- Craig Berntson

My first Fox speaking gig was a user group meeting. I would have been terrified (and was a little scared), but it was configured as three members each doing a brief presentation. Preparing for and talking for 20 minutes is a lot less intimidating than talking for an hour or more. Considering having a couple of meetings per year devoted to those members who aren't your regular speakers, doing very brief presentations. -- Tamar Granor

We're organizing to have a short topic and a main topic, except when we have a special speaker who can easily take the whole time. It seemed that the short topic would be good both for practice and to focus part of our attention on basics, too, which never hurts. The FFC is a great topic. I was also thinking certification, but I doubt that will be a popular topic (yet).

Group book, software purchases


How well do "Hooks" like give-aways, food, wet Speedo contests work

I guess it depends on who wears the Speedo *g*. Truthfully, those things are fun, but I don't think they keep people coming back. -- Craig Berntson

Contributors: Nancy Folsom, Zahid Ali
Category User Groups
( Topic last updated: 2004.04.11 10:43:46 AM )