Help grow the community
The local tech community is made of the people in it and the value they provide for each other. The community isn’t just user group leaders, speakers and volunteers. In fact, the majority of the community are individuals trying to learn, teach, socialize and help others.
With that in mind, here are some ways for you to help grow and make the community stronger (ie. more valuable) for everyone.
Attend User Groups and Be Part of the Group
I think it is obvious, but by attending user groups you have a chance to personally interact with others in the community.
Most groups have some networking/socializing time before or after the main event. Use this time to talk to at least one new person you don’t know. If you already know everyone there then maybe you could bring someone with you next time and introduce them. The idea is the more people know each other in the community the more value everyone gets from it.
Once the main presentation starts, ask questions, be present. Often times, if you have a question – chances are someone else would also like to know … so go ahead and ask. The more interactive the group is the more value people will get from it. Sometimes the small tangent a speaker takes to answer a question is the most valuable part of the talk.
Provide Feedback to Leaders and Speakers
For any event or presentation, I think everyone can provide value by providing honest feedback on the event. For the leaders/organizers it will help with planning future events. For speakers, honest feedback is always hard to come by and I don’t know a single speaker who wouldn’t like to get some feedback on their presentation.
If you don’t feel comfortable giving feedback, try suggesting topics or speakers for future events that you would be interested in.
Continue the Conversation
Once a user group meeting is over, you can still carry on the conversation. Meetup.com provides the ability to add comments to the event, you can also use social media (like twitter, Instagram, etc.) or event write a blog post to keep the conversation about an event going.
Help Spread the Word
Growing a community takes time and effort. The more people that can help spread the word about the group, the bigger the pool of possible attendees … and the bigger the community.
Personally, I use twitter a lot for ‘spreading the word’ – though I have my doubts on how effective this really is. Another thing I do is email people and mention groups, topics and people to them. This helps me spread the word to some people who may not be in the know but may be interested.