What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

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DesignGuy
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What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by DesignGuy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:30 am

Hi, I'm running JoomlaChicago. Our group is new and fired up.

After just one meeting (second next week), we're discussing what is the best use of everyones' time, given it's going to be a growing and fluctuating audience.  Should we focus on:

Joomla 101?
Advanced Joomla?
Extensions?
"How To's"?

Of course, the group will decide the agenda, but I'd like to hear from other folks what works, and what doesn't in their neck of the woods too.

So?
John Coonen
Host, CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference - http://CMSExpo.net
Managing Director, The CMS Connection - http://CMSConnection.com
Co-founder, JoomlaChicago

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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by dex » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:45 am

Hi

In the Sydney Group (monthly) we talk about all of those things and more. Each meeting we gather suggested topics for the next meeting and take a vote - cant go wrong! And each meeting we have lots of spare networking time to discuss whatever is on our minds on the day. To back this up, we have a forum for those  in-between moments and topics that fall down the gaps. see joomladay.org.au.

Sometimes we also talk about what topics we could add to broaden the group membership!

Good luck!
d
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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by DesignGuy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:07 am

What have you found, in your group, to be the topic(s) that:

- Keep people coming back;
- Get NEW people coming in.

And are they one in the same?  Some in our group talked about splitting into two tracks -

2-hour meeting:

A. Introduction - Joomla Update & Introduction of Guest Speaker (15 minutes)
B. Split into two rooms for Track I and Track II: (60 minutes)
I. Joomla Basics (essentially a Joomla 101, each and every month, to keep us all up to date and get new people going)
II.  Joomla Solutions (varies each month, depending on what solutions our group wants to tackle, such as specific extensions, business model, security, training issues, etc)
C. Break (5-10 minutes)
D. Spotlight Issue (guest speaker, etc) (20 minutes)
E. Informal Networking / Shoot the breeze, etc.

;)

Think I'm missing anything in this agenda?
John Coonen
Host, CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference - http://CMSExpo.net
Managing Director, The CMS Connection - http://CMSConnection.com
Co-founder, JoomlaChicago

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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by dex » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:46 pm

Greg Aitkin from our group has made the following observations, that you may be interested in....

I was interested to see what topics have been presented in other Joomladays around the world in 2007.  These are listed in order of preference using very scientific method of passing a piece of paper around the dinner table and getting everyone to 'tick' what they found interesting...

Joomla! graphics - template development - tips  tricks
Joomla! SEF  SEO
Joomla! and Web security
Case studies, lessons learned and best practices
Joomla! developer toolbox, favourite extensions and developer tools
Advanced templating with Joomla!
Joomla!  Ajax – good  joint-venture“
Joomla! 1.5 - new features, international backend
how to market your Joomla! site, how the GPL is used in Joomla!
see Joomla! 1.5 'under the hood'
Joomla! 1.5 - one look into the future of Joomla!
How to make most of Joomla!'s new MVC framework and API
Favourite extensions - Galleries, forums, SEO/SEF
Template system in Joomla!
Open Source Business Models, how to make your living using open source
Non-Profit Organization and Joomla!
learning how to use Joomla! in non-profits
Free Software, Joomla!
Joomla! Basics - installation, modules, components...
Joomla! in My Town - future of the community
Joomla! project, the past, the present and the future
SEF optimization and Joomla!
Joomla! on localhost – easy hosting on your computer
Joomla International Edition – news, future of the project
Developing with Firefox – Webdeveloper  Firebug extensions
Tips  tricks of localisation
a 'hack' room - we'll set up
Dex
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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by DesignGuy » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:26 pm

Now THAT is one handy dandy list. Thanks!  Our group is working on putting together a JoomlaDay CHICAGO for May, 2008!
John Coonen
Host, CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference - http://CMSExpo.net
Managing Director, The CMS Connection - http://CMSConnection.com
Co-founder, JoomlaChicago

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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by dex » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:37 pm

and in reply to your earlier question about what gets people in the door:

- SEO
- templates
- favourite components

as to what keeps them coming back - not sure. But I do like to keep in touch with people and support them when they have specific issues they need help on. The forum is good for that, but people also email me and I pass it on to the group. I think finding help is a biggie and giving people a forum to meet and chat with each other.

How is your group going?
Dex
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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by DesignGuy » Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:17 am

SEO...how INTERESTING you'd say that, as that's been a request lately, so we're going to do that at the February meeting.  I think our meetings are going ok, but with only 3 months under our belt, it's hard to tell whether we're hitting our mark or not. The feedback is positive so far, given we are still working on putting our underpinnings together.

Structure, consistency, staying focused - not over-reaching beyond what we're capable of delivering. I'm normally a gung-ho, get-it-done person, but these things take slow, steady growth to work out, I think.

It could easily be a full time job though. LOL.
John Coonen
Host, CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference - http://CMSExpo.net
Managing Director, The CMS Connection - http://CMSConnection.com
Co-founder, JoomlaChicago

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Re: What's the best use of peoples' time in User Group meetings?

Post by ircmaxell » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:04 am

We've been meeting (here in New York) for about 5 months now, and so far, we have felt the following system seems to work best (for a 2.5 hour meeting).

Alternating months
Even month:
start: 30 minutes of general "introduction" and q&a
body: 2 one hour presentations (on relatively major topics ranging from code development to basic install)

Odd month:
start: 30 minutes of general "introduction" and q&a
body : 5 twenty minute presentations (on more minor topics, such as extension reviews and the such)

It seems to work well, cause it's easy to find short presenters, and long presenters have time to prepare...
Anthony Ferrara - Core Team - Development Coordinator - Bug Squad - JSST

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