The Benefit Of Attending User Group Meeting
I want to be *consistent* in attending User Group Meetings on monthly basis. Unfortunately, due to conflict of schedules, I haven’t been able to target consistency. The last meeting I attended was at Orange County SQL User Group last month (August). I planned to attend South Bay .NET User Group September meeting but I wasn’t able to.
Why attend a User Group Meeting? The following are some of the many benefits of attending a User Group Meeting.
Augment Your Technical Training
User Group meetings are important. They augment the necessary training that professionals need. The content and materials being presented on these meetings are of high value. Speakers are the cream of the crop – they are MVP’s and Experts on their field. You are always sure that every meeting you attend will equip you with or help hone your critical skills necessary to accomplish your job.
Provide Venue For Networking
User group meetings does not only help you gain more knowledge but also bring you closer to other people in your niche. Professionals are finding values in networking. This brings yet another manifold opportunity. People connect with people for many reasons – professional and otherwise. Whatever that reason may be, networking will help you expand your, well, network, at least.
Provide Stage To Showcase Your Skills
If you are more into helping other people to learn, User Group meetings are the perfect places for you to showcase and share your skills. Experts are experts because they are always willing to share their knowledge. Period. Whatever that means. That’s what MVP’s, Experts, and book Authors will tell you – they hone their skills by actually teaching what they already know. People attending User Groups are bright people. They throw lots of great questions in the discussion. The speakers’ technical know-how’s are often tested in the Q&A portion of the meeting. They also learn in the process.
Lead To Channel Of Options
Are you looking for a new job or new consulting opportunity? Attending User Group meetings will boost your chances of pinning a new job or getting a new deal. If you are active in participating community-based activities, such as User Group meetings, it talks something about your character. The community will perceive your being active as a positive attitude towards your willingness to learn. We all go to User Group meetings not only to mingle but, more importantly, to learn. Your enthusiastic characteristic towards learning pose a “plus points” to those who are looking for candidates, who might happen to be on the same meeting you are in. Open your eyes and ears.
There are more benefits to attending User Group meetings, of course, than what I have mentioned above. Chances are you have benefited in more ways than one.
I have mentioned in my opening statement that I want to be consistent in attending User Group Meeting for at least 3 of the reasons I have enumerated above. The hurdles I have encountered so many times are schedule and location. I am sure I am not the only person having these problems. I always want to be able to be free to attend these User Group Meetings. But unforeseen schedule and location seem to be my main issues at present.
Now comes the…. VIRTUAL USER GROUPS!
Attending Virtual Meetings is another option if you cannot attend physical, onsite meetings. There are lots of User Groups around the county that are providing Virtual version of their meetings. In this post, I want to highlight the Professional Association For SQL Server (PASS) Virtual Chapters. “Common ways of interacting with the [virtual] community include LiveMeetings, published articles and interviews, online forums, and PASS Summit events.”
PASS made available not only a Virtual Chapter for SQL Server Group but many other domains as well. The following is a list of and links to the different PASS Virtual Chapters:
What is Virtual Chapter?
Free Training Resources
Is lack of “Training Dollars” an excuse of your not getting trained? That should not be an excuse! You can get Quality Training without shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars from your pocket!