What can you gain from leading a user group

Date April 10, 2009

In the recent times for the last few years, I have been engaged with the IT Professionals user groups and communities, participating in forums, managing portals, organizing online or offline events, presentations etc… I have seen lot of potential in terms of personal and professional growth of an individual when he / she is actively engaged with a community. Being engaged with a community of your niche not only helps you develop your skills with upgrading and updating your knowledge shared by your community peers but leading them teaches us much more such as management and being strategic towards the success of a community.

Engaging with communities has helped me polish my skills and gain exposure and network with Industry leaders and field experts. From a user group member, to a leader, to awarded MVP, featured in the debut episode of UGTV (User Group Television) a Microsoft initiative recorded at Redmond (Microsoft HQ), to Regional Chairman – APAC for Culminis (world’s largest not-for-profit organization devoted to the development and growth of the IT community), the growth and learning process has been gradual. I have gained a confidence in facing the world and speak out in public taking up the stage in regular period over various occasions. The learning process has been steady which remains with us for life and utilize them in our other professional associations or at work place. Check more about me here. Apart from this, I have seen several others who have gained expertise in some way or other, from networking and getting business to getting a JOB at Giant IT companies. Anything is really possible!

I have earlier written few articles on user groups and communities to get some insights and stay updated and volunteer. Apart from which there are few more on some white-papers and articles distributed and written for some communities. A great resource I will point you is Greg Low’s The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities.

In The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities, Microsoft Regional Director Greg Low explains how the most successful user communities succeed by focusing on people rather than technology. He explains the differences between user groups and user communities, how to ensure productive meetings, the importance of using speakers effectively, and tried and true methods of recruiting and growing a group. He also discusses the best uses for technology, remote and online communities, and the ins and outs of group dynamics. Advanced topics include legal and financial issues, such as funding, insurance, and sponsors.

Apart from this, there will be very few resources you will find that gives such in-depth information. Over the period, I will want to share with you my experience. And you will learn how much fun is it as your stay consistently involved withing your local community. So stay updated.

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