What gets you out to a PLUG meeting?

Hans Fugal hans at fugal.net
Thu Dec 11 11:39:40 MST 2008

For me, it would take a plane ticket, but pretending I lived nearby...

Doran L. Barton wrote:
> There was some discussion after last night's awesome SELinux presentation by 
> Stuart Jansen (don't worry- we'll be making the audio and video available) 
> about what gets people out to  a PLUG meeting, or, more generally speaking, 
> what gets people more involved in the user group.

In all the groups I've been involved in, my behavior is similar. Whether
I lived 1/2 a mile away or 15 miles away. If the topic is interesting
and new to me, I will go (assuming I don't have a scheduling conflict).
Secondary is time and place, which adjusts the line in the sand for
what's "interesting enough" according to how convenient it is for me.
Food (filling food, like pizza, not desserts like cookies - sorry
Stuart) is a tipping factor too, as is comraderie.

> One of the questions that came up was would you be more likely to show up to a 
> PLUG meeting if some of the meetings were held during business hours.

That seems hardly likely, unless by some chance the majority of
meeting-goers can call attending a PLUG meeting work. If you did only
some meetings during business hours, be sure to make them the stuffy
boring meetings that people who can call attending a PLUG meeting work
would be interested in.

> Another question that came up was whether you are more likely to attend PLUG 
> events if presenters are "big name" people from out of the area or if you're 
> into local talent providing presentations. 

The occasional big name is a draw, but if it's always big name people
the novelty wears off and you're back to "do I want to learn about that
topic enough to get off my duff and rearrange my schedule so I can go to
that meeting?"

There's no substitute for content. And there's precious little content
that appeals to every member of a diverse group like PLUG. So focus on
the content and don't sweat who comes or doesn't. Keep tabs on whether
the meeting time and location is working for or against you, on the
whole. Keep it short - start on time and end on time. That doesn't mean
you can't have pre- or post-meeting networking, games, etc. Those seem
like good ideas, but the actual meeting should be about an hour and
start at a predictable time. I think audio and video recordings help (as
counterintuitive as that seems) - people who are curious or miss a
meeting due to scheduling can participate posthumously and get that nice
warm fuzzy feeling that will help entice them to come next time.

Oh, and I know a failsafe way to keep people far away from meetings:
talk about how to get more people to come to the meetings every time.

There's my $0.02. Take it from a guy who is notorious for selective
meeting attendance. Or don't...

Hans Fugal ; http://hans.fugal.net

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
    -- Johann Sebastian Bach

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