[Purdue-pm] Improving Attendance at Linux (and presumably Perl) User Groups

Dave Jacoby jacoby at purdue.edu
Tue Jun 16 06:24:15 PDT 2009


	Two things I observed.

	1.  New people didn't feel welcome.  Suggestion: Go out of your
	way to make new people feel welcome.  Have a designated person
	show up early and just say "hi" to everyone that walks in.  Most
	of us are introverts and would be turned off by someone that
	tries to make small-talk, but just hearing someone say "hi" is
	great.  Have good signs on the doors so people know where to go.
	Nothing makes new people feel unwanted like a lack of being told
	where your meeting is.  I once went to a meeting (not a LUG, but
	the issue is the same) only to discover that the web site listed
	the address, but not the specific room... or which building.
	There were no signs telling me where to go.  Ugh.

	2.  If you have a Q&A session, the moderator should never answer
	the questions.  People come to share and everyone wants their
	turn to show off.  A big mistake I see is that the moderator
	will answer each question then look around and say, "Does anyone
	else have anything to add?"  Nobody answers.  Gee, I wonder why.
	Well, the moderator just expressed their dominance and anything
	else would be an affront to the leader.  Folks, this is an open
	source movement.  We all have power and knowledge and good stuff
	to day.  If you are the moderator, be the last person to speak.
	Sure you know the perfect answer, in fact I bet you have 5
	points you'd like to make.  However, so do other people in the
	audience.  Get them to say the answer.  Let a couple people
	speak.  After 3-4 people speak it is likely that 4 of the 5
	points you wanted to make have been made already.  Now you can
	chime in with your 5th point.  Everyone else got their chance to
	shine and your 5 points were made.  You'll still look brilliant
	for having a 5th point that nobody else thought of, but you
	won't look overbearing.

	Those are the top 2 problems I've seen.

Not necessarily a specific critique of our group, but I thought it was 
worth passing along.

Dave Jacoby                         Address: WSLR S049
Genomics Core Programmer            Mail:    jacoby at purdue.edu
Purdue University                   Jabber:  jacoby at jabber.org
                                     Phone:   hah!

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