At a recent Detroit User Experience meetup event, I was surprised when my contact person for our sponsor publicly thanked me for organizing the event.
It was at the beginning of our event, when our sponsors have an opportunity to talk about their organization, share news, and any job opportunities.
Our sponsor thanked me personally:
Deborah, you should consider teaching a workshop on how to organize meetup events! I know I’d come!
I was surprised and humbled to be called out. And I thanked him for his kind words.
What a wonderful feeling!
It’s the first time in over eight years of organizing local meetup events that a sponsor has publicly recognized and acknowledged my organizing efforts.
And it reminded me of why I’m actively involved in organizing local meetups. It’s similar to Tim Berners-Lee quote about the web:
The original idea of the web was that it should be a collaborative space where you can communicate through sharing information.
My main reason for organizing meetups: to create a community where you can share information and resources with other local people interested in the same topic.
My Other Reasons for Organizing Meetups
With so many hours spent in front of a computer monitor or on a digital device, meetup groups are a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with others in your community.
Whether it’s a:
- Group help session
- Networking event at a local restaurant
- Hand-on workshop
- Presentation about latest techniques
meetup events offer support, camaraderie, and opportunities to learn something new.
In addition, meetups are the ideal place for first-time speakers to get their feet wet for giving presentations.
Meetups are a friendly and forgiving environment to help you get over your jitters for speaking for the first time.
For someone who moves to a new area, meetup groups make it easy to find friends, colleagues in the same profession, and interact with others.
Reasons to Start Meetup Groups
I know other leaders create meetup groups for different reasons, including:
- Lead generation for their business
- Paid training workshops
- Promote themselves as a community leader
- Credibility for their profession. It adds another item to LinkedIn or their resume as they search for jobs or apply within their company for a new job.
- Find experienced people to join their team or company
All valid reasons to lead a meetup group, but not my reasons.
While I’m a believer in charging a minimal fee for meetups (to cover costs and make sure people attend) I believe any leftover funds should be used by the group for refreshments, networking, or other meetup activity for all members.
Personally, I don’t do it for money or any personal gain.
I do it for the community.
I’ve been blessed to meet people and learn things over the past eight years I would not have been able to, if I wasn’t organizing meetup events.
I’ve helped organize five meetup groups; currently I’m an organizer for three groups.
Over the years, I’ve watched meetups grow, as friendships develop and people in the meetup community learn and share with each other.
Yes, organizing events has its share of ups and downs. But the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
There’s nothing better than seeing a meetup community gather together in person, talk about their shared interests, and learn from each other!