After the February MonthlyMeeting I was approached by Brian, NigelBallard and LonnieWormley. They felt that we'd missed a prime opportunity to rope in new members that showed up because of recent PressCoverage (portland business journal, the oregonian, red herring) by launching pretty much straight into "geek talk" with the node standardization stuff and then the URLd and ipsec talks. I've been feeling for a while that meeting desperately needs to be re-organized but I haven't been quite sure how to do it. As I see it our MonthlyMeetings try to be all the below things and it just isn't working very cleanly.
Newbie introduction (introductions, goals, basic presentation and Q&A session etc)
- Our advanced topics presentations (mid to high level tech stuff)
- Meeting business (decisions, thrashing stuff out, politics etc)
- Technical brainstorming (how do we ...)
- Drinking beer and hanging out.
So we need to figure out what we want our meetings to be, and I honestly don't think we can do it all in one meeting. This means we either axe some of the things or we have a second meeting. So if there are people on the list for whom this was their first meeting (or still remember their first meeting!) we'd love to hear from you. What did you like and what didn't you like? For the regulars, you're important as well, what do you get from the meetings that you like, what do you want to see more of? -- AdamShand
I think many come to the meetings with an specific question (or questions) to ask and don't get to ask them unless they stay until 11pm. So a Q/A session at step one would be great. If it starts getting really technical or complicated, it could be jotted on a whiteboard and tabled until the brainstorming at the end when the beer has lubricated the wetware a bit more.
A ten minute "Node Call" where you list all active or in-progress nodes would place a little more focus on building the infrastructure, which can't be stressed enough IMHO. New members would be shown how important nodes are to the group, and see lavish praise and free beers rain down upon the triumphant nodebuilders.
Presenting clear ways people could help out (such-and-such documentation needs updating... anyone up?, etc.) and soliciting volunteers for 20-30 minutes per meeting may be helpful. Especially if you keeping note of who has agreed to do what, and gently nag them at the next meeting(s). -- GeneMerrill
I like the idea of collecting white-board discussion points at the beginning (what are people here tonight?), prioritizing them for discussion later, or linking people up for "off-line" conversations away from the main group is cool. My first meeting, I wanted to learn about base-stations and range extenders. There was no "Dan Time" for me at the meeting, and I eventually figured it out a few meetings later (along with extensive Googling). It helped me become the WAP11 Genius that I am today, but I don't think most people have my tenacity to hang on like I do. --DanRichardson