Yesterday I went to a User Group Leaders meeting at Microsoft HQ in Ra'anana. Some of the things we talked about were how to make the groups more interactive, what should be better etc. here's a short list of important topics you might want to consider for your user groups as well:
- Have a site that contains a speaker roster where you could search for and sign up for speakers and speaking engagements. It's very hard to find speakers on a monthly basis. In Israel I usually find that here are about 10 speakers who appear in almost all the MS user groups..
- Have a competition (Speaker Idol or something like that) where you can detect and fins=d new speakers. They can then be speaking at user group events and larger events such as teched.
- A speaker at a user group might start their talk with saying why they are speaking there, and what benefits they get out of this. A lot of people would talk if they knew the benefits: more experience, recognition, speaking at bigger events..
- Have a good feedback form that can tell you a little bit about the attendee background and what future talks they would like to see.
- Use interesting stories presented by attendees as case studies for the company (MS in this case)
- Have a unified RSS feed and site that holds all the data about all the user groups including categories. There is a usergroup blog for the groups in Israel that has started not long ago which you should register to. It's a great idea!
- Record your sessions! Use Camtasia and lapel microphones to record it. The problem is you still need to sync up the audio with the video, but if you do a lot of people will find value in this.