I am a firm believer in information shared, information gained and as such over the years I have participated in, created, moderated and invented many a user group. I have also seen both success and failure when it comes to the time invested.
Here are some top tips for really finding that sweet win!
1. It is not just about joining. Time invested = higher returns on the investment
2. Although you might be an incredible wealth of information it is highly likely that most people in the room know something that you do not know. Egos need to be checked in at the door.
3. If you feel like you are constantly offering information and not getting much in return then perhaps you are talking too much :)
4. A user group is not a training session. It is an interactive discuss. Come to the meetings ready to have a conversation.
5. Never hesitate to follow-up after any meetings with those that you met. If you didn't get a specific card or e-mail address reach out to the organizer.
6. If a side conversation was of value to you, then it might be valuable to the rest of the group. Share.
7. Preparing for a user group meeting by gather tidbits of interest during the week helps jump start a meeting that might consist of a crowd of strangers.
8. The best presentations are the ones where you get to work with real software or solve real problems and the solving is a team activity. Share the keyboard, mouse or choose a driver that gets input from all.
9. Providing pizza and soda tend to be a necessary evil that works ;)
10. Go ahead and stick your neck out - there are no dumb questions and someone else in the room will be thankful that you asked.
So you ask what about Microsoft Dynamics CRM User Groups? Are there any available in my area? What do they offer? Can I participate even if there is not a group close to me?
The answers Yes, very possibly, tons of resources and yes! For more details check out CRMUG.