This is the seventh and final post in my series of developing your user group. In my previous post, I shared how keeping your members engaged and informed between meetings will make them feel connected and eager to stay involved.
My seven-part series on developing your user group;
- VMUG Playbook: Relationship is Everything
- VMUG Playbook: Make it Memorable for the Guest Speaker
- VMUG Playbook: Promoting your User Group Meeting
- VMUG Playbook: Get Meeting Logistics Right
- VMUG Playbook: Helping Members Get The Most From Sponsors
- VMUG Playbook: Connecting Out of The Routine Schedule
- VMUG Playbook: Honour and Recognize Members
As you begin to build relationships with your members, and as you see them more frequent, take the time to find out what they have happening in their lives away from work and the user group. We all enjoy sharing personal stories about any milestones we might have reached or awards we might have won.
Call out member accomplishments
As the user group leader, be sure to call out any accomplishments as it relates to your user group members and share that through your newsletter, or during your meetings. It’s an excellent way to recognize members and make them feel special. It also shows that you take an interest in the membership and they are more than faces in seats (I see a theme here that runs through my series).
You may even ask the member to share a quick summary of what was accomplished. What was involved, how long it took, etc. This could be as simple as someone achieving an industry certification or giving their first talk at an industry conference or even getting their pilots license. People love to be recognized for their accomplishments, and it makes them feel good.
Recognizing members helps to motivate them and others in the user group that might be considering doing the same thing. It might even bring some members closer together as members who want to accomplish the same thing get organized to achieve that goal, for example, creating a study group for a certification.
Recognize visiting user group leaders
Knowing who is attending your meeting is important if you discover you have a guest user group leader visiting, even if it’s from a different technology, it’s always nice to mention to the group that you have Wendy visiting, and she is the user group leader for XYZ technology. I also do a call to action and mention that if you are ever in her area to attend her user group. It’s a nice way to cross-promote user groups. Matt Crape attended one of our meetings, and I did just that (not sure he recalls, when he was the Veeam user group leader), but he came from about two hours away to attend, and I thought that would be a nice shout out, I also highlighted his blog and ways you could connect with them.
Promote member blogs
If you have any bloggers in attendance, be sure to highlight their blogs on the big screen and point them out to others. I’ve found that people sometimes don’t realize they have blogger XYZ that attends the same user group that you do and it’s cool when someone comes up to you afterward and mentions that they read your blog and enjoy your work. Their blog is also another source of content to add to your newsletter.
These are just a few ways to recognize members, everyone likes to feel special. If you have any other methods, let the community know, add your thoughts in the comments below. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and that, it has inspired you to think about new ways to expand your user group.
As always thank you for reading!