Going Beyond the Online Meeting

Andrew Comeau   August 14, 2020   Comments Off on Going Beyond the Online Meeting

In my last post, I talked about how we were going to shift the focus of the group from the monthly meetings to our Slack workspace. This will enable more communication between members without having to wait for a scheduled meeting.

Of course, occasional meetings are still important. For specific subjects and presentations, they provide for a level of discussion and focus that a message area like Slack doesn’t quite reach.

As I also mentioned, the traditional type of meeting is simply no longer working for our group. Even with online meetings, it’s hard to schedule a time to accommodate members’ schedules and activities. Our attendance for recent meetings has been very light.

For this reason, in October of this year, our Meetup page will be going away – for good. Before then, I encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and get the link to our Slack workspace so that you can continue to participate in the group as it moves forward to this online format. This is one of the places any upcoming meetings will be announced … but that’s only the first change.

I also believe that, with all the new tools available including Zoom, SlideShare and live streaming services, the old Organizer role that Meetup.com and other meeting places have maintained is no longer as important, at least for our group. With free accounts available for online meeting spaces and other services, there’s no reason why the group should be dependent on one person to set the meeting schedule and run everything. That’s the old way of doing things.

If Ocala’s I.T. community is going to continue to grow, we need a higher level of participation from our members and more people who are willing to step up and lead. That’s why, from this point on, all members of the Ocala I.T. Professionals will be encouraged to setup and run meetings as they’re able to.

I’ve been doing it for several years – now it’s your turn.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Our Slack workspace has a channel specifically for discussions about upcoming meetings and everyone is welcome to announce a time when they are able to host an online meeting with as many members who can attend.

As an experienced organizer, I will be glad to assist as needed and will help promote these meetings on our other online channels including LinkedIn and Facebook. In order for these user meetings to be endorsed by the Ocala I.T. Professionals and promoted on our other sites, they must follow a few guidelines:

  1. Meetings must be open to all members and the arrangements must reasonably accommodate at least 15 people.
  2. At this time, only online meetings will be endorsed or promoted for safety reasons.
  3. Meetings must be about a specific topic or be focused on discussing technology in general. Meetings that are mostly about promoting a commercial product or business service will not be endorsed.
  4. Meetings should be scheduled at least a few days in advance to give members a chance to attend.
  5. Members are not to be charged for attendance beyond a minimal donation to cover the cost of whatever service is used during the meeting.

I don’t know how many of our members will accept this challenge but I believe it’s the best solution for bringing new energy to our meetings and helping more people learn how to manage a group of their own.

So, when is the next meeting, you ask?

That’s up to you.

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About Andrew Comeau

Organizer of the Ocala I.T. Professionals. Software developer and consultant based in Ocala, Florida. Find out more at ComeauSoftware.com.