How To: Stimulate Questions (and Answers) at User Group Meetings

Written By Tom Piper

Our members are often too timid to ask questions at meetings because they’re afraid it might appear “dumb” or embarrassing. We just started a new way to elicit questions in advance of our monthly meetings which has become very successful.

Five days before each meeting, we email a notice to all members which reminds them of the topic, location and website information. Now, we have added the following:

(see NEW requests below . . . the iTunes card drawing will offered ONLY to those responding with questions)

• Meeting Question, what do you need to know?

(to submit, just highlight the Meeting Question above, click Reply, enter your questions, and click Send to email back your responses BEFORE January 5)

This has produced about a dozen questions for each meeting. These questions are projected on the screen for easy viewing, and the responses by our “gurus” often stimulate other related questions from attendees.

We are so pleased that this technique has gotten more people involved, and many warm comments have been offered afterwards.

For more information, feel free to visit our website at www.applejac.org, or contact me directly at macquest@mac.com.

How To: Presenting the Apple Watch at User Group Meetings

Since Apple introduced the Apple Watch, many members are eager to know more about the basics. Most groups are used to presenting on a projector or flat screen television. In a previous how-to, we discussed how to present iOS at user group meetings. But the Apple Watch does not have any built in features that easily allow us to share the screen interface. So, how do you present the Apple Watch then? With some new hardware and software tools, along with some previous tools, we will get you prepared for presenting and showing off the Apple Watch at your user group meetings. (more…)

How To: Volunteers, Communities and User Groups by Rick Ortiz

Over the years, some of the best ideas for user group leadership have come from the worldwide community of user group officers, the hard working leaders and experts who ensure that their groups survive and thrive.

One of this month’s topics comes from a User Group Leadership Conference hosted in Boston back in 2004. Rick Ortiz, currently chair of the Apple User Group Advisory Board, Apple consultant, and long-time user group officer of the Maui Apple Users Society offered insights about volunteers, communities and user groups.

Community and groups by Rick Ortiz

Thanks Rick!

How-To: Group Volunteers

In our January User Group How-To we discussed ways to revitalize your group. This How-To will expand on that article, focusing on volunteer involvement and management. Volunteering is key to a group’s success. Parts of this article were taken from a presentation given at User Group University held at Macworld in 2007. The focus of the presentation was on volunteers and community involvement. This how-to will look at volunteer types and roles, difficult volunteers, and most importantly recognizing your volunteers.  (more…)

Meeting Ideas: Planning Topics by Doan Stafford

Over the years, some of the best ideas for user group leadership have come from the worldwide community of user group officers, the hard working folk who ensure that their groups survive and thrive.

One of this month’s topics comes from Doan Stafford, long-time leader of QMUG and an active supporter of the user group community. In 2004, he was one of the featured speakers at User Group University during the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, offering ways to plan group meeting topics well in advance.

Thanks Doan!

Plan_Your_Meeting_Topics_UGU_2004

 

How-To: Using the Featured Vendor Presentation Program

The Apple User Group Resource Team introduced a new vendor program a few months ago. User group leaders who used our vendor program in the past saw it as a discount offer based program. This aspect of our vendor program still exists. In revitalizing this program, we had one goal. It was to offer user groups presentation resources from vendors to use for meetings. The idea was a “meeting-in-a-box.” The vendor could provide the needed information in print material, online presentations, video tutorials, or remote presentations. So how do you take advantage to the program? This how-to will take you through the process of using the program, working with the vendors in the program and using the resource materials offered.

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How-To: Community Solutions for Revitalizing Your Group

What can a group do when long-time leaders move on, burn out, get older, or simply find themselves unable or unwilling to serve? Is dissolution the only reasonable response?

On our discussion list and via email, group leaders provided insightful responses for a group struggling with this question. Their suggestions included spreading the work around, aligning the person to the task, sorting needs from niceties, publicity, appreciation and humor. While each of these may seem easier said than done, leaders offered concrete ideas to support their suggestions.

A thank you to participants is at the end of this guide. If I have missed a contributor, please let me know.

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How-To: Managing User Group Membership

User Groups both big and small must deal with record keeping and managing membership. For group leaders this can sometimes be burdensome and time-intensive work. Managing a database of members, membership payments, and, of course getting the monthly meeting emails out can take a majority of your group’s leaders’ time each month. There is no one-way-fits-all for groups to manage their  members. The goal of this how-to is to offer some tips and guidance, to help automate some of your groups’ membership tasks so that your group leaders can spend their time creating great meetings. We will look at member database management, communication, and payment options for membership.  (more…)

How-to: Using iCloud as a User Group Resource

icloudIn the past, Apple User Groups could earn a free MobileMe paid account to host their group’s website, use as a contact email, and a few other features. With the introduction of iCloud, some of the services changed or were enhanced, and some were removed. But the accounts are now free. Apple continues to develop and add new features to iCloud. What user group leaders may not know, is that these features can offer resources to your group leaders and members. Most individuals use iCloud to integrate and sync data between computers, iPads and iPhones. In this how-to we will look at how groups can use iCloud for maintaining a membership list, notes, meeting presentations and many other features.

In order to avoid conflicts with your personal iCloud account, this how-to is going to focus on using iCloud as a web based service for your user group.

(more…)