Last night we had a sequence of 3 different speakers at a user's group here in Dallas. I recommended this for your group - I think you'll like it, at least after you figure out how it happened.

It seemed like our regular old Spring user's group like we always have:


First, we had AOP Overview by Ted Young1

Then it was Spring Security 3.0 integration with Struts 2 by Diana Fike2

Last we had Spring ROO with Flex by Bill Ott3

Back story: Sometimes it's hard to get speakers.

History: Living in Dallas Texas for the past decade has been an embarrassment of riches, as far as user's groups go. We have a hugely successful Java user's group (JavaMUG) that always gets 50 -100 people, and speakers line up for months to fly in from all over the country. Go figure.

There are always lots of smaller groups too, like the Spring user's group in the photos above. That has been going on for the past 5 years. Another example of the many groups is our new Groovy/Grails user's group.

Sometimes it's hard to get speakers though, not everyone wants to volunteer to prepare a 90 minute presentation on anything, that's a pretty big commitment.

New Idea: Volunteer for a 10 or 20 minute presentation only

Why didn't anyone think of this before? The leaders put it out that you don't have to speak for the whole meeting. Just put a little mini-presentation on the one thing you can do really well, already. People will want to know!

They got an immediate flood of responses, and the quality of the actual mini-presentations were extremely high, because the presenters only showed what they already knew very well, didn't have to make up a bunch of other fluff. Most importantly, everybody got a lot out of the meeting. 

Great success. Try it for your local group.