I’ve been making an effort to regularly attend local meetups. I was a member on meetup.com for over a year before I built up the courage to go to my first meetup. It was a slow process, but I now I really can’t recommend it enough.
My most regular meetup here in Perth is called Fenders. Fenders is a meetup for front end developers but it does a great job of welcoming everyone from the local web industry to attend. So far I’ve attended casual catchups, a women’s only event, workshops, talks and pub crawls. Not only is my social calendar looking up, it’s also been great getting to know the local community; I never knew it was so big and so friendly!
After attending the first birthday of Fenders this week, I thought it would only be appropriate to point out some of the things I’ve realised by attending meetups like Fenders.
When you attend a meetup, you know everyone is there for the same reason – to socialise. Naturally, this means that the ice is already half broken. It also helps that at a meetup, there’s a high chance that you share a common interest with the other attendees.
We all generally have a genuine interest in the work that we do and sometimes its nice to be able to talk shop with people who feel similarly. Outside of work, I don’t get a lot of opportunity to talk about any ideas or thoughts I might have at the time. This means that unless I spend a significant time writing, a lot of these thoughts and ideas stay in my mind. It has been nice to be able to verbalise these thoughts and get other people’s perspectives and opinions on them.
I am probably the most awkward person on earth. I think I may have gone to a traditional networking event at one stage but I don’t actually remember it because I may have blocked the experience out of my mind. Unlik this, meetups have a casual, social feel to them and while they essentially are a sort of networking event, they definitely don’t feel like one.
Not every time, but most times, I come away from a meetup with a renewed sense of excitement. Usually, this is after speaking with someone who exudes passion and motivation for what they’re doing at the time. I also feel this way after learning something new and I can’t wait to rush home and try it out myself.
Speaking on learning, some meetups also organise small workshops and small talks to share knowledge. These are a great way to learn new things from your peers. It’s also great because the learning environments are usually super intimate. You can have a one on one conversation with those who are taking the time to share their knowledge if you need clarification. You also learn a lot just from talking with the other attendees.
Now, seriously. Go forth and meetup! If you’re from Perth, you can find out more about Fenders on meetup.com (their website is currently down) or find meetups in your local area on the Meetup website!
Meetups are becoming really popular these days because there is actual value in attending them. They're a great way to meet your local community, learn things and stay motivated.