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Cover image for Why is it worth to attend local meetups?

Why is it worth to attend local meetups?

iamarek profile image Arkadiusz Chatys ・3 min read

In April 2019, I've moved from a medium-sized city in Poland to London, one of the biggest cities in Europe, with really big front-end community.

One of the first things that I've started to explore, was attending front-end meetups. Recently I started to wonder what is it about meetups, that makes me still want to attend?

I'll try to write down a few reasons. I'm really curious what are your reasons for attending meetups or what keeps you away from attending them?

Why do I attend local meetups?

1. I mean... who doesn't like free pizza, right?

Free pizza

I'm obviously joking, as it's the least important part, but it's always nice to treat yourself with a complimentary slice of pizza and drink. It truly helps to gather people in one space and start a bit of networking (I'll get back to networking a bit later though).

2. Inspire vs Learn

Inspiration

It may sound weird but I'm not looking for new knowledge there. I look for inspiration. People have great ideas, they are passioned about what they do. It gives you a kick of positive energy to explore new things, to try harder, to find new ways of enjoying it.

3. What's trending?

Trenidng

Attending local meetups can help you understand current trends and what's popular at the moment (React Hooks were on the list of almost every single meetup I attended in last few months, so were PWAs last year). Thanks to that, you can try to follow the new technologies and stay up to date

Don't treat it too serious though! Solid knowledge of JavaScript is more important than some trending framework, which we will all forget about in 2 years.

4. Learn how to speak in public

public speaking

If you ever thought about public speaking, the first step can be to attend local meetups and observe the speakers. How do they talk? What's their body language? How does their slide deck look like? When the crowd seems to be more interested? What tricks do they use to engage people? What mistakes did they make?

5. Just doing something different for a change

no money

It's just something different, then watching Netflix, going to the pub with friends or playing sports. It doesn't require any effort from you and it doesn't cost you a dime. Might come handy when the payday is far away and you already spent your budget for entertainment that month.

6. Tell your colleagues about something cool!

respect

Surprise your work friends with some cool new thing you've seen on meetup and gain those RESPECT POINTS.

Networking?

networking

I promised to get back to that topic, and I purposely haven't put number 7 next to the title. Networking is something that you can try to do during meetups, but I find it surprisingly difficult. Part of the problem is definitely that I'm a massive introvert and I find it uncomfortable and stressful to speak to people I don't know. If there's one pro tip that I can give people like me is, try to come to the conference a few minutes after the doors are open. There will be most likely only a couple of people, not too many so it's easier to start talking to someone, but at the same time, you won't be sitting there alone waiting for other people to come.

Which meetups do I attend?

There are few meetups that I genuinely like and I think people who organise them are doing a great job, so if you are currently living in London, I highly recommend those meetups:

https://www.frontendlondon.co.uk/

https://www.meetup.com/js-monthly/

https://meetup.react.london/

What are your reasons [to attend]/[not to attend] local meetups?
What are your favourite meetups in your town?

Posted on by:

iamarek profile

Arkadiusz Chatys

@iamarek

Front end dev from Poland based in London, UK.

Discussion

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In local meetups I have space to confront the speaker, questioning and interacting directly in the moment. There may be some real world not curated experience from other developers from their day to day work. These may help a lot more than curated talks that serve more as an spectacle than knowledge sharing.

 

I'm an introvert as well, and not very comfortable being in a roomful of strangers. That said, my favorite meetup, and the only one I attend, is the local LUG (Linux Users Group). I don't attend very many meetings, as most of the topics are too advanced for me. One that I recently attended was on how to set up and use an Arduino to control a model railroad.

Discussing advanced topics is also one of the reasons I don't attend other meetups, as well as many of them being scheduled at times when I can't attend.

 

Hi! Thanks for sharing this. I remember that few of the first meet-ups I attended to back in the days were way more advanced for me. Although it only gave me more motivation and guided me into direction of what to learn. I’d recommend to try those advanced topics anyway. Even if you have no clue what they talk about!

 

As another introvert, I’ve found it quite valuable that when I do manage to strike up a conversation with someone at a meetup, I try to exchange social network or personal website details with them. Great way to make friends, find new meetups to attend through your new networks, and widen your horizons further!

It seems to also be popular these days that meetups have some sort of messaging platform, e.g. on Slack or Discord. That can also be an introvert-friendly way to get involved and explore what else is happening.