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Experimenting with a New STC Chapter Meeting Model

by Tom Johnson on Jun 28, 2010
categories: technical-writing

Our Intermountain STC chapter recently did something different for our meetings. Instead of the monthly meeting that takes place at an always-distant location in the evening, we held a half-day event on a Friday afternoon with three presentations in a row focused on a theme. Surprisingly, it worked quite well. We had probably double the number of people who normally attend our evening meetings.

Lots of people showed up for our half-day e-learning event.

I'm quite excited about this new model. One advantage over the evening meetings is the driving-time-to-value ratio. With a typical evening meeting, for the hour + time you spend traveling, you hear only one presentation. With our half-day event, you listen to three presentations for that same one hour of driving time.

Meeting during the afternoon of a weekday also works much better for most members' schedules, especially members with families. No one likes to leave their families in the evenings to go attend a work-related professional development event. But leaving work early on a Friday for the event, getting to bill the event as training -- and still returning home to your family at 6 p.m. -- is a much better deal.

Even though we had just one recorded webinar and two presentations, the attendees felt the event had high value. One person said if the chapter would keep putting events on like this, he surely would renew.

Part of the success was Joe Christensen's highly mesmerizing presentation on e-learning project analysis. I'll type up my notes on some of his stories in another post. He gave me a lot to think about.

Joe Christensen mesmerized us with stories about e-learning projects that racked up millions in cost only to find the initial project analysis was flawed.

This new meeting model is something our chapter is definitely embracing. I can see us scheduling even more presentations, such as every 30 or 45 minutes, and holding the event every other month. Our theme for the afternoon was e-learning. For our next meeting, someone suggested that we focus on graphics.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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