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Learn by Lecturing

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.

It seems that there should be a third option; Those who know, introduce others to the topic.

As some readers know, I run the monthly meetings for the Columbia Area Linux Users Group located in Maryland. I want to share with you the most difficult part of my job, and that of most of the leaders of other such SIGs, computer and otherwise. That is of finding speakers for the meetings.

Sometimes the meetings are open discussion and those are fun and a good way to socialize. However, LUG meetings tend to be more interesting when there is a central topic to discuss at the meeting. This normally comes in the form of a speaker speaking on a topic of interest to the group. These are not always Linux specific, but can be topics of interest to those who are IT inclined and attend such meetings.

All of us know something of interest to the rest of the group. Be willing to share that information with your friends at the meetings. Volunteer to speak to the group. You will find it a rewarding experience as the groups are not judgmental on presentation skills and are willing to help novice speakers improve their skills.

Have you been learning a new program? Teach the group about it, some members might even have knowledge of it that expands your use of it. Do you want to practice a talk you are giving at a conference? Contact your local LUG, they’ll be happy to listen to your draft. (Side benefit: You won’t be cramming the hours before the conference presentation creating your slides, just you’ll just be modifying them!) Did your talk proposal get rejected for a conference? Come give it to the LUG and we’ll let you know what you might do to improve your chances at getting accepted next time!

So take the initiative and contact the coordinator of your meetings and volunteer to give a talk. They tend not to be too picky about the topic as long as it will be of interest to most of the group (i.e., a LUG is not the best place to give a presentation about knitting). Not a member of a LUG? Contact the one closest to you, they all welcome newcomers, even if you just attend!

If you’re in my area, our meetings are the second Wednesday of the month and I have the next few months open and will welcome any relevant speaker volunteers.