Do you code? Do you tinker? Do you work with other like minded geeks? Do you want to get involved with Technical Communities, but aren’t into User Groups? Do you want to look like this!? Well, I think I can help (well, except with the last point).

Start your own Internal Tech Community! How you say? Easy? How you say again? Let’s break it down:

  1. Talk is cheap (as am I), so instead of standing around the Cafe-Bar all day talking about starting an Internal Tech Community (ITC), just book the internal board room, use a confidence scam to squeeze some pizza out of your boss, and then send a meeting request out to the whole company!
  2. Pick the Top 10 tech bits that have happened over the past few weeks and bullet point them on a slide deck. Trust me, if you aren’t passionate and interested about your topic, it’s presentation is going to stink like Roquefort! Instead of trying to go all high-brow, keep it slick, fun and interesting. If doesn’t have to burn on for 180 minutes, if it’s just 10 minutes long and rocks the house, that’s all the matters.
  3. Encourage conversation. Don’t stand up in front of everyone and just blah blah blah. Say something, ask the crowd a question, get some feedback, engage them; everyone loves to have their say, it’s just that not everyone feels like blurting it out in front of a crowd. Elicit their participation, it not only gets a good vibe going, it also takes the heat of you.
  4. Don’t get despondent if your first session is only you and me (yes, if you decide to hold an internal ITC meeting in Melbourne; then I promise to work with you to setup a date and I’ll come along and play the fool while you do all the hard work :)). The key to staying upbeat about poor turnouts is to do what I do…just delude yourself (also keep telling yourself, at least Mum thinks I’m cool!).
  5. Frequency is the key. You don’t have to have it every month, start slow, maybe have a meeting once every two months. But make sure you lock in at least 6 sessions in advance, so people have ample warning to prepare to meet, and for those who are game, time to prepare to speak.
  6. It’s not all about presenting. Not at all. Sometimes it’s just to meet everyone in your unit, a chance to swap stories, catch-up, or just socialise.

But not wanting to paint the glorious portrait of a truly hot and heavy Geek Love’fest, there are some cons to the ole’ ITC meeting:

  1. It can get hard to enrol others to do your bidding, especially with regards to speaking. Send out an invite for people to speak at the next ITC meeting, and you may end up hearing nothing but crickets.
  2. Content drought. Sometimes, there just isn’t anything to say. But that’s the perfect time to invite the MD to give a guest presentation on something business related; like when everyone is getting that 10% raise they promised last FY ;)

And finally, what can your local Evangelist do for you?

  1. Help with meetings and guest presentations
  2. Get you hooked up with internal content
  3. Organise some food, drink and giveaways

Who is my local Evangelist?

Developers

Architects (All States and Territories)

IT Pros (All States and Territories)

If you’re located in a State of Territory not listed above, contact any of us, as I’m sure we’d be more than happy to discover a new jurisdiction!

So there you go, just a few tips to get started. Let me know how you go :)