More than any other software ecosystem, what makes WordPress unique is the community. You don’t see Microsoft Word or Google Doc groups getting together. But WordPress meetups are the real deal.
There are more than 500 WordPress meetups around the world. That’s some serious community. And it means you’re not alone.
It’s time to break out of your bubble and check out a WordPress meetup.
Let’s Get Together
We’ve been talking about “Go Far Together” at iThemes. It was our theme for 2014, and it’s all about helping one another out.
Helping one another out defines the WordPress community. It’s why this software is free and why the open source community continues to churn out updates, themes and plugins. There’s an entire economy built around this software, because it’s not here for its own gain.
What better way to be a part of that community than to show up? Check out a WordPress meetup near you and meet some local WordPress peeps.
How WordPress Meetups Can Help You
Yes, “Go Far Together” is all about helping everyone. But how do WordPress Meetups help you? Let’s be selfish for a moment, because as a business owner with bills to pay, you have to be.
- Connect – Attending a local WordPress meetup is a way to connect with your local community. You can make contacts, network, make your presence known and more.
- Find Work – Connecting with your local WordPress community and being available is a great way to find work. People can’t send work your way if they don’t know you exist. And sometimes they won’t remember to send work your way unless you’re at the top of their mind. There’s no better way to do that than to show up.
- Get Help – Rarely does anyone work alone. We all need help from time to time, whether it’s a sub-contractor or a future employee. Connecting at a WordPress meetup is a great way to discover local talent and find the specific help you need for your projects.
- Be Informed – If you want to be in the know, you have to show up. By connecting and interacting with local WordPress people you can know what’s going on before everyone else does. Learn about new plugins, developments and other exciting stuff. Be involved.
Practical Help for WordPress Meetups
We all know networking is good for business. But that doesn’t mean we’re all good at networking. Sometimes we need a little help breaking out of our bubble. The good news is a WordPress meetup is likely to have other folks like you. This isn’t the professional networker’s group where everyone is an extrovert.
Here are some tips to make the most of your WordPress meetup:
- Introduce Yourself – Don’t be a wallflower. Walk up to people and say hello. Exchange names and find out what they do. It’s a little nerve wracking at first, but WordPress meetups are about meeting people, so it’s not weird to introduce yourself. You won’t be the only one breaking out of their comfort zone.
- Ask Questions – If you’re nervous about what to say, ask questions. Let other people talk. Being curious about other people and interested in what they do will make a good impression.
Bring Business Cards – You probably don’t want to lead with your business card, but still bring them. You’ll undoubtedly meet people you want to stay in touch with and the classic business card is still the best way to do it.
- Stalk People – OK, you don’t really want to be a stalker, but sometimes it helps to do a little research. A lot of meetup groups have a public attendance list and you can see who’s going to be there. If you’re looking to connect with ecommerce experts or theme gurus, do some quick Googling of the list and see if there are people you need to meet. Say hello on Twitter before the event and let them know you’d love to connect. If you don’t run into them at the event, just ask around.
- Volunteer – If you’re having trouble connecting with people, there’s nothing like volunteering to get you in. Suddenly you’re on the inside, helping plan the event and meeting the movers and shakers. And that brings us to our final point.
Help Out a WordPress Meetup
Organizing a WordPress meetup is no small feat. The volunteers making it happen are giving of themselves for the greater good. So consider helping them out. We’ve written an entire ebook about How to Run a WordPress Meetup, so whether you’re just helping out or you find yourself running a group, you’ll get some good advice.
Do More With a WordCamp
You should also watch for a WordCamp in your area. These events are more like a one-time conference than a monthly WordPress meetup, but it’s another example of the WordPress community getting together in person. WordCamps offer a more in-depth experience than a WordPress meetup, but all the same insights apply.
Go Far Together
The growth of WordPress from just another blog platform a decade ago to running 20% of the Internet today has been incredible. But what’s even more amazing is the community behind that growth. WordPress meetups are a way to see that community in real life.
So check out your local WordPress meetup, make some new friends, build connections and go far together.