Starting your own Tableau User Group can seem daunting, especially for those with no prior experience of organising events (never mind a Tableau User Group!). The Tableau Community is known as being an enthusiastic bunch of people who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help their fellow tableau-ers! So how to create a local community they will want to participate in?
The Copenhagen Tableau User Group became active again in April 2016, and below are three of my key learnings
- Understand your audience. Some people want to listen to presentations, others want to play an active role in the event, and some want to learn something practical they can use the next day. Not everyone will want to do all three. Most coming to an event are beginner-intermediate and can be intimidated by the very advanced users. On the day, talk to as many people as you can, and invite people individually to be presenters. For those who get in touch to cancel, invite them to the next event. We ask additional questions on Eventbrite regarding experience level, and will continue to experiment with questions so we can help understand our audience better. We are looking to include more ice-breaker tasks to encourage more networking within the TUG.
- Get inspired. Not sure about what to present? Take a look at other user groups, and ask questions on the Tableau User Group board. Contact Tableau to find out if there are any consultants in the area around the time you’d like to run an event. The User Group Newsletter contains many helpful links and suggestions that can be used. And if you are stuck, look at the material from the Tableau Conferences to see if you can re-use any presentations for your user group. Another great resource is Meeting in a Box. We vary our content so that sometimes it’s a hands-on session, other times it’s a group challenge (like Makeover Monday), and sometimes it’s presentations about how Tableau is used, or complimentary tools. Our experience is, we get better feedback, but a lower turnout, for the events where it’s a group challenge, or where more networking is involved.
- Delegate responsibility. There are many aspects to running a successful event and they all take time to get right! This includes, finding speakers, a date, venue, refreshments, making the announcements, handling event registration, advertising, timing on the day, tasks after the event, etc. Find other local Tableau users or event organisers who can help (e.g., logistics, advertising), so that you can do what you are good at.
- There are many great blog posts on how to create communities (too many to mention). Here are some resources I used at the start:
Organising a TUG is rewarding, and you'll meet people you would never have met any other way. It's very rewarding to see a room full of people discussing how they use Tableau, or trading tips and tricks in a friendly atmosphere. Sometimes parts of the event don't quite work as expected, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. Just learn from it, and try something new next time.