Attending after hours events on a hectic schedule might not be an easy thing, but I find it to be very rewarding.
Austin has many groups for different software packages as well as a general BIM group. I attend the local Revit and BIM Peer groups in Austin once a month. The following are the primary benefits / rewards.
Learning, even for the most experienced of users.
As a long time Revit user (12+ years) this is the one that initially surprised me the most. Every time I attend a meeting there’s always some little tid-bit I hadn’t encountered before. There’s always more to learn!
I find that teaching a subject helps reinforce and expand my knowledge of a topic. It’s also great practice at public speaking in a “safe” environment. The groups are very casual and can lend themselves to experimenting with delivery styles and topics. Get up there and volunteer your knowledge, or even just guide the discussion on a topic you’d like to learn more about.
Exposure to Innovative idea exchange
Great debate and knowledge sharing can yield surprisingly good new concepts and methods. There’s a very good chance that there are a dozen ways to achieve a certain desired outcome. Find out about the ones you haven’t encountered yet and add them to your toolbox.
Get to know your professional contemporaries and participate in your professional community. It’s always enlightening to hear about others success and challenges. You’ll be surprised at how small your community is even in larger cities. I feel like I know most of the firms in Austin just due to the variety of participants. I’ve made lasting friendships and meet new folks all the time.
Get out there and participate – for everyone’s benefit!