I think the most important benefit of meetups for me personally is the social skills practice. At a meetup this past evening, we paired to do a bowling kata. My partner was just starting out, which forced me to talk more to explain things. Her inexperience seemed to make it easier to connect. I stumbled and probably didn’t teach well, but it was good for me.
At the end, I presented what we had done. I was very anxious standing up and talking in front of the perhaps 15 others there. Due to a lack of a video adapter, I couldn’t show my code, so had to describe it in more detail. I stumbled and probably didn’t explain things well. But it was good for me.
There was a certain good feeling I had afterward, even before the anxiety wore off. Usually I say very little at these things. I’m going to have to try to push myself to focus on this important benefit, my social abilities.