Five Ways to Get the Most out of SHRM Annual Conference 2014

The huge annual Human Resources event is here!  Thousands will gather next week in Orlando for the Annual SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Conference.  There are 10,000+ attendees, hundreds of speakers and more networking and information than you can possibly absorb in five days. 

So how do you get the most out of the conference?! 

Here’s our suggestions:

  1. Determine your INTENTION for attending.  Why are you going?  What do you want to walk away with at the end?  Once you answer those questions for yourself, use it as a filter for the event.  If your intention is to gather four specific resources for your team, maybe you spend more time in the expo hall than at the networking events.  If you’re there to re-vitalize and get inspired, maybe you seek out new topics at concurrent sessions that are new and offer a fresh perspective.  Your conference is your conference; it’s easy to get off-track with so many opportunities if you’re not on your own mission.
  2. Do your homework.  Once you have set your intention, go through the multitudes of material and plan where you want to go.  You may want to rank things in a couple categories like Absolutely Don’t Miss, Related Topic – Try to Get To, and Nice to Have – Looks Interesting.  All the others you may let slide by.  You can only be one place at a time, so schedule your top priorities first.
  3. Take great care of yourself.  It’s a long week, with a lot of stimulation.  Make sure you’re well cared for, whatever that is for you:  sleep, good food, water, getting to the gym, calling your kids, etc.  Make sure you are in top shape so you can take full advantage of the event.
  4. Do a few things differently.  It’s easy to get into a rut about how we attend events, so make a conscious point of doing something differently.  Sit up front if you always hang out in back.  Attend the keynote if you usually sleep in.  Go solo if you usually hang out with known colleagues.  Put your phone down and talk to your neighbor while you wait for the session to start.  New learning will appear if you open yourself up!
  5. Be fully present and allow for serendipity.  With all the paths converging in one spot at the conference, it’s impossible to plan for all the magic that can happen.  Stay present, stay open, stay alert, and allow serendipity to take you down a path you didn’t expect.

Have FUN everyone!

…and keep your eye out…  I’ll be speaking on Coaching Skills for HR Professionals at the Pre-Conference on Sunday.  Come get your HR re-certification credits, or just come say hello! 

~ Maren