8 Things You Need To Do Before (and During!) the SHRM 2014 Annual Conference in Orlando - #SHRM14

It’s hard to believe that in just a few days the largest conference for human resources professionals will be taking place in Orlando, my hometown. SHRM Annual is a huge event and, for the first-time attendee, it can be a lot to take in. Who are we kidding – even for those of us who’ve been to SHRM Annual before – it can be a lot!

As you’re putting together your strategy for the conference, here are a few things to build into your schedule:

  1. Download the SHRM Conference app. Before you arrive, make sure you’ve downloaded the conference app to your mobile devices. This year’s app has some great new features including speaker slides. You can easily add the slides from the sessions you plan to attend right to “Your Briefcase” for easy access.  
  2. Attend conference orientation. Even if you’ve attended a SHRM Annual Conference before, conference orientation can tell you what’s new and give you a chance to meet new people. My friend Simon T. Bailey is hosting this year’s orientation session which is being held on Sunday, June 22 at 11a.
  3. Check out a session about SHRM’s competency model and new certification. If you’re currently a certified professional or looking to get certified, you’ll want to understand more about SHRM’s new certification. Alex Alonso PhD, vice president of research at SHRM, is doing two sessions on the subject. Don’t rely on the rumor mill for information. Get it straight from the source.
  4. Schedule your time but leave blocks open. I know I’ve mentioned several sessions you should try to attend, but don’t forget to leave yourself some time to wander around and explore. New this year is the Connection Zone which will play host to a series of short talks called the SmartStage. Definitely check that out. Yours truly is speaking on Monday, June 23 at 3p. Hope you’ll stop by and say hello!
  5. Visit the expo hall. The SHRM expo is filled with the latest products and services to make our jobs as HR pros easier. And if you’re into conference swag – this is the place. Seriously, the conference sponsors and exhibitors help to underwrite the cost of the event. They are the reason that SHRM is able to secure keynote speakers like Robin Roberts and host a welcome reception on Sunday night. Be sure to block some time in the hall.
  6. Find the SHRMStore. The bookstore is a great place to explore the latest thought leadership in our profession. It’s also the place for book signings. But conference goers use the bookstore as a place to meet. Trying to find a colleague during the event? Text them to meet you in front of the bookstore!
  7. Make connections using SHRM Connect. The SHRM Conference Community allows you to ask questions, get answers and connect with other conference attendees. Looking for an extra ticket to the Tim McGraw concert on Tuesday night? Trying to find a group of HR pros from your home state to have dinner with? This is the site to visit.
  8. Follow the hashtag #SHRM14. If you’re on Twitter, be sure to save the hashtag #SHRM14 to see what’s going on. If you’re not on Twitter, this is an excellent opportunity to test drive the social network. Create an account – it’s easy! – and stay on top of the latest. (Oh and if you’re not going to Orlando, the hashtag is a great way to see what’s happening from the comfort of your office.)

The most important thing you can do while attending the conference is take advantage of the learning. Whether that’s in the sessions, talking with exhibitors, or networking with colleagues. We look forward to having you in Florida. Safe travels!

To read more posts by Sharlyn Lauby, check out her blog: HR Bartender

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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