An Introverts Guide to #SHRM15

It’s that time of year again! 30,000 of the smartest people in HR will be heading to Sin City to talk employment policy, certification process, succession planning, performance management, employee engagement, hiring, firing and a whole lotta generational stereotyping. Indeed friends, #SHRM15 is upon us!

The 2015 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition is a superb opportunity to learn and network, but what if you aren’t keen on networking? Some of us would prefer to take in sessions, receive recertification credits and be left alone. You’ll see people in the deepest corridors of the convention center sitting on the group just to get away from the jabber for a moment while others will skip the VIP parties to get a good night’s rest. The wonderment of the HR world in 2015 is that you can take in every element of the conference without being overwhelmed by pushy sales people, those selling books or people looking for contract work.

Here’s how…..

You Don’t Have to Tweet to Twitter….

Did you know that Twitter is not just a vehicle for the Kardashians to update us on their daily grooming regiment? There is a world of highly skilled HR professionals who share real life experiences from the workforce trenches via twitter. You can find a number of them here:

Meet the #SHRM15 Bloggers

It takes two minutes to sign up for twitter and you need not post a single word or identify your profession to follow all the action from #SHRM15 (and the greater HR world). Try it… no one is going to stalk you or sell you anything and you need not address your public.

Go to Twitter and search the following:




#NextChat and @shrmnextchat



This will lead you to a conglomeration of mind-blowing HR thought leadership: articles, white papers, case studies, and blog entries written for HR Pros by HR Pros. All linked together by a # in front of the aforementioned search criteria.

The #SHRM15 hashtag will keep you update to date with all things at the SHRM annual conference in real time.   

Exhibitor Hall Strategy

Strangers in logoed shirts yelling at you can recall your dreaded summer experiences at the Coney Island Pier. I get it! But vendor sponsorship pays in large part for your education, so give the Exhibitor Hall a chance.

1.       Before you depart for Las Vegas identify just one unmet need that your HR Services Team can address.

2.       Use the SHRM app to find a group of vendors in that space while you’re on the plane.

3.       Commit to just one hour in the Exhibitor Hall to find your solution.

Consider the “vendor” a potential partner and treat them with respect (they are spending time away from their kids too).

If the associate cannot answer your question, leave.

If you get a snarky remark, leave.

If you get a person trying to pawn off a plastic robot, just to scan your badge, leave.

The process of elimination will be far easier to navigate than you think. There are a plethora of smart people in the Exhibitor Hall that can change the direction of your organization through your leadership. Be patient and find the answers.  

Eight Friends

You don’t need to collect 1,000 business cards. Find eight people with whom you genuinely feel a connection. You may meet them on the bus, sit next to them in a session or meet them at your hotel bar. Networking is about quality -- not quantity. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few informal advisors in your lonely HR world?

To Recap:

1.       Join Twitter and follow the action. Your organization will not fire you for doing so.

2.       Brave the Exhibitor Hall with focus and find a new partner.

3.       Meet two people a day with whom you genuinely identify.

I will be in the bloggers lounge, in sessions, by the pool and in a few seedy bars throughout the conference. Find me and I’ll give you a whole lot of FREE knowledge that you won’t need to stuff in your carry on.

See you in Vegas!

Dave Kovacovich



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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