In less than a month, individuals will be heading to Washington, D.C. to attend the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference. This will be my 16th straight SHRM Annual Conference, and, based on my years of experience, here are the things you do NOT want to do while attending.
Do NOT avoid drinking water.
AccuWeather predicts temperatures in the high 80s/low 90s (Farenheit) during the conference. Given the significant amount of walking you're likely to do as well as the arctic temperatures inside the convention center to counteract the heat, you'll need all the H20 you can handle. Bring a portable water bottle and keep it filled and by your side at all times.
Do NOT suffer from SWAG remorse.
The exhibit hall is going to open at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, and you are going to be tempted by every vendor with some sort of gee-gaw or doo-dad that you absolutely have to bring back to the office. You may have already received an inch tall pile of vendor mail, and you've mapped out your strategy for maximizing your haul. You may have even packed light so that you have plenty of room in your suitcase for all the giveaways. It is free, right? You HAVE To grab it. Trust me, as a former victim, you will suffer from SWAG remorse. It may take a week....it may take a month, but you are going to look at that tote bag full of "goodies" you brought back and you are going to ask yourself why you grabbed that 7th t-shirt or 14th squeeze ball. Regret always tastes sour.
Do NOT just attend the sessions.
You're in the nation's capital. While there is much to learn in the convention center, your broader education can take place outside its walls. You have the Smithsonian, as well as the Air & Space Museum and the Newseum. And, of course, you have the sights. The Washington Monument. The Lincoln Memorial. I prefer the Jefferson Memorial.
Do NOT climb the fence outside the White House.
Just a suggestion.
Do NOT bring a rollerbag to the conference.
I have posted this several times since 2010, and people are still not listening. Rollerbags are the scourge of the exhibit hall. They get underfoot, and people are often unaware of the people behind them when toting it along. Don't be that person.
Do NOT get in the way.
You may think the exhibit hall is huge, but the rows are narrower than you think. If you see someone you know, step out of the way, so that others can traverse the area more freely. If people have to walk around you, you're doing it wrong.
Do NOT be Gwyneth Paltrow in "Contagion".
I know you are excited to be going to Washington, D.C. and hanging with 12,000+ of your favorite HR friends. You may have already spent significant dollars on travel, hotel, etc. However, if you are even remotely close to being ill, please consider staying home. It seems I get ill once every couple of years, and most likely I caught something from a sick person. So, do not be patient zero.
Do NOT buy your coffee at the Convention Center.
I know those vendors have paid high rent and are trying to earn a buck. However, the lines will rival that of the TSA as you fly to D.C. Get your caffeine fix at your hotel. Also, the Convention Center is located near a number of cafes.
Do NOT text or tweet and walk.
There will be 12,000+ individuals in attendance. When that General Session with Amy Cuddy or Mike Rowe lets out, you and all your new friends will simultaneously be trying to get out of the hall and head to the next session, the bathroom or to grab some coffee. Please do not start walking and stare down at your phone. I am excited that you have the Twitter, Facebook, or Hootsuite app, and you are using the #SHRM16 hashtag. But, inevitably, you will run into the back of someone. This will not be one of those "meet cute" scenarios you see in the movies. Instead, you will likely be called out because that person you just ran into will see your name on your badge.
Do NOT rush the door when exiting your SHRM Shuttle.
In the U.S., when exiting the SHRM shuttles, those in the front leave first and then the next row, and so on in an orderly fashion. Plowing from the back of the bus and pushing aside those in front of you is bad manners. You know we're living in a society...we're supposed to act in a civilized way.
Do NOT wear your SHRM Conference badge at night.
As SHRM notes, wearing your badge outside of the convention center will peg you as a visitor from out of town and a target for crime. Even worse, many of you will likely be heading to one of the bevy of parties that are out there. Bad behavior might ensue. Wearing your badge will likely make your name live in infamy as people mention your sordid exploits at future conferences. Try to drink in relative anonymity and leave your badge in your hotel room. Sight see, but do NOT be a sight seen.
So, what else would you tell attendees NOT to do? Leave a note below, or tweet your suggestion to #SHRM16Festivus.
Originally posted on the True Faith HR Blog.
For more information and to attend SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition, visit www.annual.shrm.org.