The first five Society of Human Resource Management Annual Conferences that I attended found me at a booth in the Exhibitor Hall. It is a labor of love. You stand on your feet for 12 hours conducting conversations with people who may or may not be your ideal customer. The Exhibitor Hall is talked about in jest as swagville; the hard working sales people projected as unwilling to relinquish the sacred stuffed cows to non-customers. The Exhibitor Hall also presents an extraordinary opportunity to meet new companies and understand their product offerings. With the right research, and a focused navigation strategy, you can use 4 days on the floor to align yourself with companies that will revolutionize your HR strategy.
For those of you standing in the Exhibitor Hall under the booth lights in uncomfortable shirts, I know your pain! I can assure you, the investment will pay off!
At a certain point, I was afforded a break from our booth and I borrowed our CEO's badge to sit in on a session. The vibe was totally different. A cute little lady sat next to me and actually engaged me in conversation. I was behind enemy lines and it was glorious. I tapped into the mindset of my target market in the session and followed remote interaction on the topic via Twitter. My life was changed.
As salespeople, we mature by fine-tuning our craft. Once I sat in my customer's chair, my connection to them was revitalized. The SHRM Annual Conference has always been all about connecting.
At a SHRM conference in San Diego years ago I met a ton of people who further inspired me. They were covering the conference via social media. These people were a collection of writers, HR Pros, and consultants... and they were all Punk Rock! I was again shrouded in glory.
Having now attended the last several SHRM annual conferences as a member of the aforementioned Blog Squad, I have seen this conference from every angle. The greatest lesson I have learned is that among the 30,000 people rummaging through the world's largest conference halls there are a diversity of avenues through which to be inspired.
I don't believe there is a more important organizational function than that of Human Resources. The HR profession has a variety of sub-functions: Tech, Policy, Training, Hiring, Performance Management, Employee Engagement, Succession Planning.... It's all on display at the SHRM Annual Conference and it is yours to behold.
You can use your time at the conference to gain credits and collect stuffed cows, or you can use the experience to change your life..... It worked for me!
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