It's happening - now, people are arriving for #SHRM16. Pre-conferences events are underway on Saturday. The journey has begun for many. But, what is all of the buzz, the excitement, the hype? I have been asked by so many folks, "So, what is the big deal about this conference?" I am not really sure how to answer this.
Perhaps there is no one answer. The Big Show, as I like to call it, is so many things to so many people. What people get from the event or takeaway is such a personal thing, it is hard to pin it down to five bullet points.
I have attended a number of other events that are similar in size but are not quite as large. I have attended the National Convention of State Legislatures (NCLS) with my wife as a tag along. The NCSL events I attended had 12K+ attendees. Last year, I attended an industry event called the International Dairy-Deli-Bake (IDDBA) Seminar & Expo in Atlanta, which had 10K+ attendees and hundreds of exhibitors. Both NCSL and IDDBA are the biggest shows for their industry segments, but just do not have the vibe or energy that I get from the SHRM National Conference.
If I distill this down to its base elements, I guess the thing about the Big Show that makes it so different is either the people putting on the show, the people attending the show, or both. Today, for me, the vibe began at St. Louis Lambert Field. Although I live about 90 miles from the airport, I ran into two people from my home town who were on my flight.
As I write this post, the lady in the row behind me is talking to her seat mate about HRCI. She was friends with two other people sitting behind her. When we land at Reagan, this community will explode to include many more folks. It is SHRMie and HR peeps taking over the town. The last time the Big Show was in Chicago, there were banners on Mag Mile welcoming SHRM. That's kind of like, “Yeah, we own it!”
I can't put into words what this "vibe" is, but it is there and everybody knows it. See if you can figure this out, and spell it out for me, because I can't seem to get it into words.
For more information and to attend SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition, visit www.annual.shrm.org.