As some say, when life throws lemons at you, you end up learning to make and like lemonades! So just about a decade ago, in 2012, when serendipity offered me the opportunity to cover world's largest HR conference on my social media handles as an SHRM12 Blogger, I considered it as pure luck / coincidence. Later, a series of life events (I have blogged about some of them) made me to belive that we have the power, as humans, to design for serendipity.
Tough to believe? I shall explain...
So, after having attended about 4 HR conferences every year in the last decade, (Thats over 40 events!) I have seen that large congregations of committed humans with some 'common-interest' can create this amazing possibility for Win-Win results for the 'contributors' among the congregation / gathering. So, next month, when SHRM is giving me yet another chance to attend the SHRM22 live at New Orleans alongside the SHRM22Influencers, here is a humble attempt to dig into those years to give some reasons why professionals can consider attending physical HR conferences, taking SHRM annual itself as an example, as it's undoubtedly the largest congregation of HR folks anywhere in the world.
1. Humans are social animals, and social feeling is enhanced in person, much more than in virtual world. This I realised when COVID-19 prevented me from attending last year's SHRM Annual conference at Las Vegas real time. Although I had open access to the learning content as a SHRM21 Influencer, the charm of greeting new faces, hugs that follow catching up or bumping into old friends, took the real fun away. Being in a different time zone in India also made it difficult for me to really connect to the event.
2. Evolution has enabled us humans to learn faster and better when the learning enabling object / event is in close proximity. This is how the brain has developed over the years, from the cave-dwelling Hunter-gather days via tribes along the continent-conquering journey that Homo-sapiens have undertaken. This is more so for cases when the experience is happening for the first time. This explains why Hybrid work will suit existing employees and can disconnect new-joiners from any work place.
3. Serendipity is better employed in a real life setting, much more than in virtual formats, as in Face-to-face interactions, there tends to be more surprise / chance events that tend to happen. Just last week, I got some exciting enquiries about Employer Branding approaches of mine from a friend who happened to be at the SHRM India's Technology conference. I was meeting this friend after over 2 years.
4. The Technology tools, enabled by the Internet has given us more easier ways to stay connected to the network of friends with whom we may have first met at a physical conference - forming life long, learning enhancing friendships and relationships. These too, work better in the real time to physical - making a stronger case for In-person interactions.
I can go on and on - but I will close this post with just this question. If its a selfie you are after, would you pick a real life one or a virtual one?
So head over to SHRM's website to register and attend this year's Annual conference which is happening on 12-15th of June 2022 at New Orleans.
Here are the links to find more details of the conference - This year's theme is 'Cause the Effect' and I just love it. Have always believed that HR can catalyse Cause-the-effect designs for diverse business results.
Rates and offers
I'm looking forward to some special #SHRM22Selfie moments soon.