Whew! I made through SHRM22! I networked (so many people), I connected (and reconnected), I learned (a lot), I ate (too much), I drank (just enough), I danced (badly), I had a terrifying ghostly experience at my hotel (but that’s for another blog). So now what?
Connect on LinkedIn!
I gathered all the business cards I collected during the event and followed up with those valuable contacts. The best place to find those folks was on LinkedIn, where most professionals have come to expect connection requests post-conference. Remember to write a personalized note so they are able to connect the dots on how you met. I began many of my connection requests with “We met in the Certification Lounge” or “We met in the food line, and I complimented your dress” or something like that to jog their memory. You’d be surprised at how often these contacts will come in handy if you’re utilizing your network regularly.
If you really bonded with someone don’t hesitate to send them a text message or give them a call directly.
Download Presentation Decks
SHRM sent attendees out a link to download the presentation decks that were provided by the speakers. Make sure you have all the decks you found to be helpful and if you’re missing any, you can also reach out to the speaker directly via LinkedIn ask them to email the presentation to you, you never know unless you ask!
If you’ve made a contact that might benefit another contact, make the introduction. As you build your network, you should always be looking for ways to help others build their own. Nothing beats a vetted introduction!
I love visiting the Expo hall for just this reason! Even if I personally can’t use the services or products of a vendor, or maybe I’m not the “decision maker” at my organization, doesn’t mean that I don’t know someone who might need exactly what they offer! I met so many awesome vendors, learned about some amazing new technology, and made some great connections in the Expo hall. It’s more than just swag!
Put What You Learned Into Practice
If you deciphered all your notes and did a “brain-dump” in the first few days post-conference, then you have everything you need to put what you learned into practice. Revisit your notes and ask yourself these questions:
• What resonated with you most?
• How can you use that information to do your job better?
• Did the conference make you realize that you have a skill, talent, process, or technology gap?
• What are the concrete steps you can take to use the learnings to improve?
Pass Along Knowledge
Chances are that your budget only let you send one person from your team to the conference when others on the team could have benefited. Share key learnings with those who couldn’t attend and could benefit. Write a brief recap, create a PowerPoint presentation, or set up a lunch-n-learn session. Or you could easily share relevant presentation decks and draft an email with a bulleted list of useful takeaways. Knowledge is power!
Some of the most amazing innovations I’ve seen have come from post-conference follow up where I was able to connect my team with the team of another organization. One year after HR Florida’s State Conference, I connected with the team at Chick-fil-A because they have an amazing onboarding and training program for new hires. I wanted to learn more, so my team connected with theirs and boy did we learn a lot! If you connected with an organization that is doing really amazing things and you’d love to implement something similar, reach out and see if you can get your teams together. Have them present how they are doing what they’re doing and how your team can implement something similar in your organization. Often something even better comes out of these meetings with everyone sharing ideas and results.
And remember, the conference does not have to end the day you check out of your hotel and go home. Keep the conversation going on social media. SHRM22 has dedicated hashtags #SHRM22, and #CausetheEffect that attendees are encouraged to use when they tweet or share insights and learnings during the conference. These conversations often continue post-conference! Even if you didn’t use a single social channel or the hashtag during the conference, searching the hashtag afterwards is a great way to identify HR professionals who will continue to provide great content. Follow those who interest you (like the #SHRMInfluencers) for continued learning!
Let’s connect, find me on LinkedIn, let’s share what we learned!
See you next year for #SHRM23 in Vegas!