This year marks my fifth appearance at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition. I am always excited to connect with great people and learn from amazing HRCI-certified speakers; however, I want to remind everyone that great networking and learning can happen on the exposition-hall floor.
When I worked as a Human Resources generalist, I was often suspicious of anyone who tried to sell me something. It didn’t matter if you had a product or service that could make my life easier — I didn’t believe you. I had this vague and naive notion that every encounter with a sales leader was an opportunity an opportunity to get ripped off or yanked around.
And I was wrong, especially when it comes to the expo-hall floor.
The SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition challenges Human Resources technology and services providers to showcase the best of the best. The booths are always amazing and the swag is pretty fun. More importantly, the people who work those booths are steeped in a tremendous amount of knowledge and ready to share their thoughts and ideas about how to improve the future of Human Resources. What you’ll find — if you take two seconds and talk to the people who work at those booths — is that the vendor community is full of Human Capital Management experts who understand the intersection of business, money and talent management.
And they just want to share their ideas and establish a relationship. That’s it.
Will you get a hundred annoying phone calls after SHRM if you share your business card? Probably. But what’s worse — getting annoying phone calls from people who have a passion for Human Resources, or getting a bunch of calls from angry applicants, candidates and employees who are dissatisfied with your HR delivery mechanisms?
I’m no fan of schlocky sales and marketing professionals, but I do love the vendors and Human Capital leaders who come to the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition. Are they there to sell me something? Sure. But they know that a sale won’t be made on the expo-hall floor. They are looking to form relationships, talk about big ideas and understand how they can help you.
That’s not so bad, is it?