“The more seriously you take your growth, the more seriously your people will take you.” –John Maxwell
With less than a week to go, I am getting PUMPED for the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition! I first attended SHRM Annual Conference in 2018 when it was in Chicago. I make no secret that it was a transformative experience for me!
If you’re attending for the first time, let me say, you made an awesome decision! You will have an opportunity to be one of the thousands of industry professionals to learn from HR experts and innovators on employment law and legislation, strategic management, leadership development, and global HR practices. You’ll learn about real-world tools involving compensation and benefits, talent management, and diversity and inclusion. You’ll make new friends, connection with old ones, and bring home so much swag!
If you’re attending for the second, third, or tenth time, SHRM Annual Conference is an experience like no other in the HR profession. Here are the top five things I am looking forward to most when I attend #SHRM19!
1. Connecting with old friends. I met SO many awesome people at SHRM National in 2018. Luckily, I had the luck to stay in contact with most of them. I not only gained network connections, but more importantly, I gained valuable friendships. In addition, several longtime friends and mentors of mine will also be attending. I cannot wait to hangout with and build upon our shared connections with Claire Petrie, Jeff Pally, Mary Williams, Anthony Paradiso, Kyra Matkovich, Steve Browne, Erich Kurschat, Michael Mullady, John Newton, Keith Enochs, and so many others!
2. Meeting new friends. Attending #SHRM19 means I get to relive the #SHRM18 experience all over again! Attending a conference with 20,000 attendees means I have A LOT MORE PEOPLE TO MEET! And I cannot wait to meet IRL – in real life – so many new people! Like the old saying goes, strangers are just friends you haven’t yet met! Hey, Jon Thurmond, Wendy Dailey, Karlyn Borysenko, Michlle Kohlhof, Laurie Ruettimann, Diane Fennig, Nicole Roberts, Mary Kaylor, Sarah Purcell, the #SHRM19Bloggers, and so many more people I won’t know until I know, see you soon!!!
3. The vendor exposition. When I first walked through the McCormick Place doors in Chicago, I followed all the signs for the Vendor Showcase. IT. WAS. AMAZING. I mean, truly amazing. Vendors as far as the eyes could see! Swag as far as the eye could see! But seriously, this is your opportunity to learn directly from vendors about how their products can add value and have an impact in your workplace. Take this opportunity to collect as many ideas and business cards as you can. Also, try to make the opening of the showcase. SHRM provides snacks and beverages that help fuel your steps and get you over your nerves (if you have any)!
4. Social media fun. #Hashtags are #fun! #SeriouslyFun! As I became more #active on #socialmedia professionally, I saw how interactive the #HR community truly is on social platforms. Interacting on social media during the conference completely enhanced the experience for me. I would send quotes out in real time of presenters I was listening to. I would use the #SHRM18 hashtag after every tweet. Others at the show would do the same, and we’d comment on each other’s posts and connect that way. It was a way to disseminate info quickly, again in real time, and connect with people who were learning in the same room as you! I saw what my friends were learning, I saw where they were going, and what they had planned. It helped add another level of fun to the event. I highly recommend recording your experience through social media – not as a narcissistic endeavor to draw attention to yourself, but as a way to build connections with like-minded people experiencing the same event!
5. Presentations & social events. Last but certainly not least, one of the most important reasons HR professionals attend conferences is the amazing presentations! Professional development is not a luxury for HR. Professional development is a necessity in today’s world. The only way HR can prove they belong at the table with other leaders is through learning and growth. There are hundreds of sessions to attend over the three and a half days to accomplish your own unique growth needs. Some of the ones I’m overly excited to see include Zen Your Workplace by Dr. Karyln Borysenko, People Analytics for Beginners by Giovanni Everduin, and When Looks Deceive: Detecting and Accommodating Invisible Disabilities by Lara de Leon. In addition, there are so many social and networking events that are worth attending, including regional and state SHRM meetups, #NextChat Reception, the Certification Party, and so much more! The networking done at these events will go a long way in building a knowledge and resource base that will allow HR professionals to deliver amazing results at their organizations!
Again, congrats on your decision to attend #SHRM19! You will have so much fun learning, networking, and growing as an HR professional. The SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition has something for everyone!