I have been fortunate to have been able to attend the national SHRM conference twice. I have a boss who feels education is important and encourages all his employees to attend national conferences in their field. I asked on a whim for SHRM 14 (Orlando) & learned a lot, though I was completely overwhelmed. So many people, sessions, so much walking! I kept to myself for the most part, but did reach out & got a ride to the HRCI certification party. I ended up meeting 2 ladies that were staying at the same hotel and we hung out for most of the rest of the conference. I was fairly new to the HR Twitter world. I knew a few names. And here’s my one BIG regret from that conference: I knew who Steve Browne was from Twitter. At one point at the conference, I found myself sitting near him on one of the couches near the bookstore. And you all know what you are supposed to do when you see Steve, right? Just start talking because he will engage. And do you know what I did? Yup:
I sat & listened to him talk to someone else for a while, then I got up & walked away. Guys, I WALKED AWAY FROM STEVE. I know. I know.
I went back to SHRM in 2016 when it was in DC. My ulterior motive was be able to see my good friend Diane who was living there, but the conference did take up most of my time.
I went into #SHRM16 with different motives. I knew I would learn a few things from the sessions, but what I really wanted to leave with was connections. Meeting people I knew on Twitter IRL. Because in the long run, that’s what will last from these conferences, the people you meet and cultivate relationships with.
My goal was 10 new people each day. That is a Big Audacious Goal for me. But as a recruiter, I knew that you have to meet a lot of people to make some connections. So I joined for the Facebook group and signed up for some of the get togethers (especially ones with liquid courage). I reached out to my Twitter friends and worked to make connections, find time for us to meet. I was intentional about finding people, about finding my tribe (thanks Carlos). And it worked! I found 3 women at the first brunch I went to that we click & hung out the rest of the week. I got to meet a bunch of my #nextchat friends at a gathering. I learned about DisruptHR.
I had some good leadership take-aways, but overall, what I remember most about SHRM16 is the people. And I’m sad to miss SHRM17 in New Orleans because I’ll miss that opportunity to reconnect and connect with new people. Fortunately, I’ve grown a tribe through Twitter and this year there is a Not At SHRM group on Facebook, so I can continue to meet people, maybe not face to face, but at least through social media, which is almost as good!
If you are going to SHRM17, I encourage you to reach out to others while you are there. And if you aren’t going to SHRM17, find ways to reach out to others anyway. We are living in the Golden Age for meeting other people & learning from them.