Spring is here and when flowers bloom and warmer temperatures arrive, you know there’s one thing in mind: Conference Season!
Here are a few things about my take on conferences:
- Think of conferences as the adult version of Spring Break. You do get to learn and network, but it is also the place to let loose and have an occasional embarrassing selfie.
- You have tons of sessions and events, but conferences are great for networking. There will be a lot of people, but thanks to technology, you can have meetups by location, industry, skills, hotel spot, whatever the case. You can see faces from the names you saw.
- Have a game plan at conferences…and then throw it away if you found a better opportunity.
- Divide and Conquer. The best conferences are the ones that are diverse in subject matter and has something for everyone. In 2005, I attended my first SHRM Conference and I didn’t know what to expect. One of the better sessions I attended was not a presentation, but a roundtable discussion on HR in different industries. I went to “media” because that’s the industry I wanted to work, but only two other people came, but they were moderators. Frankly, a missed opportunity not only for SHRM, but for the attendees if they want to know the industry, which I think is HR’s weakest attribute then and now.
- There’s lots of swag to pick up. If you pick up too much, share it with the rest of the employees back at work.
- You’re not going to win the grand prize at a vendor booth. If you do win, congratulations. If not, you can still buy next door at your conference.
- Before the conference, do gameplan with your department on what they need to know which vendors to go to. They actually have to do something beyond giving out swag.
- Attend the sessions you want to attend, either for personal or business. This is your conference.
- Although conferences are big, it’s also the best time to have one-to-ones. Take advantage of it.
- I’m in the minority here, but presentations don’t do it for me. Most presentations intend to be inspiring than learning. There has been studies that any presentation works, it’s how you take in the information. I personally prefer panels since you get a variety of answers and everyone is happy.
- Have fun!