My favorite conference of the year is just round the corner and it is only fitting that I spend a few minutes writing about how to make the most of it. While in the past, I’ve done a generic post on how to make the most of HR conferences in, this post preps you for this conference in particular. Don’t worry if you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time and if you can’t make it, worry not, social media has you covered.
Sessions to attend: This is usually the toughest part. A natural tendency is to stick to the main hall or follow your friends around. It takes a fair bit of effort and planning to break away from the herd and make a decision. In an attempt to make it easy, here’s a low down on the sessions I am looking forward to.
For Day 1, you will find me parked in Shah Jahan (the main hall) for most of the day. I love the fact the conference goes beyond the traditional HR boundaries and has sessions that discuss the country and the economy as a whole. I definitely look forward to the first few sessions of the day. I will make an exception and head to the ‘How to think like a gig worker’ session in the evening. I personally do not enjoy panel discussions and will likely use that time to explore the exposition or engage in long deep conversations with the blog squad. Whatever you do, do not miss the gala night for it is the best part of the day. Always.
Day 2 is where it gets tricky for there are a lot of sessions that I’d attend if I could split myself into multiple functional beings. Unfortunately since I can’t, I’m going to head to the workshop on ‘Culture of Inclusion: Working with differently abled.’ This especially interests me in light of the current debate on if we have operationalized inclusion vs striving for a truly inclusive culture. Post lunch, I will head to the stalls and chat a little more before I end the day with the talks at the main hall. The SHRM big debates are a big favorite of mine and I wouldn’t miss them for the world. So there you go – you know where I’ll be the two days.
People to meet: A big part of the conference is making new acquaintances who will eventually turn into great friends. Even if they don’t, getting to know a few fellow HR professionals never hurt anyone. Because I know the blog squad up close and personal, I can confirm that they are the friendliest bunch at the conference and are always willing to have a friendly debate/discussion or click a few selfies. Definitely hunt a few of them down at the conference. Also, take time to browse through the conference app to figure if anyone from your previous/current organization, educational institute is attending. Set up time with them either over lunch, coffee or the gala night. Then go one step ahead and block time with some HR leaders that you’ve always wanted to speak to. They may or may not respond but no one died trying! You can also attempt to catch them post their session but it isn’t always successful.
Stalls to visit: The #1 reason most people visit stalls is to explore the freebies on offer. Don’t do that! It’s great to collect them all but also spend some time exploring the myriad options that exist in the space of HR. This isn’t me recommending that you leverage their services. It is great if you do find a solution partner, however you never know what might spark an idea and explore you to try it out at your organization, either yourself or with a little help. Some stalls also offer great reading material in the form of research material and some even offer free books.
And Of course, the social media buzz: While Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can be distractions during a talk, a quick browse at the end of each session will expose you to a plethora of opinions. Sometimes there’s a great debate happening on Twitter, sometimes you can spark your own. Most social media platforms function at their best during a conference. Sometimes, there are also surprise goodies for being present there and sharing your views. If you can tweet while paying attention to the talks, even better; you can let those unable to attend the conference learn from your eyes & ears.
I hope you make it to the conference & if you do, as always, come say Hello! I look forward to seeing you there.