Congratulations! You have signed yourself up for one of the most amazing experiences it is possible to have. Indeed, the national 2014 SHRM conference has consistently been ranked slightly above “visiting the Taj Mahal while riding an elephant” in surveys of people who have done both. You’re in for an awesome time!
Now perhaps this is your first national SHRM conference. Perhaps you’ve been before but want to get even more out of it than you did last time. Or perhaps you’re bitter and angry because your company is forcing you to go when you’d much rather be gardening or base jumping or putting the finishing touches on your personal attack blimp or whatever it is that you do in your spare time. But regardless of your reasons for attending, I’m certain you want to enjoy yourself and get something valuable out of the experience. So here are 8 ways to make that happen.
1. Collect All The Swag You Can Find – There are approximately 48,000,000 vendors at SHRM, and all of them are giving something way – pens, stress balls, funny hats, books, tasers, jump ropes, free training materials, aircraft carriers, and everything else you can imagine. If you’re diligent you should be able to take care of all your Christmas shopping before the 4th of July.
2. Buy a Drink for Somebody – Half the reason to go to 2014 SHRM is for the networking, and half of that is going to happen at a nearby bar or restaurant. So find someone you’re interested in getting to know and offer to buy them a drink or an appetizer. Chances are they’ll return the favor, and boom – you have a new friend!
3. Go to as Many Sessions As Possible – Some of them will be boring. Some of them will make you wonder why you bothered to wake up. But most of them will be informative, inspiring, eye-opening, or otherwise fantastic.
4. Don’t Only Go to the Sessions – You’re in Orlando. There are water parks every 12 feet, and some place called Donnyworld or Dignityworld or something like that. I’ve heard it’s neat.
5. Take Notes – Most people consider it a success to walk away from a conference with two or three really good ideas, strategies, or products they believe will help themselves personally or their organization as a whole. If you don’t take notes during the sessions, you’re likely to forget some of those great ideas. Why? Because you’re almost certainly going to…
6. Party! – SHRM sponsors some awesome entertainment. And that’s not even counting the vendor-sponsored excursions and hospitality suites, nor is it counting the fact that there’s almost certainly a karaoke bar nearby. Make sure to take video of your colleagues butchering some of your favorite songs!
7. Get to Know Your Colleagues Better – You’re all trapped together for the next few days, and you’re all effectively single – no spouse or kids or chores or curfew. This is a great chance to get to know the people you work with on a deeper level than the constant pressures of home and office sometimes allow for. And who knows? You might find out they’re even more amazing than you already thought.
8. Exercise – I know that sounds like horrible advice for a pseudo-vacation like the 2014 SHRM conference, but think of it this way. If you do a little exercise, you’ll have more energy to party longer. See? I’m really looking out for you here.
Seriously, you’re going to have a fantastic time. And if you’re so inclined, swing by our booth – B44. I promise it will be worth your time. Because not only do we have some great professional development solutions for you and your team, but we’re also giving away some killer stuff. I’m not saying the grand prize is a roundtrip private jet trip to Bali, but I’m also not saying it isn’t.
Need more conference tips? Check out my 14 Things You Do At A Conference But Maybe Shouldn’t blog post! I guarantee you’ll laugh at least 11 times.