21 Tips from SHRM Conference Veterans #SHRM14

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21 Tips from SHRM Conference Veterans #SHRM14

This year we decided to introduce something different in the world of pre-conference material for SHRM. We’ve been collecting pieces of advice from SHRM attendees over the past years and we’re compiling them for first time or even other veterans. See what others have to say about the do’s and dont’s when attending the SHRM Conference.


Don’t skip the networking events — you’ll miss out on the opportunities to network with other HR professionals from across the US and the world.  – Andi Deavers, @thegirlinhr

Investigate the entertainment options and schedule networking in advance. – Michael VanDervort, @MikeVanDervort

Wear comfortable shoes (no heels!) and participate in every social event you can, even if you’re shy. Annual is a lot like summer camp, the more you connect with people there, the more lifelong friends you’ll make. – Jennifer Hughes, @XpertHRJenny

Smile a lot. Say hi. Attend non-session events. Meet people. Make friends. Drop some knowledge. Absorb some too. – Carrie Corbin, @thealphafemme

Make it a goal to say hello to and have a conversation with someone new every day. Attend one event that is different or unusual for you just to get outside of your comfort zone. – Joan Ginsberg, @JoanGinsberg

Use the SHRM Connect platform to connect with a smaller, more specialized group of interest. For instance, small companies, HR departments of one, government contractors, etc. That’s how you build a strong network of people you can rely on over time! – Ben Eubanks, @beneubanks


Going with a group of people from your company or local SHRM chapter — divide and conquer. Make a list of the sessions you want to go to or learn more about and make a plan to cover as many topics and sessions as possible. – Andi Deavers, @thegirlinhr

Use the app to organize your schedule in advance and use it religiously during the conference. It’ll save so much time and headache. – Jeff Waldman, @JeffWaldmanHR

Find a conference buddy and divide and conquer the sessions and expo hall and then share notes, feedback and marketing materials. Also…since it’s in Orlando in June (rainy season) pack an umbrella, and bring a neutral color sweater (our meeting rooms tend to be freezing). – Traci Deveau, @Devoted2HR

Look up from your conference book. Hard to meet people when you are face down, studying which session to attend next. Download the app instead, plan your day ahead by planning not just which sessions, but which offer the right types of cert credits if you need them and also plan them based on proximity to each other… no use stressing yourself out unnecessarily as if you are back in college trying to get back and forth between classes that are the opposite ends of the earth from each other. – Carrie Corbin, @thealphafemme

Pick the must have sessions but then leave room for time to connect & have meaningful conversations with other pros. Use SHRM’s “ship home” option for all books and swag you collect. – Josh Rock, @JRock96

Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t just attend sessions that are within your normal sphere of influence at work. Attend at least a few that have nothing to do with your normal responsibilities so that you stretch yourself a little (i.e. don’t just go to every legal update). – Jennifer Payne, @JennyJensHR

Social Media

Follow the #shrm14 hashtag and join the conversation. And then keep up on twitter all year long; not just when you are at a conference! – Robin Schooling, @RobinSchooling

Expo Floor

Spend time on the expo floor making connections and looking at new solutions — the swag is cool, but don’t forget why you’re there — great information to take back with you to your organization. – Andi Deavers, @thegirlinhr

Pre-plan your days at SHRM with the SHRM Session Planner and don’t forget to leave enough time to visit the Exposition Hall – choose your top 25 exhibitors you want to check out, and don’t forget to pick up a s’more at the TalentWise Campground – booth #665! – Karen Redetzki, @Talentwise


Bring a Flask – Matt Charney, @mattcharney

Take a photo of your hotel room door number so when your tipsy, you can find your way back. – Traci Deveau, @Devoted2HR

Don’t pass out in the hotel lobby. You don’t want to be “that guy/gal”. – Josh Rock, @JRock96


Get your coffee before heading to the convention center. – Matthew Stollak, @akaBruno

Make sure you stop by and meet the people at the bookstore. You might even run into an author there! – Jonathan Brewer, @houseofbrew

Sweater, flats, chapstick, ibuprofen, chargers, band-aids, deodorant and all the business cards!!! – Maren Hogan, @marenhogan

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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