8 Mistakes You Must Avoid to Enjoy #SHRM13

8 Mistakes to Avoid at the SHRM Annual Conference

Be sure to check out our SHRM Party Guide and Text ‘SHRM’ to 55678 to receive text alerts and reminders of speakers, parties and other happenings directly to your phone. Jessica proudly supports SHRM and has been a member since 2001. 

8 Mistakes You Must Avoid to Enjoy #SHRM13

Experience is the best teacher but preparation and education are essential in the learning and living especially when it comes to working in HR. With regard to the upcoming SHRM Annual Conference, I wanted to share some mistakes I’ve made myself since attending my first SHRM and how to avoid them June 16-19th, 2013 in beautiful Chicago. I really can’t wait to see old friends, make new ones and just enjoy SHRM. Let’s get started so you can too. Here are 8 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making at SHRM 2013.

  • You Don’t Bring Chargers or Cords for Your Electronics. Depending on your device these are expensive to repurchase and time consuming to travel to Best Buy or the Apple Store. Check and double check that your cell phone cords, computer chargers and other electronics made it in your luggage before you fly. For presenters who are Mac users, bring the right cords so you can connect to your presentation without stress or frustration. And label your cords with colored tape and your name to distinguish between who’s who.
  • You Only Pack Skirts or Dresses to SHRM. It is the windy city after all and if you are attending after hours events in a dress, I recommend that you be prepared for wind gusts or have dinner planned among friends. I speak from experience as I live in Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.
  • You Don’t Take Your Badge Off After Hours. While the conference is large, you will be traveling all over the city to attend dinners, meetups and cocktail mixers and that conference badge makes you a big target for pick pockets, thieves and drive undue attention. Take the conference badge off, enjoy yourself and place it within easy reach in a small purse where you call pull it out if required. 
  • You Don’t Plan Ahead. It’s easy because of the sheer size of the conference and number of attendees to be overwhelmed which is why planning is so essential to a conference like SHRM. I plan to attend 2-3 sessions using SHRM’s mobile conference app (iTunes or Android) and use the Blogging4Jobs Party Text Alerts to keep abreast of parties and meetups as they arise by texting ‘SHRM’ to 55678. Take a look at the sessions in advance and make room for extra time to walk and let karma take you where you need to go. You will be indated with direct mail if you haven’t been already. Pick the sessions and visit our party guide and put the parties and after hours events easily at your finger tips. 
  • You Keep to Yourself or Only Hang with Familiar Faces. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of this and I have to force myself to go it alone. We get comfortable with the people we know and trust. We enjoy their company exclusively closing ourself off from meeting new people and different opportunities. I recommend attending several sessions or lunch by yourself and let fate intervene to make new HR connections. Schedule a dinner with a group of strangers also from the conference using SHRM’s Meet to Eat. It’s a great way to get to know different people and experience the conference in a new way. SHRM also offers Meet to Move and Meet to Read which are great programs too for networking. Click here to learn more. And don’t forget Twitter with all the tweeting happening at SHRM, you are never a stranger.
  • Your Belongings Are Not Secure. Thieves pray on conference attendees and last year I had a friends who lose their credit cards and another who had her iPhone pulled from her hand while she walked down the sidewalk to our hotel. Apparently a ring of thieves in Atlanta was stealing expensive smart phones, selling them and shipping them to Europe. Two friends lost their phones to these low life thieves. Use a nice cross body bag to secure your belongings and keep them out of reach for those unsavory and shady characters. The cross body bag keeps you hands free and lessens the likelihood that you will set down your bag or purse on a table or under your feet.
  • You Bring Plastic Only to Pay. Generally speaking most events and activities at SHRM are covered as part of your ticket and entrance fee. Added expenses could include small incidentals and much needed gourmet coffee. The challenge with large conferences in cities like Chicago is transportion as not all events are within walking distance from the McCormick Convention Center. Bring cash to cover extra expenses like bottled water and cab just in case they don’t accept credit cards. Since I’m attending the conference for work and it can be expensed, I use the Uber app (iTunes or Android ) where I can request and pay for my cab directly from my phone. Even better is that you can add multiple credit cards to pay for cab fair charging the expenses directly to your corporate credit card. Receipts are sent directly to your email.
  • You Bring Cute but Uncomfortable Shoes. Avoid them at least the uncomfortable ones. Cute ones are encouraged. This is a female dominated industry after all, and we love our shoes. You are doing ridiculous amounts of walking or bring a big purse and an extra pair of flats to make a quick wardrobe change. Tired and swollen feet can’t be fixed by any amount of alcohol or allergy medication. I do the shoe swap strategy from heels to flats when I’m in urban areas like New York or San Francisco where I’m walking from business meeting to lunch to business dinner. Otherwise, pack several classy flats and a pair of killer heels with extra padding and support that walk well and work with several different dress options for the conference.

SHRM Annual is fabulous conference where over the years I met and learned from so many HR practitioners who were as passionate about the profession I’ve grown up in. It’s an event and an industry I’m proud to be a part of.

Be sure to check out our SHRM Party Guide and Text ‘SHRM’ to 55678 to receive text alerts and reminders of speakers, parties and other happenings directly to your phone. Jessica proudly supports SHRM and has been a member since 2001. Subscribe to our RSS feed to have our articles from practitioners like you and about SHRM delivered directly to your email or smart phone. 

Are you ready to party?

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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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