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It’s that time again! SHRM’s Annual Conference is less than a week away and if you’re like me you’ve already started mentally packing and making a checklist of what you need to bring. If you’ve been to SHRM before I hope you’ve learned from these past mistakes of mine, but if it’s your first time here are a few mistakes I made last year that I won’t be making again!
Chargers and Cords Galore!
The worst thing about attending any conference, especially SHRM, is forgetting my spare battery packs and mophie chargers. Since this conference is jammed packed with several sessions starting at 7am it’s important that I have plenty of devices that are able to charge either my iPhone or iPad. You still have time to click on over to mophie.com and purchase a battery pack or charge case for your iPhone. The price is worth the pain of having to find an outlet and sit there until you get enough juice to continue your festivities. You’ll be going from the wee hours of the morning to late late night if you’re doing it right.
If you’re presenting at the conference make sure you’re bringing the right cords to connect up your presentation. Especially if you’re using a Mac computer it’s important to bring the right connecting cords to make your presentation show up. We always put this at the top of our list because it’s the most important and the most regrettable mistake at SHRM.
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Hanging out with the same ole’ group.
Conferences bring friends together and SHRM is one of the biggest conferences where you can connect with collegues who live in a distance land. The only mistake made here is not making new friends. I love the song:
Make New Friends and Keep The Others. One is Silver and the Other’s Gold! (See Youtube video)
I am extremely guilty of breaking this rule. This is my second year in the HR circuit of attending conferences and I love meeting up with those who live in far away lands. Connecting again with those i’ve talked to on Twitter and seeing clients of past, present, and future. It’s easy to jump back in your “circle of HR friends,” but take a leap during SHRM this year and work on meeting 2-3 new people. Connect on Twitter and go from there! We’re all a bunch of nerds anyway, let’s be friends!
Take off your badge!
Yes we’re at a conference, but when you’re out and about in the city of Orlando, take of your badge! Not only does it draw attention to you, but it probably doesn’t compliment that sweet outfit you brought to show off. Conference attendees are generally not as aware of their surroundings and in a new location they might let their guard down a little because they’re having a little more fun or hyper focused on the conference. Make sure to take off your badge and use a secure bag to to keep your belongings close to you and away from those tricky thieves!
Let’s be real for a minute. This conference is the only time (maybe second or third) you get to let loose and have fun with your friends that you don’t always get to see. Even with the two conferences I attended last year I saw people who made complete fools out of themselves when they were VPs and Directors at bigger named companies. With social media running rampent at these conferences pictures you put online can be shared quickly and mercilessly. A good rule of thumb is if you want to drink a lot, put your phone away and then have a fun time. Branch out and network, but don’t put yourself out there too much that your job is at risk.
The weather in Orlando looks beautiful for the duration of the conference. The lows are in the 70s and the highs are in the 90s. It’ll be hot. We all know that and if you’ve ever been to Orlando you might think dressing up in a business suit or skirt/shirt might be unbearable. Conferences are just as much about networking and relationship-building as it is learning. Wearing the appropriate attire will not only show respect for those in your profession, but don’t go too far where you’re uncomfortable and feel miserable all day. Being uncomfortable makes it hard to focus so don’t get into a situation where you’re shivering or drenching in sweat instead of learning.
It’s super important to wear the right shoes as well. Show off those high-heels, but remember you’re going to be walking quite a bit and even doing some dancing. If you’re going out on the dance floor later in the evening bring some flats in your purse so at the end of the night you’ll be able to get home without killing yourself.