It makes me happy to think about journeying to Orlando in less than two weeks to attend my second SHRM Annual Conference. Having experienced my first last year, I now know that the event is much bigger than the sessions held in the conference center. The variety of events that occur along with the conference bring opportunities for not only learning, but fun as well. I’ve heard some discount the importance of these events, but they are an important element of advancing our profession.
The ‘H’ in HR stands for “human” (at least in most places!) and we as HR professionals do not always do a good job reaching out to those who can help us when we face situations that we haven’t encountered before. Building relationships is essential to learning and seeing things from a different perspective. While chatting with people in sessions and on the exhibit floor can begin the process, establishing genuine connections takes more time and sharing common experiences can lead to continued dialogue and bring people closer.
Even if big parties and crowded events are not your thing, there are many opportunities to connect with small groups of people and expand your own network and build the value you can bring to those you support in your business. If you’re not one to find people on your own, I can certainly recommend the Meet to Eat Program that SHRM does each year. My own network benefits from people I met during a SHRM Diversity Conference at such an event.
One important reminder; take off your SHRM badge before you go out! Introduce yourself in person, not by your credential.