15 Things I’m Looking Forward to at #SHRM16

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The 2016 SHRM Annual Conference (#SHRM16) is less than 30 days away!

Here are 15 things, in no particular order, that I am looking forward to at the conference:

1. Seeing Friends I Only Get to See Once A Year

I’ve made friends at this conference, and for four days we have a blast. Not everyone can make it every year, but by and large, these are folks and friendships that have lasted four years! It’s always great to see them, and it’s always sad when we all have to leave.

2. The SHRM Blogger’s Take On Things

I really enjoy reading what the official SHRM bloggers write about the conference on their respective blogs, and reading their tweets in real time. They provide perspective worth reading, and every one of them are approachable and genuinely interested in helping you make the most of the conference. Be sure to follow them here.

3. The No Kid Hungry Event

You know what’s really cool? A bunch of folks organize an event to benefit No Kid Hungry. In the past this has been a street hockey game, bowling, kickball, and last year, it was a poetry slam. It’s great fun and supports an even better cause. Be on the lookout for details on this event soon!

4. HR Music Share

Did you know there is a hashtag just for HR folks to share the music they are listening to? It operates year-round, but during the annual conference, things tend to pick up a bit. Music plays a big role in all of our lives, and it’s great to see what other people are listening to, hearing, and enjoying during the conference. Check it out, #HRMusicShare.

5. Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Last year, in a key conversation with a handful of buddies, we talked about how we all need to get out of our comfort zone. I want to keep moving forward with that. It’s too easy to go to the same sessions I always go to. It’s too easy to stick with the people I know. It’s too easy to expect, and get the same amazing conference experience. Getting out of my comfort zone means challenging myself to do just the opposite!

6. Making the Most of the Blogging4Jobs Party List

My first year at this conference (2012), I arrived in Atlanta without knowing a soul. I was lucky enough to stumble upon Blogging4Jobs Party List and decided to attend a few mixers. I met and made genuine friends that trip, and “found” friends that I didn’t know were in town at these events. In my opinion, it’s a conference MUST. Sign up for it here.

7. Meeting People From ALL OVER

In 2013, I met a nice fellow from Japan on the shuttle to the conference. He turned out to be a chapter leader for the Japan HR Society. We had a good conversation, and then I randomly ran into him and other members of his party at dinner the day after the conference ended. I still get their chapter emails, and they remind me of that HR is global and LOCAL at the same time at the SHRM Annual Conference.

8. Seeing Steve Browne On The Big Stage

Steve is an amazing human being. He is the reason I started blogging. He is one of the PRIMARY reasons I have a group of friends in almost every session I attend. He’s a great mentor, but mostly he’s a great friend. Now he’s on the SHRM Board, and I look forward to his introduction on day one of the conference, in front of 15,000+ attendees. I’ll be cheering like it’s a Spurs game, and I have a hunch A LOT other people will be too. GEEKED !!!

9. Finding “My Breakthrough Moment”

SHRM is really good about sticking with a  theme for their conferences. In fact, they might be a little TOO GOOD at it. Everywhere you go at their conferences you see variations on the theme, and you are made aware of how what you are doing fits into it. It’s all good, especially considering that it helps put everything into context. This year’s theme is “Find Your Breakthrough Moment”. Check out the video:

10. The HRCI Mixer

I’m going to make it a point to get to the HRCI mixer this year. I somehow miss it most years, and last year I skipped it because I didn’t want to get drawn into any “one certification is better than the other” conversations with attendees. That stuff just wears me down. I think it’s died down a bit now, so I’m looking forward to celebrating 40 years of HRCI at their “Portraits of Success” event!

11. The Exposition Hall

The expo hall is amazing. I’m consistently blown away by the size of it all, and once I get past that, I truly enjoy walking the room and learning what services the exhibitors provide. I’m not a buyer by any means, but I learn A LOT about HR trends by simply making an effort to understand what “unmet want” each vendor is attempting to address.

12. Amazing Keynotes

Ahhhhhh the keynotes. As always there are some solid folks to look forward to, like Amy Cuddy (HURRAY!!!), Sal Kahn (hurray!) Alan Mullaly, and Mike Rowe, hurray! There are also a few political folks on the agenda (because it’s Washington DC), which will be interesting. Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala will have some work to do to overcome what I imagine will be a politically exhausted audience. But hurray anyway!

13. Amazing Sessions

The worst thing about the sessions is choosing which ones to attend. It always comes down to choosing between good options, which just drives my FoMO into overdrive. I know that whichever sessions I choose, I’ll end up walking away with some cutting edge stuff to brag about when I get back from the conference. Just kidding, I wouldn’t do that (yes I would).

14. The SHRM Volunteer Meeting

This meeting of SHRM Volunteer Leaders is always informative and helpful, but I enjoy it MOSTLY because it’s usually the first time I see my buddies at the conference. There will be some griping, and some grumbling about changes, but it’s always good to return to my SHRM Volunteer roots and to be among people doing the same from all over the country.

15. The SHRM Bookstore

Every year I swear I’m not going to buy books, but I always do. There’s something about hearing authors speak in person that just makes you want to go get a copy of their book. Books represent possibility, and only the most disciplined manage to resist their siren call for the entire conference!

Whew. That’s a lot to look forward to.

See you there!

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