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Countdown to SHRM – Helpful Tips for Attendees

By Nick Price

The Society for Human Resources Management annual conference in Las Vegas is right around the corner, and if you’re still on the fence about attending, here are some very simple reasons to head to the desert courtesy of Gehan Haridy-Ardanowski, PHR, SHRM-CP.

  • Awesome speakers including keynotes from Duke head coach Mike Kryzyzewski, best-selling author Marcus Buckingham, MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski and Dr. Mehmet Oz of the Emmy-winning Dr. Oz Show.
  • Exciting sessions to help you round out or refresh your knowledge, as well as multiple recertification credit opportunities.
  • It’s Vegas! Build a little vacation time into your conference travel. Hit the tables, catch a show, enjoy some of the city’s many fine dining spots or just relax by the pool. Go ahead, you deserve it.
  • Networking opportunities in a fresh, informal setting. Just as important as the informational sessions are the down times and parties where colleagues can reconnect and chat; this is often where the best ideas come from.

On the SHRM blog, consultant Sharlyn Lauby echoes the importance of networking. She recommends using networking as a way to build relationships – and not just with the people you think can do something for you. You never know when you’ll run across someone with whom you can create exciting new opportunities, so don’t just target specific names and titles; use networking as a way to build your interpersonal skills – listening, engaging, smiling and sharing.
Director of HR and SHRM conference veteran Joel Peterson is another advocate for networking. Having spent his first few conferences focusing on all of the event’s resources except for the human ones, Peterson learned that making connections should be one of his key objectives for the annual conference.
According to him, making those connections is all about three things: ASK, ANSWER and GIVE. If you want to connect, don’t expect them to come to you; you have to ask for it. Conversely, if someone asks to connect with you, you must answer thoughtfully; don’t give the “I’m too busy” line or some other excuse. Networking goes both ways. Finally, once the connection has been made, give it the appropriate amount of time and energy to make it worthwhile, and follow through.
Hopefully, you’re already heading over to to register for the conference, and HR and OD professional Carlos Escobar has some more practical tips for conference survival.

  • Take care of yourself – this means eat regularly (Escobar recommends bringing your own snacks instead of relying solely on event-provided meals) and hydrate!
  • Dress professionally, but comfortably and functionally. Leave the super high heels at home, and account for the temperature extremes of Vegas—the heat outdoors and the (usually) frigid conference hall.
  • Take notes on paper – this helps you retain information better.
  • Bring your own phone charger – no modern professional is complete without his or her mobile device, and it’s going to get regular use. Stay connected with a fully charged phone and be sure to tweet and follow #shrm15 on social media!

SHRM 2015 will be held from June 28-July 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information, visit

Nick Price

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