I’m excited to be traveling to Orlando for the upcoming SHRM 2014 Conference.

Now I would never consider myself an “expert” by any stretch when it comes to conference attendance, but having been to a few of these as well as some other statewide conferences, I’d like to share some credible advice that will make your conference going experience more enjoyable.

Here’s my quick list of Do’s & Don’ts for #SHRM14

Do- Remember to always be polite. Introduce yourself to the people who are sitting next to you in the sessions. You never know when that small gesture will make a difference in someone’s conference experience. Saying “Please” & “Thank You” is appreciated.

DON’T – Be aloof, snooty or rude. Yes, it’s easy to think that with 15,000+ attendees, speakers, and exhibitors that you’ll be lost in the shuffle. Trust me when I say you won’t. Bad behavior follows you post conference. Don’t believe me? I once had a meeting 6 months post conference with a firm that was an exhibitor. They spent 45 minutes of the meeting sharing horror stories of individuals on the expo floor who tried to take items from their booth that weren’t meant to be samples. Don’t be that person.

Do – Dress accordingly. Bring a sweater and wear comfortable shoes. The convention center is a large space and it will be cold, bring a sweater. Being a large space, you’ll probably need to go clear across the center to get to a session. Trudging in fashionable-but-uncomfortable-shoes will ruin the experience.

Don’t – Complain about the weather. Look it’s Florida in the summer. We can guarantee three things: 1) Humidity 2) Rain and 3) Heat. I can almost guarantee that it will rain at some point during the conference. If it doesn’t rain, then the humidity will be cranked up to about 90% making it seem like you’re walking in soup.

Do – Attend sessions that are out of your comfort zone. Years ago, I was attending a statewide conference and a friend said to me “Why are you going to go to the session where your friends are presenting? You’re not going to learn anything there? You already know the subject matter”. While I was a bit put off by the initial comment, I realized that they were right. Go to sessions with subjects that make you uncomfortable and while in there, remember to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you…

Don’t – Write horrible comments on the feedback survey. I get it, being anonymous gives you a sense of power. You know what that really shows, insecurity. In fact just go read LFR’s excellent post on how to give positive feedback here

The last Do is pretty simple, be nice to the volunteers, the SHRM Professional Staff, and the hotel & conference center staff. They’re all working to ensure that your personal conference experience is enjoyable, full of learning, and a great overall experience.

If you’d like to run into me follow my twitter stream @CigarSPHR for updates and make sure to follow the twitter #SHRM14 hashtag.

Don’t forget to follow this amazing group of people here, and stay tuned for some more of my dispatches from the conference.


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