The SHRM Challenge

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13 Things to Make This Your Best Conference Ever


With over 200 speakers, 1000 exhibitors, and hundreds of learning opportunities in a few short days, what are you supposed to do?


If you want to make the most of this opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, and step outside of your comfort zone, then we challenge you to these 13 things.  Be sure to tweet at us (@JBTSolutions) when you’re making it happen or when the mission is accomplished.  I would love to hear how it’s going.


  1. Attend one session on a topic that you either know little about or that you fear. For me, that session likely has compliance in the title. This is an opportunity to broaden your perspective and skill set.


  1. Do not even glance at your phone once you enter the room at one session each day. You may be surprised to start up a great conversation with the person sitting next to you.


  1. Lunch and learn. Take that delicious boxed lunch and turkey sandwich to a table where you know no one and start up a conversation with a fellow HR professional.


  1. Attend at least one session focused on your personal professional development. Countless programs will develop your HR expertise, but check out a session on presentation skills, storytelling, negotiating, emotional intelligence, or career planning to continue to up your game.


  1. Find a friend and pick a party! You’re in Vegas.  You will be happy you decided to avoid the Modern Family rerun in your hotel, and meet new HR folks in a fun setting.


  1. Connect with at least one speaker. He or she is a subject matter expert and someone you want to know. Say hello and thanks and even grab a business card.  I know Brad loves to chat after his sessions.


  1. Take 15 minutes each day to collect your thoughts and refuel. Maybe it’s meditating, stretching, or power walking around the conference hall, or brain dumping all your notes.


  1. Pinpoint 5 exhibitors and have a conversation with them. It has to be more than a business card drop or nametag scan.  Make a connection and learn something new. (I can be an easy win for you at booth 713!)


  1. Do one thing you have never done before each day! Maybe it’s asking a question in a room of 200+ people; maybe it’s getting a book signed by a distinguished author; maybe it’s sending a tweet to Marcus Buckingham or singing out loud at the Jennifer Hudson concert. Step outside of your comfort zone and enjoy!


  1. Contribute to the conversation. There are countless ways to get involved and contribute to the dialogue.  Tweet a key takeaway, write a short blog post, or ask a tough question during a session.


  1. Write down your 1 main takeaway from each program. You might have 17 bright ideas coming from each session, but jot down the 1 main learning point or next action.   This is also the foundation of a great presentation to your office to share what you learned.


  1. Find an accountability partner. You know those exciting takeaways that you just wrote down? Make a commitment with a new connection or one of your colleagues to check in by July 31st.   Be determined to keep the learning alive.


  1. Learn, laugh, and let go. Have fun and enjoy the ride.  You might get behind a slow walker on the way to a session that is 2.7 miles down the hallway, the Starbucks line might have 222 people in it, and the shuttle might fill up right as you are the next in line.  Take a deep breath, and just laugh and let it go (cue Frozen soundtrack.)


Remember to let us know if you’re tackling these challenges, and special prizes for anyone who tweets us (@JBTSolutions) or emails me ( to say you achieved all 13!


Courtney Templin is President of JB Training Solutions, and the Education Director for the Chicago SHRM chapter.  You can stop by and see JB Training Solutions at Booth 713, or at these three sessions:


June 16, 2015