SHRM’s Annual Conference is rapidly approaching. I usually start thinking about packing for this amazing adventure about two weeks out. Coincidentally, I just returned from a family vacation to Disneyworld and I have often referred to the SHRM Annual Conference as the Disneyworld of conferences. There are tons of rides, shows, souvenirs, treats and you’re sure to find many characters (I use this comparison loosely). The point…there is no shortage of sessions, keynotes, entertainment, parties, food, exhibit hall activity and business leaders, however there’s never enough time to get on all the rides, see all of the shows or see everything Magic Kingdom has to offer in a four-day stretch.
If this is your first SHRM Annual Conference go with the flow, engage, and don’t overdo it. With that said, here are 5 Tips that will help with logistics and packing as you prepare to attend the SHRM Annual Conference in Chicago.
5 Tips for SHRM Annual Conference First Timers:
1. Download the Conference App to Your Cell – Go to your App Store, type ‘SHRM’ and download the free app. I have used the cell phone app for the past two years and found that it was very helpful. I didn’t need to carry the conference bag around because the conference information I needed was in the palm of my hand.
2. Bring Comfortable Shoes – I can’t stress this enough. I’ve seen numerous women walking through the conference center hallways with their shoes in their hand and bare feet. This is not attractive ladies. If you decide to wear your Louboutins, bring a pair of comfortable flats in your conference bag.
3. Bring an Extended Cell Phone Battery Case or a Power Stick – Imagine 20,000 people in a conference center. Now imagine they all have some device/s that needs to be charged. You’ll thank me later! Two of my faves are iBattz and Mophie.
4. Plan Session/Exhibit Hall Time - Plan to attend two sessions per day. I realize this sounds like a low number. With all the activities, it can be tough to make it to more than two sessions each day. The exhibit hall is full of pomp, circumstance and hubbub. Plan at least one hour a day in the exhibit hall to check out your favorite vendors and get acquainted with potential new vendors. You will also have an opportunity to enter to win some of the best conference swag on the planet!
5. Pack Some Patience & Flexibility - SHRM does a fantastic job of planning and executing this show each year however there are always glitches when the conference goes live. There are thousands of people in one place. Packing some patience and flexibility to switch sessions when one session is full or waiting patiently in line to use the restroom can help with your temperament and make your conference experience a pleasant one.
Bonus tips -
1. Interact with other conference attendees in SHRM’s Conference Community: http://community.shrm.org/2013Conference/Home/
2. Register for the Official #SHRM13 TweetUp & Afterparty: http://eventful.com/chicago_il/events/official-shrm13-tweetup-afterparty-powered-shrm-/E0-001-057344415-0
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in Chicago for #SHRM13!Share