Anything can happen at the SHRM Annual Conference!
Over the past 5 years I have personally seen Jack Hanna showing off rare wild animals, had my fortune told by a witch doctor, witnessed makeovers and glamour shots, high-fived a Gene Simmons impersonator and used a sling-shot to hurl a rubber chicken. That, my friend, is the Expo portion of the conference in a nutshell!
The Expo is just one piece of the gigantic SHRM puzzle. It’s a great show that offers incredible opportunities, if you are prepared to make the most of them. That, however, requires a little bit of planning.
Here is our list of SHRM Survival Ideas.
1. Find Supportive Shoes and Break Them In NOW
SHRM always requires a ton of walking. No matter where you go, convention centers are sprawling, seemingly endless buildings. When you add all the touristy stuff you are going to want to do because – hey, it’s Vegas -- you can expect to be hoofin’ it from morning ‘til night.
That means NO brand-new shoes, and save the strappy heels and the barely-there flip-flops for after hours. And guys, this goes for you too! Those new dress-for-success wing-tips might be a win for your next meeting, but here, they will be the bane of your existence by lunch.
So, grab that Fitbit, because you’ll be logging miles before the day is done. Your feet will thank you for being sensible for once, and you won’t have any trouble making it over to the EBI booth to win a great prize!
2. Remember this is the DESERT
I know we are grownups here, but it cannot be stressed enough that this is Las Vegas in JUNE!
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
This is especially important if you plan to enjoy everything Vegas has to offer in the evenings. (Wink, wink!) The last time EBI attended SHRM in Vegas, our weather apps showed 120 degrees and our shuttle driver didn’t feel the need to turn on the AC. You will probably already be a bit dehydrated from your flight, so fill up that water bottle as soon as you land and keep it full throughout your stay.
No one wants to hit the Lionel Richie concert looking and feeling dehydrated! Hello? Is it water you’re looking for?
3. Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold…. Repeat
Las Vegas might be a desert, but the session rooms can rival walk-in freezers! So, being comfortable at SHRM means packing clothes you can layer, including a sweater for sitting in the sessions.
4. Don’t Wing It
While a lot of the focus this year will be about the location, you are there to learn. Doing a little prep work before you head out will make sure you soak up all of the knowledge you possibly can in a few short days.
Before you even pack your suitcase, take a look at the list of sessions here. There are 200 Concurrent Sessions, several Mega Sessions, as well as Key Notes. You can use the “Add To My Schedule” feature on the website to know exactly where you need to be when. If a topic is important to you, you can be sure it’s important to hundreds, or maybe thousands, of other conference goers. Session rooms fill up quickly, so if you show up late, you might miss out completely.
Also, plan to hit the Smart Stage for more bite-sized presentations – usually about 18-minutes – covering everything from making the most of the conference to innovative HR strategies and professional development. It’s also a great place to take a break and get a chance to chat with the speakers.
Don’t forget to check out the SHRM Bookstore and make time to meet your favorite authors for their book signings.
5. Explore the Expo
We end right back where we began, at the EXPO. Having a map can keep you on track if you have specific vendors you want to see. Otherwise, just let the party carry you. You never know what you are going to see!
But don’t forget to come see EBI at Booth #2626!
Have a great SHRM everybody!