Monday, May 30, 2011

Going to SHRM National and Traveling By Yourself

SHRM Leadership Conference 2010

The conference season is upon us.  With the SHRM BIG SHOW coming up at the end of June, and many of State conferences (like  ours on August 22 & 23) on the horizon, this got me to thinking about conferences the other day.  I have been fortunate to get to attend a number of events.   I was recounting these in my mind and trying to think what was the most memorable conference/event that I have attended. Of course, many people would think the best stories from an HR conference might be those of drunken debauchery – in the vein of Hangover or Cedar Rapids. And I could go that way but it would embarrass good friends, and me as well, so I will take my post another direction.

I attended a SHRM Leadership Conference last year in the D.C. area. I had planned to go for a while and my travel and accommodations were being funded through my SHRM affiliation and position.   I was staying at the conference hotel and planning on having a good time, meeting up with some old friends and making some new ones. 

After signing up for the conference,  it had come to my attention that a younger colleague of mine was interested in attending but his chapter could not finance the entire trip.  Well, since I already had a room – paid for- with the caveat that “I snore” I offered up a bed and shared shower and toilet.   So to make a long story short here – if you have complimentary accommodations (especially the $200+ a night rooms) and are attending a conference, it might be a most enjoyable experience to offer up free room to a younger HR pro who might not otherwise be afforded the opportunity to attend.)   It was in fact for me, one of the most enjoyable conferences I attended.

And if you are in the giving mode too – you might want to buy them a meal or two or a drink – depending upon their fancy.   Keep in mind that if you got there for free, and staying for free; doubling up on a couple meals won’t break you.

At many conferences, hotel rooms are usually nothing more than a bed and a shower, so for $200 a night you are getting double the value if you use two beds and take two showers.  You might also make a new friend for life, while you enjoy some communal living and share stories of the other conference happenings.
For the record I made the same offer to another colleague to attend HREvolution with me as I had committed to going and paying for a hotel room. Sadly he declined.

Moving forward, as these events continue to cost more and more to attend – it is a way more of us can enjoy and share the experience.   I hope others can at least think about this and maybe put it into action a time or two in the upcoming conference season.

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