Preparing to Attend a BIG Conference

Recruiting Experiences is gearing up for the Indy SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Annual Conference in 2023. Personally, this is my first large conference and I have been excited, nervous, and preparing like crazy. Here are my best tips and tricks to start preparing for a conference this size (around 1,000 – 2,000 people). 

  1. Make a list of goals you have for the conference, some ideas might be to make 20 new connections, find a new vendor, or learn about an industry standard by attending events. 
  2. Post about it on LinkedIn. Let people know you are attending. This is a great jump start to networking. You can find other people that are going and plan to meet up with them! 
  3. Follow the sponsored content. You can find out whose speaking, where, and when to make sure you are signed up to learn. This is also a wonderful place to learn from people who have gone before, they always have great advice. 
  4. Stop by all the booths. The conference vendors will want to talk to you about their products, and even if you aren’t interested in what they are selling you might be interested in what they do for work. (Also, I love a good freebie or giveaway/raffle) 
  5. For this conference, they are hosting it on the Whova App, this app helps connect vendors with attendees. There are places on the app to post a topic, share a meetup, post an article, answer polls, learn about the different speakers, you name it – it is there. Find out if the conference you are going to has an app and get connected! 
  6. Plan a dinner with a friend or invite someone to have dinner or a drink with you. These conferences are for learning and networking, take full advantage of the time you are given. 
  7. Dress in layers!! Trust me on this, you do not want to be stuck in a room where the speaker just started and all you can think about is how you are sweating through your blouse or trying to wrap up tight in your dress. 
  8. Wear comfortable shoes. Most of the time conferences that are big are in big venues. Make sure you are prepared to be walking around and standing up for most of the day.  
  9. Do not be scared to talk to anyone! Everyone is there to socialize and have fun, go up and start a conversation, “What do you do for work” is always an easy starter!  

Good luck! Enjoy the time you have away from work. 

I would love to know what other advice you would give to people going to their first big conference.  

Who is going to the Indy SHRM Annual Conference next week?  

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