SHRM 12 ANTI-SWAG

I was truly amazed at the size of the bags being carried off the vendor expo floor at SHRM 12. I was even more amazed at how much stuff attendees had managed to cram into those bags. I am not exaggerating when I say that some of the bags I saw would not come close to fitting into the suitcase I brought, even without anything else in the suitcase. What do attendees really do with all of that stuff?

But I was not so smug as to come home from SHRM empty-handed. Most of what I brought home wasn’t truly swag, though, because the items I stuffed into my already-full suitcase were not Something We All Get. With a couple of exceptions, they were gifts. Many were gifts I got because I was part of a blogger team, and some gifts came from connections I made.

Here’s what was important enough to me to make suitcase space for:

 

1. T-shirts – One is pictured above and was received from Dice.com for being an official SHRM blogger. There is a Twitter bird logo on the back comprised of all of the bloggers Twitter names, which makes it a keeper. The rubber “Connect Rockstar” bracelet came from Dice.com as well. I also got a t-shirt from The Starr Conspiracy, but I wore it as a bathing suit cover-up in Atlanta and it was already in the dirty clothes when I took the picture.

2. Meet-Meme Cards – SHRM was nice enough to provide these for the blog team and I had some left over. I am a huge fan of Meet-Meme cards and I use them as my personal business card, so the extras from SHRM were a nice bonus.

3. Rubber Stamp – Also a gift from The Starr Conspiracy to their bloggers. I can’t tell you what it says because it is a super-secret conspiracy, and it is personal and mysterious. I am going to use it on my Freak Flag, though (see #6).

4. Tiny Tote Bag – This actually is swag. I got it from Baudville because I needed a small tote that fit inside the large tote I had been carrying around. I put it to use immediately, taking just my wallet and phone on multiple runs to Starbucks for tea. I also took – and ate – a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from their booth, which is really my idea of great swag.

5. Social NOTworking – This book was given to me by author Jody Katz Pritikin, who I interviewed for a future blog about employment lawyers at SHRM 12. I missed her session due to a conflict so she gave me her book to read. It has lots of cool pictures, and she likes social media, ┬áso I will definitely read it.

6. CD – This CD of country music was given to me by another attendee, Carol Ann Timmel. She was not a speaker, sponsor, or vendor. We got into a conversation at the Skillsoft ┬áparty, and she brought the CD by the blogger lounge the next day.

7. Freak Flag – Most of this flag is white, with just the Talent Anarchy logo in the corner. I missed the Talent Anarchy presentation due to a conflict, but I am thankful that I have seen them present before because they are amazing. They want people to decorate the flag in their own way and then post pictures. I will definitely do that but I need to go to the store for some colored Sharpies to accent my rubber stamp.

The moral of this story is that attendees should choose wisely when deciding what is really important for them to take and keep. Think about how many natural resources and fossil fuels were used making and transporting things that are probably going to end up in your kitchen junk drawer and just. say. no.

What did you take home from your last conference?

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7 thoughts on “SHRM 12 ANTI-SWAG”

  1. My question as a designer… how much does design play in on the acquisition of swag? How much of it is a meaningful relationship with that vendor? How much of it is shopping for a free gadget? Swag load-up is a mystery to me sometimes. I wonder how much is in a landfill one week after the conference? Great post Joan.

  2. I may have mentioned this in a previous blog, but my experience with any kind of show where the attendees number in the 5 figures is a restaurant/food trade shows. At those shows, almost no one takes swag, and certainly not in the amounts I saw at my first SHRM national.

    So all of the motivators you mentioned probably come into play, Lyn. And maybe HR is lonely and looking for validation and finds swag a measure of their importance.

    Which is really sad.

  3. Joan, you currently have an invalid link in this article for The Starr Conspiracy.

    I’m with you on there being way too much swag grabbing simply for the sake of grabbing stuff. The only swag I took home from SHRM 12 was a USB hub.

  4. Oh man … this was my first conference EVER and I did eat up some of the SWAG. I took home some waterbottles…some pens…some weird stuff for my family. Most of it was novelty for a quick laugh, then garbage. I’m glad our gifty made it into the top tier!

    Thanks Joan!

  5. Joy, thanks for the heads up about the link. It’s been fixed and I’m a little red in the face. Oh, well. I missed the USB hub but I probably wouldn’t have taken one anyway. I wish there had been more food. Good food.

    Lizzie – the best gift of all was getting to meet you! I actually don’t wear t-shirts much but yours really does make a good bathing suit coverup, and I wear those all the time here in SW Florida, so I’m happy.

  6. I am still kicking myself in the butt for missing your session, Jody. Not that the social media & the law blogger panel was bad, but I just love employment lawyers who “get it”. I will be looking for you as a speaker some other time!

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