July #SHRMChat Preview – Conferences


It’s time for another SHRMChat!

For newbies, SHRMChat is a monthly Twitter chat where we discuss issues affecting state and local affiliates of SHRM. There are different issues every month, and I preview and recap every month on my blog.

This month, SHRMChat will be discussing conferences. Many of us attended the recent Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition (SHRM12), where more than 13,000 people gathered to drink in all things HR. I belong to two different local SHRM affiliates, and both have hosted, or are preparing to host, one day conferences. And most state affiliates offer a conference.

So conferences are important to SHRM at every level. Other HR pros think so too, considering the rise of non-SHRM conferences like HRevolution and TLNT.com.

So let’s chat about what  needs to be done  to make an HR conference a success. To help us with this discussion, we will be joined by 3 special guests:

Mike VanDervort@MikeVanDervort – Mike is the social program strategist for HR FLorida, one of the largest state councils and conferences in the country. He also recently attended SHRM12 as an official blogger, and decided that SHRM has a formula for success through social media. Read about it here.

John Jorgenson@jkjhr – John is serving his 2nd year as director of the Illinois State Council conference, and was the State Director of ILSHRM prior to becoming conference director.

Steve Browne@sbrownehr – Steve was the conference director of HR Rocks, the 2011 Ohio State HR conference.

Here are the specific questions we will ask during the chat. The first question will be asked at 8:10 and each successive question will post on the 10’s.

  • Q1. Excluding content, what are the 3 most important ingredients for a successful conference?
  • Q2. Can there be a successful HR conference without social media? Why or why not?
  • Q3. Name the top 3 social media practices a conference should use.
  • Q4. Are HRCI credits a must for a successful conference? If not, how do you attract attendees?
  • Q5. What are the 2 or 3 most important attributes of a successful conference director?
As always, we encourage discussion around the topic even if a specific question isn’t asked.
Chat with us on Twitter, hashtag #SHRMChat, on TUESDAY, JULY 10  at 8 pm EST/7pm CST 



ILSHRM11 – A Twitter Success

Patty Grossert is the Human Resources Director at North American Medical Management in the Chicago, Illinois area. She currently has 155 contacts on Linkedin, about 3 times the national average of 60, so she is not an absolute stranger to social networking.

When Patty started a Twitter account in 2009, though, she did what many people do: she tweeted once, then abandoned the account.

That was Patty’s first, and until last week, only tweet.

Then Patty attended the Social Media Boot Camp at the Illinois State SHRM Conference. This pre-conference session, led by Jessica Miller-Merrill, was intended to help HR pros learn the tools necessary to make informed decisions about how and when to use social media platforms.Part of the session naturally covered Twitter. Here’s what happened to Patty:

As read from the bottom up, Patty started tweeting at that pre-confrence session, and she didn’t give up. The coaching and information kept coming, until Patty had become so enchanted with Twitter that she posted the day after the conference was over:

The freak flag reference is to Talent Anarchy,  first day keynote speakers. So not only is Patty tweeting after the end of the conference, but she is referring to something she learned there.

To me, there is no greater measurement of the success of the Illinois state conference than Patty Grossert. The conference planners saw a need for practical, how-to, hands on information in an area beneficial and important to HR practitioners, delivered that knowledge, and encouraged the attendees to use that information before they even left the building. I give all of the credit for this to John Jorgenson, chair of this conference. He saw what was needed, and did it without apology.

Can you say the same about the last conference you went to?