My colleague Kerry recently reminded me that this week is my fourth CIPD Northern Area Partnership conference. Whilst looking forward to this week's event, it's given me a great opportunity to reflect on three brilliant conferences, and consider some personal takeaways.
1) Big Themes
I thought it might be interesting to feed three years' worth of conference session titles (including my own workshop on building 'stretchy teams' from 2013) into Tagxedo. This is what emerged:
2) SoMe - it matters
It's been fascinating to see the rise of popularity and engagement using various social media channels. Starting with a few staunch early-adopters, an official conference hashtag, progressing to a live Twitter wall, to a full-blown blog squad - it matters to get involved.
My number one piece of advice to any newcomers (to the conference or to social media) would be to join the discussions before you arrive. Why not find someone you don't know who's tweeting about joining the conference (the official hashtag is #cipdnap15) and arrange to meet up? You'll be amazed how great of an icebreaker a tweet-up can be.
3) Accept that FOMO can and will occur
I often wish I had a time-turner for conferences (for the uninitiated, a time turner is a neat time travelling device from the wold of Harry Potter, which allows Harry's friend Hermione to attend every class she wants to).
There may be some difficult decisions to make about which sessions you choose to attend...but a great way to deal with FOMO (fear of missing out) is find at least one thing to takeaway from each workshop. It might not even be directly related to the workshop itself - a new connection, a shared idea, or even just some thinking space to reflect on your current situation - it will be there!
4) Check the time
At some point, someone will utter the phrase:
"There's never been a more exciting time to work in HR."
I'm calling 15/1 on the opening keynote. Any advances?
If the past three years are anything to go by, this week's conference will offer a welcome opportunity to connect with familiar faces, make new connections, share ideas, and hear from a set of world-class speakers on a variety of topics.
Bring it on.