Tuesday my third day of the conference. I have not attended a session yet, and it is ok. One of my blogging peers, was working in The Hive. She was talking social media, and helping this person understand some of the nuances of the particular platform. There was a real exchange of ideas going on. But then … the conference attendee looked at here watch and said she had to run and did not have time to bring the conversation to a close.
Our attendee was off to attend a session. While this is commendable, what sometimes gets lost in the conversation is that there is other learning and things of value going on, outside of the scheduled sessions. And while SHRM does encourage networking through events, and other activities, attendees don’t seem get or understand that is ok to hang out at the conferences, and just have conversations, exchange ideas, learn from a peer who has a vast knowledge of a subject and is willing to share.
I also get the concept of coming to the conference location and not setting foot in the event hall. Remember the commercial where the guy is supposed to be at “the conference” and is badly sunburned. He wasn’t learning or networking, he was simply entertaining himself. This is not what I am talking about.
So here is the takeaway. If you are attending the convention and you are having a really great conversation with someone, if you are learning about something by eavesdropping on a conversation, if you are talking with a presenter and you find them really engaging – don’t feel like you have to run off – just to get to the next session. What you are doing is part of the overall conference learning experience. It is ok. Those of us in HR need to understand things are changing and the rules are changing.
Learning and knowledge exchanges do take place outside of the scheduled sessions – don’t be afraid to do it.