Tag Archives: Steve Boese

Conference Attendance 101

data point tuesday_500This was originally published on August 31, 2010 — it’s still valid today. Especially if you’re joining me at the HRTech Conference next week. Especially the part about smiling…

So.  You took advice from my last blog post and decided which conference to attend.  Congratulations.  But now you want to be sure that you leverage your investment by making the most of your attendance.  Here are three proven strategies for making sure you get your money’s worth.


Conferences generally have 3 types of content sessions:

  1. General Sessions:  these are sessions that are intended for the full complement of attendees.  The speakers are typically big names in the industry who speak on universal topics relevant to the conference theme or they are big celebrity names meant to draw your attendance to the conference.  Here in Orlando where I’m attending the SHRM affiliated HR Florida conference, the opening general session featured Henry Winkler.  (He was terrific, by the way.)
  2. Concurrent Sessions:  these are the main content tracks that are scheduled throughout the conference.  Each time slot will hold multiple options for your consideration.  Designed for smaller subsets of the conference attendees, these tend to be led by practitioners, consultants or academics and are focused content of a practical nature.
  3. Sponsor Highlights:  these are sessions that feature a sponsor or exhibitor’s product or service, are marketing-focused in nature, and come as part of their sponsorship/exhibitor fee.

In a typical two and a half day conference, it’s important to select the sessions you want to attend wisely – and in advance.  But it’s also important not to over-schedule yourself (more on that later). I recommend attending all the General Sessions.  The big names generally have value and the celebrity speakers are generally engaging, entertaining and motivating.  Then attend concurrent sessions in about 75% of the time slots.

Save time for Networking

One of the particular values of attending a conference in person (as opposed to an online conference or a series of webinars) is the opportunity to meet other like minded people.  Look at the list of presenters.  Look at the list of sponsors/exhibitors.  Find out who else will be attending.  Then target 4-8 people that you’d really like to meet and talk with – and find them at the conference.  Leaving time in your session schedule to set short appointments when you find people on your target list will allow you to be thoughtful in creating new relationships.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from industry pros – who, by the way, also want to network and meet people just like you!

You know how to network, right?  You prepare for these opportunities in advance by identifying what you’d like to talk about with each target and prepare 2 or 3 questions to get the conversation rolling.  You can ask everyone the same questions, or you can customize your approach to each person.  Your confidence will be strong as you introduce yourself to these folks and you’ll be surprised how amenable perfect strangers are to meet and talk with you.

Nothing is more attractive than a smile

As you walk the conference halls and expo aisles, make sure your demeanor and body language is open.  And smile.  Intentionally.  You’ll appear open, friendly, not intimidating or intimidated.  Really, there’s nothing more attractive than a smiling face.  And there’s nothing that builds your confidence to approach strangers than acting open and welcoming.

Attending a conference and getting your money’s worth isn’t hard.  But it takes some forethought and planning.  Both you and your organization want to realize the investment it took to get there.  Make sure you get the full value of the experience.


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Filed under Bill Kutik, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Globoforce, HR Technology, HR Technology Conference, LRP Publications, Steve Boese

2013 HR Tech Conference: Just Around the Corner!

data point tuesday_500

This isn’t a usual Data Point Tuesday. No data to review. Rather, I want to encourage you to consider attending the HR Technology Conference this fall. And not just because it’s in #VegasBaby.

HR Tech Logo 2

HR Tech is one of the top HR conferences in the world  – and gets stronger every year. This is the 16th year of HR Tech, and Bill Kutik – the conference founder and co-chair – says that it’s the best place to learn how to get the business benefits from technology. And I have to agree with him. Here’s what I wrote after attending HR Tech for the first time in 2011,

“One conference treats HR people like they impact the bottom line.  Like they are business leaders capable of making business decisions. … Unlike the nonprofit conferences of all sizes and the smaller unconferences, HRTech is a place where business gets done.”

And it certainly was the same – only better – in 2012. Here’s what I wrote about last year’s conference:

“The HR Technology Conference is the one conference to attend to find out how to make your HCM infrastructure more productive, more efficient, more cost effective and more future oriented. … It’s the one conference to attend to get a glimpse of what will be possible in the future to ensure organization success.”

And knowing Bill, and his recently announced successor, Steve Boese, here’s what I’m looking forward to this year, from the conference agenda:

  • Presentations from senior execs at world-class organizations including Cigna, Cisco, GE, GM, Hilton, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and many more
  • Keynotes from Don Tapscott and Jason Averbook
  • Innovative and entertaining General Sessions including “The HR Tonight Show Starring Bill Kutik” and “Awesome New Technologies for HR” produced by Steve Boese
  • New “HR Tech Talks,” short, rapid-fire presentations by industry leaders about work, technology, management and some surprising topics
  • Provocative panel discussions, including Collaborative Enterprises Get Work Done!, NextGen Influencers and International Recruiting
  • An Expo Hall filled with the most innovative HR technology solutions available – and some that are just being brought to the market
  • Guaranteed face-time with industry luminaries – Naomi Lee Bloom, Josh Bersin, Gartner’s Ron Hanscome, IDC’s Lisa Rowan and more – in intimate, small-group discussions

The last bullet alone is worth the price of admission!

Let’s face it. Technology is part of every HR professional’s job. Whether you’re an entry-level generalist, a manager/director-level functional expert, or the most senior HR leader in your organization:  you have to be smart about HR technology. Short of returning to school to earn another degree, the HR Technology Conference is the place to learn about the intersection of people, business and technology. It’s the place to meet real thought leaders in person. It’s the place to talk with vendors about potential solutions to your productivity issues. It’s the place to learn about cloud-based SaaS solutions to replace your costly and ineffective legacy systems. It’s the place to learn how HR really can solve business problems.

Even though you can’t put a price tag on this kind of learning, readers of Data Point Tuesday can get a $500 discount on their conference registration. That means you pay only $1,395 instead of $1,895! You’re more efficient already! Register here for the conference and use Promo Code CHINA13 to get the discount. And get this:  for readers of Data Point Tuesday, this Promo Code doesn’t expire until the conference ends on October 9!

There are no guarantees in life. But if you join me at the 2013 HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, October 7-9 at the Mandalay Bay, you will be smarter, more connected, more effective and more attractive when you leave.


Filed under Bill Kutik, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Conferences, HR Technology Conference, Steve Boese