#SHRM18 First Time Attendee? Just A Few Tips – Series

SHRM18 Bloggers and attendees can’t stop talking about the conference. There is something new coming out every day, almost every few hours! Because I was a first-time attendee to the SHRM National Conference last year, I want to help other first-time attendees prepare for the SHRM18 Conference! So here’s the start of the SHRM18 First Time Attendee Series, let’s jump into the fun!

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SHRM18 is so much more than just an HR conference. If this is your first time attending a SHRM National Conference, be prepared! Well, I’m sure you’re asking, “Be prepared for what Jazmine?” the short answer … EVERYTHING!

I’d grown a good network before attending SHRM17 due to my twitter account, but actually meeting these HR Pros in real life, took my connections and network to an entirely new level! I was so excited to attend the #Nextchat get together, but also nervous, and as a first-time attendee, you might be feeling the same way.


Be prepared for hugs (I know, I know) but some people like hugging and sometimes when they are excited to meet you, the hug just happens. Be prepared to walk and talk a lot. While SHRM18 is about connecting, it is also about seeing the sessions and keynotes so sometimes, when meeting people, you’ll be meeting them on the go. Making plans to meet up in a session, like Janelle R. and me, it worked really well for us. We had been trying to meet up a few times during the conference and would miss each other by minutes, but we finally got together at one of the keynotes and then took some awesome pictures. I did meet a lot of the HRTribe during the Nextchat connection one day at the conference and that was amazing! I can’t wait to do it again, these people are more than just someone I talk to on the internet, they are truly helping me become one of the best HR professionals and I hope I am in some way doing the same for them.

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Be prepared to be tired, but energized at the same time, think back to your toddler days! I am not a morning person and I don’t drink coffee, so that won’t work with me. But, I don’t want to miss the 7am sessions and I can’t stay in all night. My first time in Chicago and with the HR Pros again, I have to stay out connecting, finding amazing foods, and shopping! It’s a great balance to doing things that you want and also getting the entire experience of the conference you’ve paid a lot of money to attend. Don’t overdo it, we don’t want you being the talk of the conference because you fell out from exhaustion. Make a plan before the conference, but be prepared to change it up and always remember, if you’re not learning or not having fun, change locations!

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It’s ok if you don’t attend the Tuesday Night Show, the SHRM police will not come after you. I didn’t attend the show last year because I didn’t particularly care to see the entertainment. My sister and I used the time to take a quick nap and then head out to a restaurant and a few parties. SHRM has not announced the Tuesday Night performance yet, so having an idea of something else to do is ok! Don’t feel pressure to attend the show if you don’t like the person/group performing. That’s the great thing about being in a major city, you will find something else to do. Make plans to meet up with some of the HR pros you’ve been wanting to meet or just to have a night out doing something you want to do for yourself.

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SHRM18 is exactly what you make of it and that’s why it’s more than just another conference. Create the experience of a lifetime visiting the city, checking out the bookstore (Andi, please stop me if I get up to purchasing 14 books this go around), check out the Smart Stage, the vendors. There is so much to do while attending the SHRM conference, so get ready, the journey is starting!

Until Next Time …

Part 2 – Breaking Down the SHRM18 Sessions!

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