“Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire…”
– Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
Although I’ve lost count, I believe that my visit to Las Vegas for the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition will be at least my 20th visit to this desert oasis, but my first in a “professional” capacity. My previous visits were usually for a quick getaway either with my wife or for a “guys weekend” to take in all that Las Vegas offers. There were a few years where 4 visits within a 12-month period was not uncommon. While the frequency of my visits has certainly slowed down over the years, with my last visit in 2014, Las Vegas is a still a very familiar and enjoyable getaway for me.
This visit to Las Vegas will be very different for a number of reasons. First, my plan is for the first 3+ days to be fully immersed in the full “SHRM Annual Conference experience.” Being only my second SHRM annual conference, with the first in 2018 in Chicago, I think that I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, which provides me with both a level of excitement as well as a bit of anxiety. I was so overwhelmed in 2018 (in a good way) at my first conference that I hope my goals and expectations are realistic for this visit. Second, having the honor to attend as a member of the SHRM 19 Blogger Team yet adds another level of excitement and anxiety to ensure that I am not only experiencing the conference for myself, but also sharing these experiences with others that may or may not be in attendance through my social media and blog posts. Finally, after the whirlwind of SHRM 19 is completed midday on Wednesday, I hope to then see the many sights of Las Vegas that I’ve enjoyed over the years in just a few short days after the conclusion of the conference.
As I make my plans for SHRM 19, I thought I would share some ideas for both new conference attendees (as I was last year) and also some ideas to experience all that is Las Vegas outside of the convention center.
I am a person that is very driven by both lists and goals, so I’m looking to repurpose a concept that helped me ensure that I made the most of my first conference at SHRM 18. Leading up to that conference, I had the pleasure of “meeting” many human resources professionals through social media. Many were members of last year’s SHRM 18 Blogger Team and I made it a goal to meet IRL (in real life) as many as I could. To help keep me on task, I created a bingo card with the Twitter handles of 25 HR pros that I tried to meet up and take a selfie with at SHRM 18. To make things more interesting, I pledged to donate $5 to the SHRM Foundation for each person I met and if I filled the card, I would donate an extra $25 for a total $150 donation. I called this game SHRM-O 2018.
My completed SHRM-O 2019 card
While I came up just 3 names short, it was still a great experience to meet 22 out of 25 new friends and also make a $110 donation to the SHRM Foundation. And since “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, feel free to give this a try and make your own “SHRM-O 2019” card.
For 2019, I hope to offer a fun activity for attendees by creating TWO similar cards for the conference that I hope attendees will consider using. The first (SHRM-O 2019 – Conference Edition) will be focused primarily for first-time conference attendees to ensure that they make the most of their conference experience. The second (SHRM-O 2019 – Viva Las Vegas Edition), which will appear in a future post, will focus on post-conference activities and list some of my favorite secret and not-so-secret attractions in Las Vegas.
Here is my 2019 SHRM-O 2019 – Conference Edition Scavenger Hunt/Checklist:
- Follow #SHRM19Blogger on Twitter
- Find and add ribbons to your conference badge
- Have a book (or books) signed by a SHRM 19 speaker
- Stay out “All Night Long” on Tuesday with Lionel Richie
- Hear Martha Stewart say “It’s a good thing…”
- Pick up some exhibit hall swag for your co-workers
- Hear keynote speaker Brene’ Brown
- Register for SHRM 2020 San Diego
- Visit the SHRM Foundation Booth and learn about their mission
- Attend one or more Smart Stage sessions
- Buy something with a SHRM logo at the bookstore
- Meet Steve Browne
- Stay after a session to meet the speaker
- Attend one or more sessions that take you “outside of your comfort zone”
- Introduce yourself to those sitting next to you at sessions
- Hear keynote speaker Blake Mycoskie
- Kick off the first general session with Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.
- Meet a #SHRM19Blogger in person
- Attend an evening networking event
- Thank a SHRM volunteer
- Track your daily steps at the conference
- Hear keynote speaker Vineet Nayar
- Commit to staying connected after the conference with someone you just met
- Make it to a 7:15 a.m. session
- Share your experiences on social media with #SHRM19
To print out a card for yourself, click on the card image below to: myfreebingocards.com
I hope you enjoy “SHRM-O 2019 – Conference Edition” during the conference. Watch the SHRMBlog for my next card, “SHRM-O 2019 – Viva Las Vegas Edition!”