#HRMixtape2018: A Guide to Conference Conversations & Engagement

I’m pumped to participate in #HRMixtape2018! Learn more about the challenge from Mark Hendy (@markSWHRF) here and check out excellent contributions from a few of my favorite fellow bloggers Keith Enochs, Steve Browne, and Renee Robson.

I’ve been fortunate to attend a variety of HR & Recruiting Conferences over the past few years as an attendee and as a blogger/social media advocate. As a member of the #SHRM18 Blog Squad, I decided to curate my collection of songs by linking them to tips & tricks for navigating conference conversations and future engagement. Enjoy!

Adele — “Hello”

Adele — “Hello”

Connecting with others at a large conference is as easy as having the courage to walk up to a stranger and say “hello!” Most of my favorite discussions each year come from the random meetings waiting in line for coffee or filing out of the vendor expo hall. It’s important to venture outside of your conference bubble to gain a variety of perspectives and meet some people outside of your company, your function, or your industry. It’s the same on Social Media. You’d be surprised how willing speakers are to connect when you simply slide into their DMs with a note/question about their content or message.

Eminem — “My Name Is”

Eminem — “My Name Is”

I couldn’t throw a playlist together without including a little Marshall Mathers aka Eminem. When you make connections, it’s important to be able to share a succinct and interesting elevator pitch about yourself. A simple, “Hi, My Name is ___ and I’m passionate about ___. I’m a ___ for ___ and would love to connect with you about ___.” is really all you need. I like to switch it up a little, rarely ever using the fill-in-the-blank template I just shared above to talk more specifically about my area of passion, disability employment. If you can focus in on one or just a few topics, you’ll be able to get much deeper into thought and conversation with fellow conference attendees.

MASHUP: Migos — “Bad N Boujee” & Earth, Wind, & Fire — “September”

MASHUP: Migos — “Bad N Boujee” & Earth, Wind, & Fire — “September”

Although I just mentioned the importance to focus your efforts, a conference is a great time to expand your world and learn more about an area that you don’t get exposure to on a day-to-day basis. For me, I’ve become a better HR professional syncing up with folks in the “HR Department of One” space even though I’ve only ever worked at large organizations with HR departments made-up of hundreds of people. For others, they may take a learning away from a recruiting-focused speaker presentation to help reimagine their training and development strategy back home. It’s all about finding those different sources of knowledge or inspiration to make you or your organization better!

Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”

Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”

If you follow-through on all of the pointers above, you’ll be sure to walk away from the conference with new perspectives and many new friends. In order to reap the benefits of what you’ve just gained, you must be sure to keep the conversations going. Connect on LinkedIn, follow each other on Twitter, or *gasp* plan to give someone you just met a follow-up phone call in the next few weeks. #CallMeMaybe

Jagged Edge ft. Nelly — “Where the Party At”

Jagged Edge ft. Nelly — “Where the Party At”

This last one should be obvious and, perhaps, one that I indulge in a bit too much. While conferences are all about learning and networking, you also should let loose and have a little bit of fun too!


If you see me in Chicago for #SHRM18 this year, please be sure to say “hello!” and let me know “where the party at!”

Photo by Namroud Gorguis on Unsplash