SHRM VegasIn just sixteen (16) short days, 15,000+ of my closest HR friends will converge upon the city of Las Vegas. They’ll engage in all sorts of…learning. Yeah, that’s what we’ll call it.

I was incredibly lucky to attend my first SHRM conference in Las Vegas back in 2011. It was my first time in Vegas and my first time at the conference, so you can imagine the sensory overload.
To help you avoid that, I’ve composed my list of some Do’s & Don’ts for #SHRM15:

Do – Download the conference app and use it to plan your sessions. The conference is taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The expo floor will be massive and the distance between sessions will be challenging. By doing a bit of pre-planning with the app, you’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to figure out where to go next.

Don’t – Complain about the weather. Vegas in June = walking on the sun. It will be hot, deal with it. Take a sweater because the convention center will have a micro climate all its own. You’ll need to hydrate and no, beer does not hydrate you as efficiently as water. Bring some moisturizer, chap stick, and drink lots of water.

Do- Be polite. Hold the door for the person behind you, introduce yourself to the people who are sitting next to you in the sessions. This is an extremely easy place to network take advantage of that. Additionally, you never know when a small gesture will make a difference in someone’s conference experience. Saying “Please” & “Thank You” should be commonplace.

DON’T – Be an idiot. Yes, it’s easy to think that with 15,000+ attendees, speakers, and exhibitors that you’ll be lost in the shuffle. Trust me when I say you won’t. Bad behavior follows you post conference. If you want to shoot craps, take off your name badge. My best advice, if you’re going to participate in any event where there might be any vices around (gambling, drinking, cigar smoking, etc.) take the badge off. You’ll thank me later for that one…

Do – Wear the right shoes. Large space = lots of walking. I know you just hit big on the table (‘cause you didn’t take your badge off) and now your rocking the new Loubies that you bought with your winnings. You do you boo, but remember to bring a backup pair to help cover the distance between the sessions.

Don’t – Bring a rollerbag to the expo floor. Dr. Matt Stollak is in the right on this one. Rollerbags are dangerous and make you look pretentious. Think of this way, it’s like bringing your airplane carry-on and schlepping it behind you in the expo hall.

Do – Attend sessions that are out of your comfort zone. Go to sessions with subjects that make you uncomfortable and while in there, remember to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you.

Don’t – Write horrible comments on the feedback survey. I get it, being anonymous gives you a sense of power. You know what that really shows, insecurity. In fact just go read LFR’s excellent post on how to give positive feedback here

The last Do is pretty simple, be nice to the volunteers, the SHRM Professional Staff, and the hotel & conference center staff. They’re all working to ensure that your personal conference experience is enjoyable, full of learning, and a great overall experience.

If you’d like to run into me follow my twitter stream @CigarSPHR for updates and make sure to follow the twitter #SHRM15 hashtag.

Don’t forget to follow this amazing group of bloggers here, and stay tuned for some more of my dispatches from the conference.



Where in the world is Johnny Nyk?

by John on May 21, 2015

Carmen_SandiegoI wanted to come back guns blazing, y’know writing some really poignant posts about how awesome my whole world has been over the past few months.

I’m not going to lie; that has not really been the case.

Now don’t get me wrong, there has been a whole lot of awesome in my world, but nothing earth shattering or even what I’d consider blog worthy. For example, I was officially credentialed as an instructor at the college. Kind of a big deal in that I can teach some more classes and not feel guilty if the students call me “Professor”. Also, I did manage to get a speaking proposal approved for the 2015 HR Florida conference (nothing too crazy there…zzzzz). Also managed to be on the “blog squad” for SHRM 2015 in Las Vegas, and oh and there were the trips to San Francisco and Detroit to meet with some major clients to discuss recruiting strategy.

I know, that sounds like pretty earth shattering stuff….

I also did a some of lurking in the HR Blogosphere and in true Johnny Nyk fashion had a few offline conversations, gave a bit of confidential counsel, and generally managed to not publically say rude things about fellow bloggers (looking at you Sackett) or the HR industry as a whole.

OK public confession, I did say a few choice comments about the industry to my HR classes, but that’s all I’m going to admit to in this post.

The cardinals have made a brief return to my backyard, and the humidity has been kept at bay, but those days are quickly coming to a close. Summer will be here before I know it, the humidity will become an everyday occurrence and my red birds will go wherever they go when the weather turns muggy.

I’ve also been grappling with a few heavy issues, for instance, the unexpected death of a young man in my college fraternity, a series of random and butt-kicking illnesses with the girls, and moments of self-doubt. I haven’t been a really good friend and started down the path of withdrawing, but I realize that I need to extract my cranium from my rectum and use the telephone.

In short, life has been crazy starting in March to now and I’m finally catching my breath.

I have friends going to Cuba for reasons that I’m not too sure about, witnessed the return of voices in the space that I respect and admire (hat tips to Don Carlos and Charlie), students that will be graduating in August, and all sorts of crazy on the horizon. I’m pretty excited for the next few weeks.

So that’s where I’ve been, and what’s coming up. Please stay tuned, and I promise not to be boring.



We Could Be Heroes

March 3, 2015

This past weekend I had a chance to catch-up with some friends at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The experience was nothing short of awesome. It was one of those top ten moments where you want to take as many pictures to remember, but you don’t because you’re just enjoying the time. Really, […]

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Dispatches from the 2015 HCM Excellence Conference: Post-Conference Review

February 8, 2015

It’s taken me a while to file my final dispatch from Brandon Hall’s 2015 HCM Excellence Conference. The spring college recruiting season is upon us and my days and nights have merged into a series of interview sessions, information sessions, and student counseling sessions. I also wanted to wait a bit before I filed my […]

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Dispatches from the 2015 HCM Excellence Conference – Day Two:

January 30, 2015

It’s pretty difficult these days to break the mold of your typical conference; however, I remain very impressed by the Brandon Hall Group team. The sessions are packed, the audiences are engaged, and the presenters are doing a good job sharing the information. Day two had me covering three sessions. The first, discussed how learning […]

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