“C” is for Conference and Collaboration

It’s conference season in the world of HR Technology.  There was Workday Rising, and HR Tech, and this week it’s IQPC HR Shared Services Summit in Orlando.  Then it's on to HR Tech World Congress in Paris followed by another Workday Rising in Europe.

In a recent blog post, I suggested that despite all the attention that vendors try to draw to themselves through booth designs, costumes and giveaways, it’s not about the vendors. It’s about the attendees and prospective customers. The point was that these HR Technology conferences are an opportunity for the vendors to better understand the attendees and their challenges.

A Fresh Opportunity

This post takes the focus off the vendors entirely, and puts it solely on the attendees. The big opportunity  at these conferences is for attendees to seek out and collaborate with like-minded attendees who face similar challenges.

Most of us have gotten pretty good at working with our internal resources – our coworkers – to solve our shared challenges.  But the limitation with trying to solve a problem with your coworkers is that we suffer from an internal myopia.  Most of what most of us know is what’s between the four walls within which we coexist.

To get fresh ideas and fresh perspectives, you’ve got to get outside your four walls, and speak to someone else that knows the problem you face.  They understand the problem, but they have an external perspective.  This enables that person to see differences that you may not.  And identify solutions that you don’t see.

Keep a Reminder

delta-napkin-with-noteYes, that’s the beauty of these HR Technology conferences.  They’re opportunities to put a fresh set of expert eyes on the problems you’re working so hard to solve.

When you’re on the flight to your next conference, take that small napkin that the flight attendant gives you during beverage service.  On the napkin, write down one of your top challenges.  Then put that napkin into your pocket each morning of the conference.  The napkin will be your concrete reminder to seek out the conversations each day.

Make a Commitment

Each day, commit to speak to 3 to 5 fellow attendees to see how they attack the problem. By doing this, you'll take home some valuable ideas that you didn't have when you left.  And that's better than any vendor giveaway!

The real value of any conference you attend comes from the opportunities to collaborate on problem-solving with like-minded professionals.