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Indiana SHRM News
Indiana SHRM News

The Myth of the Conference “Takeaway”

This blog is contributed by Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP, Vice President of Human Resources for LaRosa’s, Inc. Steve is a Mega Session speaker at the 2018 HR Indiana Conference.

I love attending HR Conferences! There is always a buzz that occurs as you pass through the hallways.

I’m always curious about what people are talking about. It’s interesting for me to watch people move from room to room and take their seat as they wait for the speaker to come forward to make his or her presentation.

One of the primary drivers in choosing which sessions to attend seems to be credit hours towards recertification. These are important, but I would challenge attendees to see presentations that focus where they’d like to develop professionally. I recommend choosing sessions that stretch you and how you practice HR, as well as those sessions that help you grow stronger technically.

When people go to conferences, I often hear, “What are the takeaways from the presentation?” This is often perceived to be the responsibility of the speaker. People want the magic 5-to-7-point model that will lift them out of the mire they’re in and magically fix them and the environment in which they work.

This doesn’t exist and never has. It’s a myth.

Takeaways are what YOU glean from a presentation that either resonate with you or are a tool/approach that you could utilize in your role. It’s not possible for someone to give a model that would fit every industry type and/or HR function because each one has its own unique characteristics. The speaker also has no context as to how HR is practiced where you work.

So, I’d suggest you consider a different perspective.

In every session you attend, list the top three to five nuggets that you will be able to review, consider and then implement at your workplace. This is a manageable number and will allow you to make an impact when you return to your company. Keep in mind that HR conferences are for YOUR professional development. Make sure the takeaways you capture address your needs.

I’d also recommend connecting with each speaker you see, either in person at the conference, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. If you want to ask a follow-up question, reach out and ask. Speakers love to hear back from people who came to their session. They’re also typically willing to share their materials and slides if they can be a resource for you.

I’d love for you to consider attending my session at the conference: HR on Purpose!! – 5 Ways to Own, Lead and Integrate HR Throughout Your Organization. You’ll hear about changing your approach towards practicing HR and interacting with the humans at your company. You’ll get to see HR in a different light that is integrated, interesting, fun and passionate.

I hope that you thrive in every session that you attend at HR Indiana, and you find the knowledge that helps you grow, lead and succeed!!