Post conference takeaways. How do you follow up? Find Your Lane!

Time flies… and so did the 78th annual HRSouthwest Conference this year in Fort Worth Texas. I always get excited about the conference, the sessions, the marketplace, and the people. Every year is special and every year goes by so fast. Recently, SHRM sent out a question on social media asking about how we follow up after conference. As I reflect, I think about all of the moments I experienced, the sessions I enjoyed, and the people I met along the journey. Capturing these moments is the very reason why I published my latest book call “Milemarkers”. You see, many times, we embrace the moments with others, and then they are gone. We forget about them, until later in life when someone says, “remember when…”.

When we capture the “Milemarkers”, we navigate in life with purpose. We are intentional in both our career and our personal life. So, before we can decide what we are going to do now that the conference is over, we must first reflect on the conference takeaways that moved us as HR and business professionals. Was is the session topics, the people, or the conversations? For me, it was everything…

Here are a few of my conference Milemarkers:

  1. David Horsager keynote message – “The Trust Edge”… The opening keynote was incredibly moving. Davis talked about trust and reminded us the #1 reason people want to work for an organization is trusted leadership. He spoke on the 8 pillars of trust and how everything of value is built on trust.
  2. First Time Ambassador program. One of my favorite parts of The HRSouthwest Conference this year was being part of the first time attendee ambassador program! Being an ambassador is an honor and something I really enjoyed this year at conference. It’s an opportunity to be a resource for HR professionals attending the conference for the very first time. It can be daunting trying to navigate to the right educational sessions and connecting with exhibitors in in marketplace. This special program provides direction and support to help each attendee make their 3-day event a better experience. So proud to be part of this team and hope everyone’s experience was just a little bit better because of it!
  3. Conference Videos with Seth McColley. Seth is an HR leader at Kirby Smith, based out of OKC. He is also the host of 6 degrees or less podcast. At the end of day one and day two, Seth and I would post a video of our conference takeaways. This was a lot of fun sharing the sessions and speakers that were making an impact on us. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the videos. We need to also give credit to our photographer, Sean Self, CEO and President of Self Opportunity in Dallas Texas. Thanks Sean!
  4. Creating a competitive advantage by Tony Bridwell. I always learn from this HR leader and this session was no exception. Tony’s message was around “creating experience through stories when we SYNC UP, SPEAK UP, and SHOW UP.
  5. The Marketplace was buzzing with more than 160 exhibitors sharing their latest products and services. What I enjoy most is networking on the floor with old friends and meeting new ones. It also includes “The Knowledge Hub”. This is an area in the marketplace for speakers to share a topic in 10 minutes. It’s like a short Ted Talk, DisruptHR talk, or Ignite presentation. There were so many great speakers and was impressed by many including Dustin Paschal, Kelvin Goss, and Theresa Glomb just to name a few… I would like to have seen them all. So inspirational.
  6. Jerrod Murr speaking on Generational Identification. Jerrod is one of the best. He shared some great points including “what matters most is not your age, but your point of reference” when dealing with generational differences. The most impact message of this session was about how generational gaps have not changed, but the technology has, so we need to replace the millennial talk from entitled to impatient… from lazy to underchallenged. We don’t have a generational problem; we have a leadership problem.
  7. The Welcome Center. This was my 10th year to be part of the welcome center team and always enjoy this community. The group is typically made up of past conference directors and leaders in the DallasHR community that are tasked with helping attendees with questions during conference. This year was exceptional once again and appreciate Kim Vincent, 2018 Conference Director leading the coordination for 2019!
  8. Conference Bookstore. The bookstore is filled with books published by authors speaking at conferences, as well as published by SHRM. It also includes conference swag. It’s also the area to get books signed by authors. My favorite book purchases this year was “The Daily Edge” by David Horsager. What was your favorite?
  9. Welcome to Fort Worth Kickoff Mixer at River Ranch Stockyards. This is a great opportunity to meet new attendees before the conference begins. Conference volunteers always do a great job welcoming attendee to the conference and helping them make it a great experience. I met so many great people and love the cowboy bandanas!
  10. Texas SHRM Meetings. Each year, the Texas SHRM leadership team meets on the Saturday before the conference to discuss important topics around SHRM chapters in the state of Texas. This is was my first year as district director and was honored to serve District 2 which includes North Texas SHRM, Mid Cities SHRM, PHRA Amarillo, Heart of Texas Waco, Mid-Tex Brownwood, LVCSHRM Brownsville, and EPSHRM El Paso. This meeting was even more special when our leadership presented me with “Rookie of the Year” for Texas SHRM… It’s an honor to serve with so many great leaders in this amazing organization. Looking forward to driving our mission to connect and support Chapter leaders in 2020…

There were so many great milemarkers not listed including engaging with some of the best college students in Texas to the SHRM Convos and Coffees experience to helping us drive Better Workplaces, Better World with a huge post it wall filled with ideas, and a silent auction benefiting the SHRM foundation, as well as the many awards and recognition for attendees…

So getting back to how do we follow up after a conference… My advice?

  1. Make a list of people you met at conference that made impact.
  2. Connect on social media. LinkedIn and Twitter to start. #HRSWC
  3. Follow up with a note. Be specific where you met or what you discussed.
  4. Ask how you can help them.
  5. Don’t sell… Just Serve! Ask how you can help them… or find something of value to share.  

What’s your advice?

Special thanks to DallasHR Executive Director Brad Shanklin and Staff, HRSouthwest Conference Director Davani Buckley and conference volunteers, along with Texas SHRM for delivering an outstanding state conference for the HR community once again.

Want to experience a short video of my conference experience? Click here…

Looking forward to Embracing the Future of HR in 2020!

Quote of the week: “We value integrity, we follow clarity.Tony Bridwell

Call to Action: How do you follow up when conference is over? Share your best advice below and let’s drive a better workplace, better world together!

This has been A Relocation Minute on “HRSoutwest Conference Takeaways ” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call 972-389-5673, or email or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and my 5-year Leadership Journal “Milemarkers” available on amazon.

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