Connecting !!

This week is truly a week I eagerly anticipate every year !!  That is because I know when September rolls around, so does the annual Ohio State HR Conference !!  I get excited because it’s a chance to break away from the day-to-day and be with my peers.  I know this sounds HR Nerdish but I’m unapologetic about it.

The Conference has an intimate feel to it even though we’re approaching 900 attendees and 90+ vendors.  The theme this year is “HR – Making Connections that Count” and I really dig the feel of this.  The question is, will people step out and make connections?

One of the real challenges of HR is that we try to gut it out or go it alone.  I don’t know when this trend where  isolation is seen as a strength ever started, but it needs to end !!  Ironically, there will be attendees who come to this great event (and others like it) and will do little to no connecting whatsoever.  No connections with resource partners, no connections with peers and no connections with people who could make HR truly come alive for them !!  Why is that?

I don’t think it’s a matter of introversion or extraversion.  I think it’s a case of risk aversion !!  I’m amazed how the folks who are in the field of HUMANS are so hesitant to meet others.  Is it because we’re different and won’t have anything in common?  Is it because someone will meet you and immediately ask you some insanely hard HR question, and if you don’t know the right answer, they’ll kick you out of HR ??

Then what is it?  What continually keeps folks apart and not connecting?

I have a theory . . .

ButtonsYou see, I collect buttons.  I have loads of them and they don’t follow any particular pattern or grouping.  They range from Monty Python, to types of beer, to rock bands to hippie related ones, to classic cartoons, to HR ones, etc.  Here’s a quick pic of just a few of my collection.  I’m trying to organize them to show them off and enjoy them !!

So, what’s my theory?  Just like the buttons we are a mix of a million different interests, emotions, ideas, insights, viewpoints and approaches.  However, we either think others won’t find us interesting enough, or we think we won’t find people who share our interests.  And that my friends is sad !!

I LOVE that we’re different !!  How dreadfully boring would it be if we were all the same ??  Seriously.

So, I have a challenge for you this week.  I plan to connect with every (EVERY) single attendee and vendor at the Conference.  Not just meet them – connect with them.  I want to learn about who they are and see how we can be resources to each other.

Your challenge is to meet one (1) new person this week and connect with them.  I think that keeps things pretty balanced.  If you’re one of the 900 attending #OHSHRM13, I’m geeked to see you, meet you and connect with you.  Maybe . . . you’ll even be wearing a button !!

6 thoughts on “Connecting !!”

  1. This year I have the privilege of attending the Annual Conference of the CIPD (UK version of SHRM) as a blogger. It’s an opportunity I’m thinking differently about. When I’ve attended previously, I’ve always thought the content from the conference sessions is the most important priority of my role.

    I’ve been thinking about it differently for a number of weeks. I’m there to help people connect to the event who aren’t there. Some of that will come from tweeting about messages from the conference sessions. Some of that, though, will come from the exhibitors. The vendors make the event happen, so why should I exclude them because of a lack of appreciation on my part?

    Your thoughts on connecting have helped me to be resolute in being more purposeful about my interactions with the splendid folk manning the stands bravely, and I want them to know I’m on their side.

  2. I think some are weary of interacting with others due to the nature of their introduction to HR. Imagine someone like me who was drafted into HR and did not actively select it as a profession. (I am glad it happened because I LOVE what I do.) Those who may be in a similar situation might feel a bit “less than” because of the lack of formal training, etc. This thought process may/may not be justified but I think it would have somewhat of an impact for some individuals.

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