I had the honor of serving on the HR Florida State Conference & Expo Social Technology Team last week in Orlando, Florida. If you’re not already in the know, HR Florida has a reputation for being the show to be at— top keynotes, engaging and informational concurrent sessions, stocked expo hall, fabulous parties… this conference really has it going on.

The motivation behind attending a conference like HRFL can vary. For some of the ~2,500 attendees, the conference was a means to stock up on HRCI credits and check their certification box for the year. For others it is an opportunity to come together with like-minded professionals and talk shop, figure out what their peers are actually doing in the field and return with a few solid ideas to implement at home. And maybe have a little fun on the dance floor in between…

I was there to connect, share and learn.

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Connect – One of things I was most looking forward to leading up to the conference was getting out from behind the digital curtain and talking to my peers and leaders I follow in the space. It’s not very often that you are surrounded by hundreds of like-minded individuals, looking to chat it up about employment branding and the value of intake calls. I took full advantage of roaming the convention halls and stopping people whose faces I knew, but have only had 140-character interactions with. If you’re at a conference and you recognize someone via his or her online persona, make the move to introduce yourself.

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Photo above with @Jackie_Ore during a Wednesday morning Rise & Shine.

Share – On Monday August 16 at 1pm I made my conference-speaking debut. It was a little nerve wracking if you want the truth, but with the help of my fellow Social Tech Team members I made it out alive—and we even had a few fans. Our presentation was titled “How to Make Social Media Work For You and Your Organization” and covered both our personal and career wins through our use of social media tools. The central message of our presentation was that there isn’t a secret formula for social media success. Sure you can read blogs and get “X # of Tips for Twitter,” but without a set goal, how can you truly measure your efforts? Our advice to the audience was twofold: 1) Know why you’re signing up for an account and 2) Once you know why, be consistent in your approach to the why.

It was also our responsibility to cover the sessions and share key points from each presentation live on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Both attendees and non-attendees could then visit the indexed points using the hashtag #HRFL13 and read up on what was covered in sessions.  The inaugural Social Tech Team was formed in 2009, and since then, the conference attendance at HRFL has doubled. Doubled. HRFL has clearly identified the why and the how.

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Meet the Social Tech Team: Robin Schooling, Chris Ponder, Sarah Williams and John Nykolaiszyn.

Learn – While it’s hard not to be utterly inspired by Aron Ralston’s moving opening keynote, my biggest takeaways came from concurrents with @Shally and @DavidJost. Although covering the conference as a whole was priority number one for me, I was also set on covering sessions that made the most sense to my role at Kinetix. As a conference attendee, figuring out how to spend your time in a way that maximizes your ROI on the ticket price can seem like a daunting task. If you’re not interested in the subject matter within the first 3 slides—leave and find a new session. You’re there to learn on behalf of your team, and you can’t do that if your presenter isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.

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Photo above of @Shally after his presentation on sourcing effectiveness.

Thanks, HR Florida for your hospitality. It was a blast and I can’t wait for 2014!


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