Lessons from the dessert bar at HR Florida

Henry Winkler at the 2008 Fan Expo Canada.
Image via Wikipedia

You are primed for a great success

This was the fortune that I got from a dark chocolate covered fortune cookie during the blogger dinner that we shared on Monday night at HR Florida.   All my friends from the blogging team agreed that we would work our fortune into one of our next blog posts.   This is my effort.

Success is defined as a successful performance or achievement.   By any standard, the 2010 HR Florida State Conference was a big success.  This post the first of a pair in which I will my thoughts on what transpired here, and a description of some of the highlights from the event.

Carol McDaniel, the conference chair reported the following numbers at the opening general session: 1,420 registered attendees,  more than 100 vendors and exhibitors.  And attendees  from 18 states, and three countries, including  as far away as Saudi Arabia.

The opening keynote on Monday was given by Henry Winkler, who turned out to be genuinely charming and genuine in his keynote address.  Mr. Winkler used his own story growing up with a learning disability to share insights on the importance of personal perseverance and a positive outlook for personal success.   If you have never heard him speak, or a seeking an inspiring and humorous keynote speaker, I encourage you to consider Henry Winkler.  He is much more than the Fonz, and shares an inspiring message when he talks!

I worked this year as a volunteer conference leader for the first time in my entire career,  and this made it difficult to attend  many of the concurrent sessions.  For that perspective, you can take a look at posts from  Steve BoeseFranny Oxford,  and Voice of HR, where you find some video  from the show, including an interview with Curtis Midkiff , in charge of social media at SHRM.  Several of these articles discuss the social media activities that were a big part of this conference.

I moderated a panel of expert bloggers yesterday afternoon.  The session was standing room only, and ranged from novices to many hr professionals who work in the social media.   That is double the audience size of a similar panel at HR Florida in 2009.  For an hour, we talked about why human resources people need to understand that social media is rapidly transforming the way people communicate.     Here are some of the chief takeaways from the discussion.  My thanks to Steve Levy, Brenda Le, Karla Porter, and Alicia Arenas who helped me with some thoughts on questions to ask.

  • HR practitioners are starting to understand that social media is going to impact their organization.
  • There is a lot of interest in developing policies, and understanding how to manage social media problems.
  • Many attending the session are looking for basic information on the platforms and how they work, but don’t understand how or why they should get started.
  • Those who view social media as a tool for change, and an opportunity for HR to develop strategic initiatives around a disruptive change in communication are in the minority.

There were several other sessions about social media on the schedule yesterday, and all were well attended.  There is a hunger for knowledge out there. The challenge for HR Florida, local SHRM chapters, and their members now carry forward the momentum from the conference with further  outreach efforts, such as hands on training for HR professionals in the basic use of social media tools.

The other big event was the HR Florida/ Monster Social Tweetup on Monday night.  This event was very similar to the one held at SHRM National in San Diego.  A crowd of more than 100 people attended the event, which was the first partnership effort by Monster at a state conference.   Attendees at the party ranged from HR Florida members  to China Gorman and staff members from  the Marcus Buckingham Company.

Tomorrow, the rest of the story, and my thoughts on being a conference volunteer.

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