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This post is sponsored by Perengo – A Programmatic Recruitment Platform. Be sure to connect with their Director of Sales at the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference (June 18-20). Learn how programmatic job ads can produce results for your organization.

Industry conferences are often equal parts exciting and overwhelming. The audible buzz of a massive expo hall, combined with an action-packed schedule and endless networking, can easily bewilder even the most seasoned conference-goer.

That’s why preparation is key. With SHRM 2017 just around the corner, now is the time to begin planning and organizing your company’s presence at the world’s largest HR trade show. The vast majority of conference attendees simply secure their tickets, assemble their team, and ‘wing it’ at the conference without any preparation. As a consequence, they don’t get the maximum return on their investment.

Luckily, you can effectively prepare for SHRM 2017 in just 30 minutes. We’ve outlined 5 steps to help guide the process, from defining your conference KPIs to stuffing your swag bag. Conquer these steps and you’ll be on track for a productive and enjoyable conference experience.

1. Outline your company goals

Attending a conference can be a significant expense. If your company has allocated a budget for SHRM 2017, it’s best to treat the event as you would any new project in order to avoid draining unnecessary resources. This means defining concrete goals and realistic expectations. What do you want to achieve with the conference, and how will you do it? Put your strategy in motion early on to lighten the workload at conference time.

Next, define your target audience. Which people would you like to reach? Find out who is going to the conference, how you will meet them, and how you will strategically follow up with them. Reach out to attendees in advance. Make your path to customers, clients, and partners as clear as possible. You will thank yourself later, when you’re seamlessly darting between meetings instead of spending valuable time trying to contact the right people.

2. Secure all transportation and accommodation

The last thing you want to worry about at the conference is logistics. Avoid any nightmare situations by booking everything in advance and familiarizing yourself with the surrounding area. You may already have travel and lodging sorted for SHRM 2017, but don’t forget about transfers between conference and hotel.

Gather all the components of your travel itinerary – including flight times and confirmation numbers – in one place either on your phone or in a folder. Browse the city layout and hotspots to get a general sense of how you will get from point A to B.

3. Prepare a conference toolkit

Nowadays, your smartphone and tablet are your handiest tools at a conference. Many conferences have their own branded apps through which you can find information, discover events, and get in touch with attendees. Your phone is also where you might add new contacts on LinkedIn. Don’t forget your chargers and portable power banks.

Despite the heavy reliance on technology, freshly printed business cards are always a good idea. Sometimes a new contact can get lost in the digital abyss, but their business card remains in your wallet or purse for much longer.

Be sure to arrange your company’s sales, demo, and brand materials (such as product leaflets and swag bag goodies). Let your creativity fly here, but whatever you do, don’t end up at the conference empty handed and miss this key opportunity for brand exposure.

4. Join the conversation on social media

No conference in 2017 would be complete without its own hashtag, which is also a valuable attendee marketing tool if used correctly. Test your company traction and gain some new followers via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by tagging your posts with the designated conference hashtag. The official hashtag for SHRM 2017 is, you guessed it: #SHRM17.

It’s a good idea to inform your social following where you will be and when. Make it clear the immediate benefit that people will gain from interacting with you at the event; remember, everyone is busy and the conference is massive, so standing out from the pack will get you ahead.

5. Review the conference schedule and map

Spend a few minutes perusing the conference offering and getting acquainted with the venue. Always keep your original conference mission in mind as you consider which talks and workshops you’ll attend. Also think about where and when you might approach potential new leads or gather existing customer feedback. Last but not least: Pencil in some well-deserved downtime to avoid burnout, keep your schedule as flexible as possible, and remember to have fun!

Don’t forget to connect learn about cutting edge recruitment technology at this year’s SHRM 2017 Annual Conference (June 18-20) in New Orleans. Connect with the experts at Perengo and see how programmatic recruitment can increase your quality applicant count significantly.


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