The speaker experience – #CIPD11 Day Two

I’m a lover of words, that is part of the reason that I write a blog and also a big part of the reason I work in the organisation that I do. But if I’m honest I prefer words in the written format rather than spoken. I do speak at conferences but whereas some people are dying to get on the stage, I tend to do it more with a mild sense of trepidation.

When the opportunity came to speak at the CIPD conference, I didn’t think twice.  Despite how it can come across sometimes, I’d like to do anything I can to support the profession and in turn our membership body.  But the time gap between being asked to speak and actually having to do it always makes the decision a lot easier!

This morning, I ran a session with Matthew Hanwell from Nokia, chaired by Gareth Jones who many will know from the ConnectingHR community, entitled “HR, Harnessing the Power of Social Media”. Matthew for those who don’t know is a regular speaker on the circuit as well as a top guy and uber knowledgable professional.

The session was slated for one and quarter hours in front of, I’m told a couple of hundred people.  Given the circumstances, the last thing you want to happen are any last-minute hassles, blunders, or admin cock ups.  You just want to have time and space and then to get up and deliver.  And this is where the CIPD came into their own.  I’ve been kicking around conference since Tuesday morning, but the moment I moved into speaker mode, I couldn’t have been better supported or welcomed by the CIPD staff.  The professionalism of everyone from the meeters and greeters, to the chaperones, to the AV guys.  Every thing was top class.

Now this may not seem a lot, but believe me in those circumstances it is exactly what you need.  Add to this the fact that I had some friendly faces up close and personal in the audience (thanks Rob Jones, Natalia Tomson, Mervyn Dinnen, Doug Shaw and Rob Moss) and it helped to ease the nerves nicely. The list of CIPD people is too long to mention, but from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU……you’re all stars.

If you want a summary of the session (and to see my ludicrous shirt) then I’d check out Doug Shaw’s excellent blog here.  Now, I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit, attending the CIPD “Tweet Up” this evening and practising a little of what I preach on social media. But if you’re ever asked to speak or support a CIPD event, then I’d grab the opportunity with both hands – they really know how to make these things work.

But enough of that, I’m thirsty…..whose round is it? Make mine a large one.


  1. nataliecooperme · November 10, 2011

    Neil, it was great to meet you at the CIPD. Trust is a major issue. I hope this presentation around empowering your employees to share ideas via social media tools encourages more HR professionals to speak up to the board. HR can use social media platforms to leverage new innovation, spark creativity, bind disparate communities of employees together and even build reward into social media participation.

    It’s also worth looking at what some of the technology providers are doing to foster employee engagement. I’m not sure who coined this phrase first, but HR now has to start thinking strategically – new buzz phrase? ‘Social enterprise networking’ – here is a snippet:

    “With organisations facing increased pressure from a competitive marketplace and not much capital to spare, multimedia allows you to put your employees at the centre of your enterprise,” argues Sunil Senan, associate vice president, Infosys.

    “It’s about fostering and promoting innovation. Employees can create online profiles and build up a professional network of their own, as well as join other recommended communities. They can also ask questions, float ideas, create debate, chat, share, rate, co-author and recommend documents, get hooked up to mentors or put themselves forward to volunteer for projects they wouldn’t have heard about before.”

    He explains: “As employee activity and contributions are tracked, the platform helps individuals take ownership of their own careers by allowing them to promote their expertise and get noticed for their innovation. HR and managers can build in social reward against ideas that contribute to the success of the business, as well as spot new talent and identify future leaders.”

    HR is missing a trick if it doesn’t get smart about using social media. It’s a great tool that HR and leaders should come to love!

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      Great to meet you too! Social enterprise networking? Sounds like networking to me….just online!

  2. Doug Shaw · November 10, 2011

    Thanks for referencing my post Neil. I’d like to add my thanks to the CIPD too. I think they took a risk inviting me, albeit a considered one 🙂 The CIPD team were very helpful to me and I think the event worked well for them having me there, and certainly for me being there. I enjoyed the chance to get stuck into full on journo mode, and it was enjoyably knackering. I echo your closing sentiments – the CIPD know how to make these things work, and mine’s a large one too!

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      And you wrote some cracking blog posts on the back of it!

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