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.

Confluence time

As ever, the best laid schemes of mice and men and all that…..tomorrow is the start of the Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, or #CIPD11, and I should be a lot better prepared than I am.

Not only have I no idea what I’m going to wear, but to add to that I’m speaking on the Wednesday (note to self, only ever accept invitations to speak on the first day of a conference to ensure enjoyment of the evening entertainment) and I have no idea what I’m going to say…..

(The session is at 11.15 on Wednesday called, “Harnessing the power of social media” if you want to come and laugh at me making a fool of myself)

This is also the first time that I’ve been to conference in a LONG time (think Harrogate) and I’d like to make the most of it. And it seems that I’m not the only one. Rob Jones was writing this morning about the conference and it appears he too is making an overdue return.

Coincidence? Probably not.  A lot of people attending who I know are, like Rob, my contacts on social media. And this is a population that it seems the CIPD have been going out of their way to engage with and bring on board the mother ship.  And I have to say, I doff my cap to them, to the likes of Natalia Thomson, Johanna Ratcliff, Rob Blevin and of course Jackie Orme shouldn’t go without mention. (Yes I know there are others, but this is a blog post not the New Year Honours…..)

Now the CIPD and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. Or perhaps more correctly, I haven’t seen eye to eye with the CIPD (I can’t talk for them but I would imagine I may have been seen as a bit of a pain in the backside from time to time). But as a membership organisation, they should be looking to engage with all their members, not just the institutionalised, and I think for too long some of us have been forgotten. And together we can make the profession stronger and better served. (That is the confluence joke……geddit?)

So, I have to say that I have a spring in my step this afternoon – I’m feeling really quite excited and enthused about the next few days and looking at the Conference and Exhibition with fresh new eyes.  Hopefully I won’t be disappointed, but I’ll let you know if I am….you can be sure of that.

Now in the meantime, is brown the new black? Has anyone got any good jokes about social media? And where on earth did I put those train tickets……?