Saturday, 27 April 2013

Weekend Reflections on CIPD HRD13

I had the pleasure of being a Speaker at the CIPD HRD Conference on Wednesday.  I had also been invited to be an official Conference Blogger (two passes!).  Unfortunately, I could only attend on the first day, due to pre-booked work priorities in Southampton.  But no matter, I thought, I'll make it work.

I kinda did.  I  managed to get a blog out soon after I arrived, on a topic which had been bubbling with me for a while and which was empahsised in the twitterstream during my journey up from Brighton that morning - the use of humour in the face-to-face and the online worlds.  I was pleased to meet up with several of my twitter buddies who were also blogging the conference, particularly Mike Morrison (@rapidBI), Doug Shaw (@dougshaw1), Sukhvinder Pabial (@sukhpabial), Martin Couzins (@martincouzins) and Megan Pippin (OD_optimist). The Conference Press Room, hosted very ably by Katy Askew (@katyaskew) and Natalia Thomson (@N_Thomson) was also a great hub and bolt hole - and I knew how to operate the coffee machine!

With a limited amount of time before I had to start preparing for my own session, I had a quick scamper through the show guide and decided to drop by the "Technology for Learning" theatre in the Exhibition Hall to catch Pauline Willis (@paulinewillis) from Lauriate Ltd, speaking on and demonstrating the use of Sociomapping tools as an enabler for working successfully with remote and virtual teams. I greatly enjoyed her session and I tweeted out my key learning points throughout.
Then I had to run to the Speakers Lounge to meet my co-speaker, Tom Bryant from Colt Technologies, and our CIPD chair and host, to prepare for our shared session on "Simplifying L&D with Efficient Use of Technology".

It went well (despite being the 'graveyard shift' over and after lunch).  I managed to drag some responses out of the large, yet quiet, crowd and got some great feedback from attendees and fellow bloggers afterwards.  Thanks particularly to Doug and Sukh for very kind reviews.

I had arranged to meet Laura Overton (@lauraoverton) from Towards Maturity, to catch up on where my organisation has got to with following up our recent discoveries and suggested actions from completing their Benchmark Report late last year (answer: not a lot - much still to do!), and again, the Press Room was a gift to get us away from the hubble-bubble and have a good, focussed and enjoyable exchange - even if we were being spied upon by Martin Couzins... Deep In Conversation

I managed to walk the Exhibition Floor for a while before heading off to the Cumberland Arms pub in North End Road for the CIPD Tweetup, hosted again by Martin Couzins (that man gets everywhere!), which was a great, interactive and relaxing way to end what had been a full but inspiring day.

Like I said, I didn't attend Day 2, but I tried to follow the twitter backstream as much as possible within the working day.

So now, it's Friday evening and I've been following the backchannel again today - even tho' the conference finished on Thursday evening.  And that's the thing - the Conference might be over, but the debate, the discussions and the sharing is still going on.  New professional and personal contacts have been made, reflective blogs have been written, shared and commented on and links to supporting materials distributed.  The event lives on, even 'though everyone has gone home or back to work - social media and collaboration tools ensure it.

So what have I taken away from the event, from my participation as a speaker and as a blogger, and from monitoring the backchannel on Thursday and Friday?
  1. I wish I had managed to attend for the whole two days - for my own development and to have been able to blog and tweet more fully. 
  2. It's OK to have a script, but it's way much better to deliver a session 'off the page'. I felt comfortable with the flow - and just went with it on the day.
  3. I should learn to blog more quickly, more succinctly and more often.  Doug Shaw and Sukh Pabial are really good role models here, pushing blogs out very quickly - punchy and pithy - after the sessions they attended each day.  Their - and others' - tweets and blogs were fantastic for keeping me in touch when I was working on Day 2 and following up on Friday.
  4. Suit and tie = Delegate. No tie plus/minus suit = Speaker. This is a very good thing. Prick the pomposity!
  5. It ain't necessarily over when it's over!
  6. Reflect, reflect and did I mention, reflect?  And then go do!  That's next.
So that was CIPD HRD 13. For me, a great, but mixed, experience, cramming much into the one day I had available. Thanks to the organisers, the administrators,  the contributors, the attendees and the 'Press Pack'.  Thanks for having me.  


  1. Hi Niall,

    Great to read your reflections and pleased you enjoyed the experience and your talk went well. I had a similar conversation with Sukh about frequency of blogging at the CIPD 100 yr tweet up and I think it's something that develops over time. I think it is a skill to 'write in the moment' or off the cuff and I have to think about and to some degree plan my blog subjects and they still vary in frequency greatly depending on what I've got on. It's something I'm going to try and do more of in the future so we'll see what happens. I'm not going to out myself under any pressure though :-)

    Catch you soon.

    1. Thanks Mike; for me it's about getting the balance between spontaneity and authenticity, whilst trying to avoid being 'glib'. Guess that's why twitter works for me - the 140 character 'micro-blog' limit doesn't half focus the mind. I tend to get carried away with the exuberance of my own verbosity when I blog and that's what I need to work on. Great to see you at the Exhibition and the Tweetup - sorry we didn't get the chance to chat more. Congrats on the new work role - well deserved!