Next week is #cipdACE and as usual, excitement is hitting peak levels. This conference is always excellent, for all the reasons I outlined in my previous post which you can read here. However, I find myself dwelling on my very first CIPD conference many years ago, which was a positive, but also quite nerve-racking experience.
I’m shy with people I don’t know, and I went to my first #cipdACE alone. I didn’t know anyone, and I’m not that confident at networking on a face-to-face basis with people I don’t know and so there were times where it was difficult for me.
I recall making the effort to go to one of the social fringe events and lasting all of one drink because of how painful I found the situation, not in any way due to the fringe event organisers but, well, due to me being me.
Over the years, as my network grew and some acquaintances became friends, the conference became nothing but a positive experience from start to finish.
My advice to anyone attending who may be nervous, who may be a little reluctant to network or to attend any social events is simply to do as much as you are comfortable with.
Don’t put any pressure on yourself, unless you want to push yourself to try something new.
The conference is what you make of it, and its entirely up to you about how much you want to put in. You can be as involved, or as ‘anonymous’ (hate that term but I can’t think of anything better) as you wish to be.
If you don’t want to network, don’t want to talk to other people, don’t wish to ask questions or attend social events, then you don’t have to, and you can still have an excellent, fulfilling and enlightening conference experience.
Its your conference, and your conference experience can be whatever you want it to be.
And if you don’t know anyone and want to see a friendly face, please do stop me and say hello. I’m likely to be just as shy as you which may be of some comfort.
See you next week!