Friday, 16 October 2015


On Wednesday evening I attended #connectinghrmcr for the first time.  Despite such an event being well outside my comfort zone, I found that I enjoyed myself tremendously.

I had tried to attend this event twice previously, recognising it as a great networking opportunity and a chance to get to know more HR people in my region.  The first time I tried to attend, I then booked a holiday and couldn't go.  The second time I tried to attend, my partner and I had our baby the week of the event (a full two weeks late she was) and I was needed in the hospital.

So third time lucky I figured, and in light of some upcoming changes to my own role and where I might well be in the future I wanted to take the opportunity to get to #connectinghrmcr and talk to people who I thought might be able to give me some advice and even help me in the future.

So I went.  Even though I am not good at networking events.  I've said this before.

I find talking to people difficult sometimes, more so when those people are more or less complete strangers.  I can do it, but I have to feel really confident before I do, and need to have some "downtime" before it all happens.

But I have been trying to force myself out of my comfort zone and with good reason.

In order to get myself in the zone and ready for the event I tweeted a few times beforehand to see who was going and to make some initial contact.  I also had to both go for a swim at lunchtime and for a run straight after work - basically time to think and prepare and deal with my energy levels.

I find exercise and training is good quality thinking time and fuels up the introvert in me to be able to be more, well, extrovert.  I can think on my own, and there's no distractions when I'm swimming, biking or running.

But somehow this all worked.

The event was brilliant.  Full of talented, friendly, helpful and interesting people who happen to be connected through a common profession.

I was made to feel welcome, one of the crowd.  I found myself talking freely to almost everyone I met and, what's more, enjoying it.  I talked to lots of people and found loads in common.  Two colleagues came along too (@kimdillon78 and @Laura_Torus) and seemed to be enjoying it as much as I did.

I left after nearly three hours and drove home, and if it was possible to feel both buzzing and tired, then that's what I was feeling.

Doing so much talking was energy sapping.  Do you ever recall the arcade game Track and Field?  Or Daley Thompsons' Decathlon?  When running the 1500m you had a little energy bar and when that was used up the little runner used to go so slow.

I think that's what its like for me as a high introvert.  I can act extrovert when I want to be - I can stand up in front of a room of 1,000 people and deliver a cracking keynote speech, or can deliver training sessions that are inspiring or exciting and involve me being lively and energetic - and then I tell people I'm an introvert and they refuse to believe me.

But its true.  Introverts need time to fuel up the little energy bar - so hence my running and swimming before #connectinghrmcr.  They also need time afterwards to refuel, and so what you see with me after any burst of extrovert energy is me having to be mega quiet and barely talk for a few hours afterwards.

So when I got home, I could hardly speak despite my mind and brain buzzing with information.  I had no words left.

But back to #connectinghrmcr...

I'll go again.  And in fact I'm looking forward to it.  Not sure when the next one is, but I'm there.

It was refreshing to be in a room with lots of people who not only understand HR, but don't take it all too seriously and know how to laugh at themselves and our profession. To be able to talk to someone about what I do at work and not have their eyes glaze over, and to immediately both understand and sympathise with the issues others were telling me they are dealing with. To feel the enthusiasm and vibrancy in the room of people who have a real passion for people. To have conversations with people who understand how social media can make valuable and lasting connections.

Of course I can get a lot of this at work.  But this was in a bar.

With alcohol.

We did some great photos of most of the #CIPD15 blogsquad and the camaraderie was brilliant, from everyone at the whole event.
There's also the possibility of an HR blogger relay triathlon team in the offing with @HR_Gem, @fuchsia_blue and myself. 

I enjoyed meeting some people I've met once or twice before and catching up with them, like @Damiana_HR@monaghanpj and @Community_Mike, and met others who I'd only tweeted before like @KingfisherCoach, @KevWyke, @TimScottHR, @HR Em, @LizardVanilla@ryskicheyne.  And many others too numerous to mention so if I haven't mentioned you then my apologies and I'm more than happy to edit this post afterwards and add you in.

But basically if you're not already following all the people I mentioned in this post, then stop what you're doing and go and follow them.  They're all lovely.

And if you haven't been to one of these tweetups before, I can highly recommend them.

Till next time...


PS in other news, its the end of the triathlon season now (aswell as all my other summer sports) and I'm into winter training.  Roll on spring...

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