The HR Juggler

Networking That Works…The ConnectingHR Unconference

Posted on: October 3, 2011

So, anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that I’m a big fan of ConnectingHR and hugely enjoy being a part of what they do. Without ConnectingHR I would not be the avid Twitter and social media fan that I now am, and nor would I be a keen blogger.

Quite simply, ConnectingHR is a fantastic and energised group of HR people – generalist practitioners, recruiters, consultants, communication experts, learning and development folk and many, many more –  who connect on Twitter under #connectinghr and who interact and chat over at the website. Once a quarter there is also a bigger event for people to meet up, outside of the usual informal drinks and get-togethers – either a networking evening (known as a tweet-up) or a day’s long Unconference.

I’m not usually prone to gushing, but genuinely I have never come across a group of HR people more willing to provide help and support, genuinely interesting and interested, vocal and articulate, inclusive and thought-provoking. Seriously, they are great – we are great.

Why do I tell you all of this now? Well, the third ConnectingHR Unconference is taking place on the 20th October and now is the time to get your skates on and book your place. It’s very easy to do, just register here. Excitingly, I also have the opportunity to give away a free ticket to the Unconference and all you need to do to apply is to submit a comment at the end of this post by Friday 7th Oct and tell me why you want to come and what you hope you will get out of it. The only rules (of course there are rules, I work in HR!) are that you should be an HR practitioner who hasn’t attended an Unconference before. Oh, and I might ask you for some blog comments once you’ve been :).

So, that’s it. I have always highly disliked the traditional concept of networking, but the lovely thing about ConnectingHR is that you will find yourself amongst friends…and it really is a form of networking that totally works.

What are you waiting for? Who wants a free ticket? Go on…make my day…. 😉

15 Responses to "Networking That Works…The ConnectingHR Unconference"

Of course I want a free ticket! I am a releatively new HR Consultant (first year) after 18 years in the profession as an employee. Would love to attend to assist my business networking but mostly to pick the brains (and allow my brains to be picked) of many HR professionals. Since going it alone, this is the bit I miss about corporate life – having other HR professionals to bounce ideas off.

Hope this is OK. Would really like to attend a conference with a difference!

Thanks Claire – will put your name in the proverbial hat. Would be fantastic to have your involvement in ConnectingHR

I’m not an HR practitioner…. and I’ve been to more unconferences than is healthy…. but I’m commenting (a) because it’ll make Alison smile and (b) to encourage anyone feeling a little nervous to GET INVOLVED.

It’s a great event, awesome quality of conversation and wonderfully welcoming people. Don’t network, just be. You’ll get on just fine.

Ha…it did inded make me smile! Thanks as always for your support and back-up…and no, you’re definitely not eligible 😉

You are completely right in your advice not to network, but just to be. Wise and true words.


Interesting how you’ve managed to combine a great post on Networking, advert for the third ConnectingHR Unconference and most important of all, an offer of a free ticket to the Unconference.

I’ve been a very silent member of ConnectingHR for some time now – not really sure why. Not even the new “All singing ….” website has kicked me into action. Then l saw your post, especially the bit about the free ticket offer – and something jumps up in me. Sad, l know.

On a more serious note, and based on what l have experienced on twitter over last couple of months, agree with your views on the energy and dynamics of the group. So, l think it is time l look for ways of giving something back, no matter how little, rather than just follow.

So, hope you send the ticket my way.

Thanks Ade…would love you to get more involved in any way and consider yourself entered for the free ticket 🙂

Cor, if I’d known there were going to be freebies I wouldn’t have booked so fast! Ah but since leaving BT I ceased to become a practitioner, trainsforming instead into an eeeevil consultant, so I’m not eligible any way (whuh?).

OK – leg pulling over. Alison you are a great advert for and supporter of ConnectingHR. You say in your blog post you admire what they do. I think what makes a difference is it’s not what they do, it’s what we do – you, me and loads of other enthusiastic supportive folk. These events have a healthy sense of community about them.

Having been to, and sung at the previous unconferences, I can also heartily recommend them. They’re great, useful fun. What more of an excuse could you need folks, it would be great to see you there on October 20th

Thanks for your brilliant comment Doug. I did rather struggle with the ‘they/we’ dynamic whilst writing…as you say, it is very much a product of all of us and one that I am immensely proud of.

Yay for us…and let’s spread it out further 🙂

Great post that clearly illustrates the value of belonging to the HR community both online in Social Media and also, when there is an opportunity to meet in person, offline at events such as at the ConnectingHR Unconference. I have only been active within the HR community on Twitter for a few months, but I am amazed and pleased to have found such a supportive, knowledgeable and friendly crowd. I am an HR Practioner but, having ceased employment last Friday, I suspect that I am not eligible for a free ticket. However, I do want to add my voice to those who say that attending these events is worthwhile and to encourage people to go. I have been to a couple of tweetups this year and have made some interesting and informative contacts, who have given me inspiration and helped me both in the work environment and in a wider arena. The above comments and your responses say more about the breadth and strength of the Social HR community than I can and I urge those who are able to do so to attend on the 20th. I’ll be there if I can.

I’ve been quite an active (if at times sporadic) member of the ConnectingHR twittersphere and it has without a doubt enabled me to do things I never would have previously contemplated. It has given me the strength to believe in my own ability, and take the choice to move away from an environment that was not good for my HR career.

This event would, I believe, be the ignition to the fire in my belly that is slowly being fuelled by the kind words and encouragement of the online ConnectingHR members. It would offer me the opportunity to validate some of my thoughts, but also to hear new ones, have my thoughts tested and stretched and pulled. It would also give me the opportunity to thank people in person!!

We are all deserving…and I couldnt decide whether to throw my hat in to the ring…..but if I dont try I’ll never get anywhere 🙂

Me please! Thanks Alison!

Hi Alison

I’m never lucky when it comes to freebies but this one is well worth a shot 🙂

I’ve never been to an unconference (or a conference for that matter) and being a very shy person when it comes to networking I figure that this would be a fantastic place for me to start. The connectinghr community has been truly supportive of in the past year and I would really love to develop some of these relationships further. I know I’ll get a lot from it so I’m keeping everything crossed!

Good blog by the way, keep it up.


What’s an “unconference”? HR? – what do they actually do; really?!
I’m a people / HR champion – but I’ve never ceased to have been amazed at how little HR gets ‘the limelight’ in organisations.

Sounds like I need a ticket, to find out what’s really going on in the world of the function that rarely gets a good press.

I have never attended an unconference and would love one. Here are my reasons
1. Being based in the North, I do feel sometimes quite distanced from other members of the #connectinghr community. The opportunity to meet up for lunch or after work drinks, to build rapports and get and give support and advice, is not an opportunity I have
2. I can be surprisinly shy. So when I do attend tweetups, I don’t often give a fair account of myself. If I was involved in a whole day event, it would make me come out of that comfort zone and really interact with other people who want to be there
3. I am experiencing some genuinely difficult situations at work that I could do with others’ views on, in a safe environment
4. We are not harnessing social media. I need to be able to demonstrate the benefits to the people I work with
5. I could really do with an injection of positivity and action in my life fromsome fab people
6. I can’t afford a ticket and my company won’t pay!
7. It would get me out of a well dull meeting I have in for that date (not cool answer but also true)
8. I’m trying to write my dissertation and could do with some input
9. Maybe I can offer some people some ideas that they’ve not had?
10. You love to make me smile!

I think I’ve gone overboard………… 🙂
Fab idea though and best of luck to whoever wins – I bet it’ll be marvellous!!!

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