I listen to lots of complaints from the HR community about local and state HR conferences.

State chapters and councils don’t offer keynote inspiring speakers who have relevant and tangible content. And there’s not enough women. Blah blah blah.

On the other hand, state councils and chapters complain that good speakers don’t have content that “translates” to HR audiences. The members are too stupid stubborn to glean business lessons from non-HR speakers, too. And the conferences don’t have the budget to attract the right kind of talented speakers who have best-selling books.

Then there’s every other industry.

I just came back from TDn2K’s Global Best Practices conference. I’m on the board, and maybe I’m biased, but it was pretty great. I saw Molly Fletcher and Kathleen Wood dominate the stage in TED-style talks. (This is a picture of the event.)

My favorite keynote was from Michael Tchong. He writes a really great blog about the future of technology without being a stuffy jerk. The closing keynote was from Roy Spence. He is a business and advertising legend who — without prepared remarks — delivered an inspired and insane talk about the intersection of marketing and talent.

(Think Matthew McConaughey meets business.)

Anyway, I like watching successful business leaders teach other business leaders in a no-judgment-zone.

You can do this, people!

I look at the HR community and think — you people are insane. Well, okay, some of you. You want poised HR ladies who can stand on stage in sensible shoes and talk about being nice but powerful. (I know three women who can deliver that content to you — shoes and all.) Or you want charismatic dudes to surprise and delight you with witty PowerPoint presentations. (I can name five speakers like that.)

You want it, you got it.

Nobody asked me, but you get the speakers you deserve. Want compliance and administration? You get lawyers. Want to talk about how to get a seat at the table? You get vendors. Want to talk about your dreams? You get a flashy presentation with no substance.

If you want to challenge yourself and your audience, I would suggest that you start looking at other industry events outside of HR. See who they book. And ask yourself — do I want the same old crap, or do I want to hear about breaking the mold and doing things differently?

Then call Molly Fletcher, Kathleen Wood, Michael Tchong or Roy Spence to keynote your next event!

1 Comment

  1. It’s always great to see who else is out there in the SpeakerSphere that can bring energy to an event. Kathleen Wood has been both a speaker and a facilitator at a couple of events for my local SHRM Chapter, Twin Cities Human Resource Association. She is fabulous!

    Thanks Laurie.


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