SHRM Conference Rejection #2

I got a SHRM Strategy Conference rejection letter last week.  Some of you might remember the last rejection I got from SHRM – if not – here’s the post on FOT – SHRM Doesn’t Like Us – But You Should.   Here’s the email from rejection #2:

SHRM rejection 2
Here’s what I wish Letty would have done instead:

Dear Tim,

Thank you for submitting a presentation proposal….blah, blah, blah.

I either liked it or didn’t like, it doesn’t matter  – we didn’t select it.  We didn’t select it because: (followed by 3 actual reasons)

1. The content didn’t fit what we wanted to do – next time try….

2. It’s been done before a thousands times – next time try…

3.  You have no idea what you’re talking about, etc., etc., etc.

Please try again next time – if you want some pointers catch me at the next conference and we can have a cup a coffee.


There’s no doubt Letty is smart – George Washington MBA grad – actually worked at a staffing company (you would think Letty would have a kinship with me!), long time SHRM employee.  I’ve been a SHRM SPHR holder and member since 2001 – and I keep hearing how they want ‘fresh blood’ and ‘new ideas’ and, yet, every SHRM conference I attend I see the same content, same faces presenting, same SHRM.  I’ve actually seen a presentation from a guy at SHRM national who has been doing the same presentation for the last 10 years – he just changes the dates on the first slide!   I wanted to shoot myself.  But I stayed and he gave me these tips for getting accepted by Letty and the SHRM crew:

1. Sell out.  Go completely old school HR – FMLA is exciting, OHSA rocks, I have 4 cats.

2. Make a title that sounds so boring you fall asleep actually making it – but make sure to use words like: Strategic, Influence and Results.

3. Don’t say anything slightly controversial in your bio or presentation description – don’t piss off the powers that be.

Sorry, crew – I won’t do it.  Truth be told Kris Dunn and I actually did follow these rules for the 2012 SHRM national show and got accepted – but then did the presentation the way we wanted to just using SHRM’s boring title slide.  It was well attended, we got great feedback and got strong survey numbers – and – we didn’t get invited back this year.

Letty, Letty, Letty – it’s O.K. – I don’t bite, really!  I’m a former headhunter like you, our kind needs to stick together!

Ugh – this just sounds like sour grapes.  I give up on trying to help SHRM.

12 thoughts on “SHRM Conference Rejection #2

  1. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.

    After all I’llbe subscribing to youur feed and I hope you write again vwry soon!

  2. Now that your LinkedIn comments drew me in, you have given me many minutes of amusement reading your blog. I am an SHRM fan and very active member, but think you have some valid points. I’d love to buy you a drink, pass along some suggestions, and talk to you about Sparrow.

  3. Tim:
    Don’t feel too bad you will find that your creative thinking and hard hitting presentation will be threatening to most of the attendees.

    Most HR real pros don’t show up at SHRM and those that do are not going to be in most of the sessions.

  4. The other thing is they.only seem to want CEOs and VPs. There is some interesting work going on in the trenches and they would be well-served to hear it directly.

  5. Steve –

    What Your CEO Wishes HR Would Do!

    Which is pure gold – and I have a great story where I drop about a dozen “F” bombs on a CEO that I’m working for and still keep my job. But I’ve found a way to keep it clean for the SHRM audience – I say “F” Bomb! Brilliant, right?

    It would play great at HR Tech! 😉


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