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Charlie Duff

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First time at an Unconference?


If you are thinking of joining us at the ConnectingHR unconference on 21 October and you haven't been to an event like this before, its understandable you'd be feeling a little unsure about what to expect. Use this list of tips to help you make the most out of the experience and make the unconference format work for you.

Before the unconference…


  • Connect with the group before you get there. There are several ways you can do this.
  • Join the Yammer group – you will need to gain permission to join but once you're in, consider yourself at home, as the song goes.
  • Hang out with us on Twitter. If you don't already tweet, get in touch with Jon or Gareth (or, indeed, me) for tips and training to help you get started. For those who already tweet, we have been chatting about #ConnectingHR using the hashtag for some time. You can get all the buzz by searching for #ConnectingHR
  • Think about what you’d like to learn or know more about and suggest it on this page. Just because the ticket is only £65, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the most out of it.
  • Find out what your organisation is doing already in the social media sphere – what kind of presence do you have currently and how do you deal with social media use by your employees?
  • Be prepared to make more friends!


  • Worry about feeling out of depth with social media. If you feel like a beginner you won’t be the only one
  • Be a stranger – this is about getting HR social and improving it for everyone in the organisation and industry.

On the day:


  • Feel free to join in and suggest topics. Jon and Gareth are planning on using a grid system, a bit like an empty timetable which gets filled on the day
  • Join in as many session as you like
  • Contribute to sessions as much or as little as you want
  • Ask questions
  • Talk to anyone and everyone
  • Hold a secret track with someone, anywhere, any time, with as few or as many participants as you like


  • Panic if it feels completely different to a conference. It’s not a conference. Don’t feel like you have to jump in immediately, float at the edges if you need some time to adjust. At my first unconference my initial impression was that everyone seemed to know what they were doing: it wasn’t until I relaxed and started chatting to some people that I realised they didn‘t really: they were just going with the flow (perhaps a bit better than I was). This might be a laid-back atmosphere but a lot of learning and thought provoking discussion happens when you settle in.
  • Feel like you have to wear a suit. That doesn’t mean you can’t: wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
  • Be afraid to change groups if you think there’s something more interesting going on elsewhere.
  • Fear you may offend – all opinions are needed and welcomed
  • Forget to swap twitter handles  – and keep in touch!

You can buy your ticket here and see more about the unconference here. Looking forward to seeing you there...

One Response

  1. #ConnectingHR Unconference

    Great advice, Charlie.  I dipped my toe into Twitter about 3 months ago and quickly found out three things. One, the HR community and especially #Connecting HR are incredibly inviting and friendly. Two, I quickly found I love the chats and camaraderie on a personal level, and Three, on a business level, I wouldn’t be without Twitter as an information source or a forum for ideas. 

    I do feel like I’m stepping a little out of my comfort zone with the Unconference as the format is new to me (not that that would stop me from going!), so these tips are extremely useful.  Can’t wait to meet everyone there.


    Kay Phelps @PRforHR


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Charlie Duff


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