truLondon March 2016 Recap

If you’re wondering about how truEdinburgh will shape up, here’s a review of this week’s truLondon event by Steve Ward. Steve will also be leading a discussion track at truEdinburgh on 27th April.

After 7 Years, It’s Still #Tru Love.

Recruitment events are regularly rubbish. Big droning conferences in massive auditoriums funded by the excess of tech companies selling their wares. The guru on stage is the only voice of note. The perfectly knowledgeable audience are consigned to just gawp from afar and at best tweet nonsense and soundbites we already heard in 2010. The bit in the pub afterwards is usually the best bit.

Which is why Bill Boorman’s #Tru Unconference format stands above the rest for quality of recruitment, HR and Rec-Tech enlightenment. Because often, it’s set in the pub environment; or is exercised as such – that you are among friends and colleagues on a level playing field. (For this reason, Jamie Leonard’s Reconverse events also are more than worthy of a mention).

So, we just had one. We had #TruLondon on Monday. (Yes a Monday – albeit skilfully positioned around HRTech – one of those big monster events I won’t be attending). Aside of the fact it was held in a Private Members Bar inside an externally derelict appearing pub in Haggerston; which inside was set in rooms of fantastic character and charicature in the shape of London’s most unexpected array of taxidermy; it was the culture of #Tru that shone through again – possibly better than ever, I should add. It was packed with old and new, and seemed devoid of the cynics and was a beacon of positivity and opportunity. It was almost like it was needed right now. This is why I believe it stands the test of time:

1. The Content is Terrific & Authentic: 5 tracks at a time – each were buzzing with involvement, good attendee presence, and most importantly, their own room. All the tracks I was involved with, had rich and diverse debate and opinion – supplemented by fantastic knowledge. Across subjects from Sourcing, Future HR, Algorithms, Social Sales, Agencies, HR Methods, Tech, Marketing, Content & even some naughty stalking stuff – there was plenty to chew on. Practical stuff too.

2. The Expert is the same as the Newbie: The track leader thing is not a guru thing. If it is, then the leader misses the point. Subject experts sometimes exist, but the voice of everyone in the conversation matters – in fact it’s the conversation that matters. The willingness to share tips and secrets; to support those who enquire – is fantastic. Proper camaraderie amongst professionals.  No question is a stupid question.

3. No hiding place for the ‘Subject Expert’: I’ve noticed a trend recently where big and small conference speakers don’t really need to be either a) practising what they are paid to speak about, or b) be as authentic as they should be about their knowledge and/or criteria for expertise. They can get away with it, because they stand up on stage and don’t have to answer for the personal validity of their content. #Tru events are exposing. If you are leading a track as a subject expert, then you have to back it up with real knowledge and practising expertise. You have to answer the Whys, the What Ifs, and the Hows. No Keynotes or Headliners. People who crave that glory end of the spectrum, often seem steer clear of track leadership at #Tru.

4. Community: Oh yeah, at the heart of  #Tru, forever has been community. Content and Knowledge, Learning and Expertise – all fantastic – but sometimes there are many who will be there just to meet people who have begun to be old friends. From the US, Romania, Netherlands and more; the pub culture brings 150+ people with genuine respect and appreciation for evolving careers and dives into innovation and professional adventure.

I’m sure many a #Tru attendee could list a bunch more – but these 4 are at the heart of #Tru and why I have an always will be an unwavering supporter. I’ve done London, Manchester, Leeds, Dublin, Glasgow and Amsterdam – and Edinburgh, another Amsterdam, and possibly a Budapest, are on the horizon for me. Aside of that, each month there are many going on in every corner of the world.

I always say I’m indebted to Bill Boorman for believing in my own brand of practical nonsense and giving me the platform to share my story there, and learn from those who challenge my ideas. I can name 50 more people who’s professional success or journey has been enhanced by their involvement and engagement with #Tru events.

And you don’t pay £1,000 a head for it, and you don’t share the same one-dimensional experience as 1000 other people. And you, and your opinions matter.

Big up to Bill, and for all those involved.

Keep it #Tru. Do not accept poor imitations. (you know who they are.) 

truMunity events all over the world, and especially the flagship event, truLondon, have been very different from the beginning, and have always progressed the discourse in our industry throughout that time. More than ever, however, this week’s event truly exemplified the spirit of truLondon since those earliest days 7 years ago. In 2011 I wrote about tru-imagineers, who were not only discussing current events and trends, but were setting their collective minds to how we can each play a part in shaping the recruitment and employment landscape of the future. http://ayeright.com/2011/02/trulondon-imagineering/

This week’s truLondon did not dwell on war stories of the past, but rather on the years still in front of us, and the part we will all play in the evolution of recruitment.

Stephen O’Donnell