You walk up to the front desk where you probably have to check in and get a name tag that blandly states your name and probably the organization you are associated with. You do not really know where to start and just the pressure of all the faces is numbing and almost paralyzing leaving you stuck at a lose of words on where to begin.
You start to walk around the booths not really sure what to ask. Ensure of being honest and admitting that you have never heard of their company giving them the opportunity to provide you with the best upfront experience possible or you could lie and pretend like you know who they are and then awkwardly start to skim through all their content to educate yourself within seconds of their company. I know for myself my first handful of events provided me with plenty of experiences to learn from.
You get to sit side by side some individuals who operate businesses all over the world and have the opportunity to begin meaningful conversations and educate yourself on the most up to date news and topics related to the industry. I am here to cover some tips and suggestions that I personally feel will best prepare you for your next Aviation Conference, even if its your first.
For starters dress appropriately, now this might result you doing some research and understanding the nature of the event. Certain Aviation Business events are geared more towards sales reps and the C-suites of organizations. At these events the attire is business formal and the small details count the most. The aviation industry thrives on the subtle and delicate details that bind the picture together.
The greatest benefit the General Aviation industry has over the commercial industry is that they have the eye for every seam and ensure the highest standard of quality is unanimous all throughout. Thus it is vital that you understand the nature of the event and dress accordingly so you ensure that the small details make the biggest statements. Going over the top can certainly draw attention but can be seen as gaudy and excessive in the industry. Often times simple and sleek win the crowd, as excessive can be often seen as expensive.
Bring More Business Cards Than You Think are Necessary
I say this as from personally experience I thought that 50 Business cards would be sufficient for an all day event and I found that by the time lunch came around I was down to maybe 2 cards in my pocket.
Business cards in the aviation industry are used very commonly still to this day especially when it come to being able to create a unique connection that can develop into a relationship into the future. Most of the booths at these conferences have a location for you to drop of a card for a chance to win a raffle. If you don’t win they take note of the fact that you stopped by their booth and may offer you a promotional discount for a later day.
As you go throughout the event meeting new people, you will find people who are excited and eager to help you. They are often very busy and have thousands of things running through their heads and as the crowd moves on the time to take out ones cellphone or a notebook to record down the details of the contact info can often be a burden after so many times. Being able to provide a business card ends the conversation on a note that the other person has a means of contacting you when they feel comfortable.
Not to mention if they do forget about you right then and there when they decide to empty out their wallets a few week down the line they will find your business card and remember of the impression that you made with them during your encounter with the individual. If you did your part in ensuring that the first impression was a strong one that you can look forward to hearing back from that person, maybe not right away but maybe a few months later.
Most would think this is a given but I feel its important to touch up on again for the purpose of this blog. People know when you are being genuine with them and they know when you are not. The aviation industry is a tight community in the sense that most people who have been in the industry for a while start knowing other people who have also been in the industry for a while. They know who their competition is as usually they were once close friends or possible co-workers or classmates during some time in the past.
Most of the professionals in the aviation industry today have worked in many areas within aviation and are well educated with how many facets of the industry operate. There is not benefit to bend the truth and attempt to lie to the individual you are talking to in hopes of gaining rapport or business. You will be caught on your lie and then you will loose not just that relationship and connection but they will share their negative experience with their colleagues and you will loose potential connections that you could have had with others.
If you are an aspiring aviator with no flight experience yet, say so. If you are working you way up in the aviation industry but at the time being you are just washing aircraft over night, say so. The most important thing to focus on is not so much where you currently are but where are working to be. This applies to everywhere not just in the aviation industry.
Instead of focusing and highlighting what you have already accomplished or achieved, focus on what you are going to achieve and see who follows along. When you are honest in your intention on where you want to go and have a clear picture to what you wish to achieve it allows other to decide if they are just going to watch you do it or help you achieve it. It all starts with being honest.
So often I see people with their palms sweating and they are nervous and not certain on what to say, who to approach. They get caught up in trying to find out what they can gain from others that they loose sight of the natural instinct to connect and create a genuine relationship with another person. They get caught up in the numbers of their business and want to start talking data to another person they loose sight of the emotional connection that was the original purpose for why they are attending in the first place.
Aviation is an exciting industry to be apart of as technology is changing rapidly it allows for endless opportunities and growth to occur. Be excited as in aviation you are leading the way to how man travel the earth and explores the great frontier of space. It is okay to have fun! There is no need to be strict and rigid and dull when attending these events as it can quickly draw people away from you and your business if you have one.
It is crazy to think I need to cover this but having fun is key to making success out of aviation conferences. The seminars can sometimes get a bit dry and most of these booths are run by people who have little experience being able to promote their product as they are a mix of pilots, mechanics, and service technicians it can be quite dry at times.
Being able to bring some light and joy into the conversation you have will make you stand out from the crowds. Having fun and being able to bring a decent joke or two in the conversation will help loosen up some tension and aid in creating a stronger connection in the end.