The National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) is just around the corner. From October 16-18, the D.O.M. magazine team will be at NBAA-BACE in Orlando, FL along with around 27,000 business aviation professionals from around the world at the sixth largest trade show in the United States.
In my opinion, NBAA-BACE is the second-best opportunity for maintenance managers and aviation maintenance professionals to gain the knowledge necessary for career advancement. (The best conference is NBAA’s Maintenance Conference, which offers three days of maintenance- and management-focused sessions!)
If you will be attending NBAA-BACE, you really should have a game plan. The exhibit hall will be open for a total of 23 hours over the course of three days. If you blindly walk up and down the isles, you would need to visit one exhibitor every 1.4 minutes! That’s pretty much impossible!
Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of your show:
1. Put meetings and events on your schedule first. Since these have specific dates and times, browse through them to see which ones you don’t want to miss. Then block out that time on your calendar.
2. Look up key exhibitors you need to see. Look up these exhibitors before the show so you know where they are located. NBAA has a good exhibitor directory you can use to do some preliminary planning. You can search for exhibitors by name or category. You can use NBAA’s “My Show Planner” to find exhibitors, sort them by location and add personal appointments to make the most of your visit. (While you are planning for the show, make a note to visit D.O.M. magazine at booth 3079!)
3. Give yourself adequate time between appointments. NBAA-BACE is big. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for your transit between talking to exhibitors and attending sessions. .
4. Ask questions. Trade shows are ideal opportunities to learn. Be sure to ask questions. If you are sitting in a seminar and have a question for the presenter, don’t be afraid speak up. Everyone could learn from your question. When talking to exhibitors, gather as much information as you can in order to make wise purchasing decisions.
5. Follow up. Follow up with the people you talk to at the show as soon as possible. Don’t let that stack of business cards sit on your desk or end up in the drawer of business card purgatory. Enter the information into your contact database as soon as you can.
Our companies spend a lot of money to send us to trade shows to get work done. We need to work hard to give them a return on that investment. After the show floor closes, many exhibitors sponsor after hours events. These are opportunities to kick back, relax and network with like-minded professionals. But don’t get carried away. Keep in mind that you are representing your company at all times and need to work the show the next day.