Avionics News March 2017 - 64
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Using the AEA Convention to build your network
This year's AEA International Convention & Trade Show
in New Orleans is full of information and inspiration on all
things avionics, but it's also a prime place for interaction. It's
loaded with people just as passionate about this industry as
you, and you can use that to your advantage if you're looking
to build your network of peer shops.
Of course, trade shows are work, so you should probably
plan ahead and understand your networking goals before you
get onto an airplane - in particular, finding shops with ideas,
experience and expertise to share. Make two lists of topics:
the "To Give" list, or those areas where you feel like an expert
that may fill in blanks for other shops; and the "To Get" list
that includes all those things you need to learn, in return. Both
are equally important; networking is a two-way street: You
help me, and I help you. When you're asked "what's new" or
do it all
"how's business?" recall your lists and explain.
At a conference, you engage in a multitude of mostly twominute conversations, and in those 120 seconds, you must
make contact with a person, build a connection, and invite
them to reconnect over a topic of mutual interest at a later
time. This can happen many places - organized dinners,
when you sit with people you don't know, breakout sessions,
when you introduce yourself to the people around you,
and even question-and-answer periods when you make an
insightful query of a presenter.
Whomever you meet - whether you're giving or getting
advice - follow up within a week of returning to allow for
longer conversations, sharing of articles or trading advice.
Even if they aren't experts in your field of concern, they
may just know someone who does. That's the benefit of
networking: Building a relationship with one peer can open
up a new network to you.
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