October 5, 2023
My last posting recommended preparing an “elevator pitch” ahead of attending the AGMA Fall Technical Meeting and Gear Expo. I have gone through this exercise frequently over the years and consider it time well spent. The “pitch” has changed with employers, job responsibilities, and my personal situation, of course, but the ability to “plead your case” in a timely manner is vital to getting the most value out of short, casual business encounters. The best coaching I got on this topic was from the independent sales representatives who would drag me out of the office to meet with clients about pending projects or “troubled situations.” These guys were fearless when it came to asking for orders or facing angry customers. They demonstrated the value of thorough preparation, problem anticipation, and sincere explanations. And of sticking to the “game plan.” So, if you are attending a “convention” for the first time, it pays to ask yourself a few questions and incorporate the answers into your preparations.
- How do I want people to remember me? Am I “the new kid from XYZ Gear” or an “up-and-coming professional” who currently works for XYZ Gear? Their perception may depend on your preparation, your questions, and that few seconds around a handshake.
- What is my goal for this event? Is there a particular paper that interests me or the folks back home? Am I looking to meet a possible customer or future employer? If you do not have goals in mind before you walk into the meeting, it is easy to get sidetracked and go home disappointed.
- What do people want to know about me or my company? Most attendees have their own goals and objectives for the event. You do not want to be “that guy” who talked too much about your new product line or gave the wrong impression of your shop’s capabilities or business prospects.