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Getting the Most Out of an Aerospace Conference

As a member or prospective member of the aerospace and defense community, you’ve likely been to an aerospace conference or trade show that you weren’t thoroughly prepared to attend, resulting in the feeling that you didn’t get enough out of it to justify the cost and time spent.

To get the most from attending an aerospace conference such as AeroDef Manufacturing, you need a strategy. Knowing what you would like to accomplish before, during and after the conference will help you maximize your time. To make your visit a success, follow the following trip tips:

Plan ahead

  • Register early to take advantage of early bird discounts on education and tours.
  • List the benefits you’ll receive by attending the conference, and the ways it can help you make an impact at your organization. This will help you gain company support for your decision to attend.
  • Create a goal defining what you want to accomplish. Select educational sessions to attend, exhibitors to visit, products and services to evaluate, and new products you’d like to see.
  • Use planning tools such as conference mobile apps. Search exhibitors, navigate the show floor, view and build your agenda, and stay connected via social media.
  • Tie up loose ends, finish tasks and meet deadlines so you can go away both clear-minded and caught up. Whatever can wait until your return, let it wait.

Procure travel and lodging

  • Make reservations for transportation and lodging early.
  • If possible, book a hotel close to the conference.
  • Check out official aerospace conference housing. Conference producers typically reserve room blocks in the best hotels at the lowest rates in the most convenient locations around the host city.
  • Make sure your travel documents, airline confirmation numbers and flight itinerary are easily accessible. Create a clear picture of your overall travel needs and desired travel experience. You can organize your trip on your smartphone with the help of several travel apps, including TripIt and TripCase.

See the sights

  • Transportation is typically convenient in and around convention centers and other conference locales. After flying into the local airport, you can usually reach hotels and the convention center in no time by car, taxi, train or a variety of ground transportation services.
  • When you’re ready to go out on the town, easy-to-use smartphone apps offer city guides, things to do and see, restaurant choices and lists of special events.

Connect with people

  • Bring plenty of business cards and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others. Make sure you have a current, simple, branded card with your contact info and logo — and make use of both sides.
  • Attend educational sessions, workshops and special events such as keynotes, featured presentations and networking receptions. These exceptional opportunities are the reason you came.
  • Stay connected via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn before, during and after the conference.
  • Connect with people and sessions at the conference via connectivity apps.
  • Meet colleagues and presenters who you follow, engage with and are influenced by. Google people you want to meet in advance, and visit their blogs, websites and social media to learn as much as you can about them. When you know their backgrounds, current activities and the books they’re reading, it’s easy to embark upon conversations with them. Be confident in your own areas of expertise, and the conversations will flow naturally.

Check your tech

  • Create a complete checklist of all your technology, chargers, cords and batteries to make sure you have everything you need to capture the moment and share it.
  • Be sure to recharge batteries on the different devices you use so you don’t miss your chance to capture something important. Most conferences have charging and power stations these days.

Follow up

  • Did you meet your objectives? Determine whether the cost of attending the conference will have a positive long-term effect on you and your business.
  • Be proactive. Touch base with contacts you made, and communicate with exhibiting companies that offered products and services of interest.
  • Utilize the official conference directory as a continued source of company and technology information.

Put these suggestions into practice when you attend your next aerospace conference, and you and your company could benefit for years to come. Why not try them out at AeroDef Manufacturing, the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry’s premier event? Make your plans now to attend the conference, scheduled for March 16-19, 2020, at the Fort Worth Convention Center.