YOU’VE ALREADY RIGHTLY decided to attend the GMTA Annual Convention. Now you may wonder how to make the most of your experience. Your goal should be to build relationships.
People attend annual conferences for different reasons. Often, newcomers to a career or industry focus on sales. In contrast, those who are committed to an industry or their career focus on relationships. Both understand the convention is an opportunity to meet people, yet the latter successfully build relationships that last long past casual poolside conversations.
MEETING THE RIGHT PEOPLE:
GMTA events are designed for attendees to build relationships. The convention, in particular, allows attendees to meet new people, see past acquaintances, build existing relationships and keep old relationships strong. According to Science of People, the science of five explains stages of relationship development.
- The first five minutes allows your first impression. It determines everything.
- The first five hours provides opportunity for the first business call or meeting. This phase moves the first impression to potentially more.
- The first five days are when most decide if this could be a trusted and potentially long-term business relationship.
Everyone starts relationships with those same, first, potentially awkward five minutes. Keeping in mind a few reminders to effectively network will help make your experience even better.
- The attendee list is on the GMTA App a few days before the meeting. Reach out to the people you would like to meet – give them a call! Their information is in the GMTA directory. Schedule a time and place to meet during the convention.
- Don’t keep to yourself; visit with people at the pool, on the beach or around the hotel. More than one long-term business relationship has started around the pool at the convention.
WHEN STARTING EACH DAY OF THE CONVENTION:
- Wear your GMTA nametag – it’s your ticket to everything, and it tells people who you are.
- Remember you are meeting people throughout the convention. That includes the parking lot, lobby, hallway, elevator, in line for food and even the pool (especially the pool!).
- Ask someone strolling by to join you or your conversation.
- Sit near or next to someone new to you.
- Say his or her name in conversation to easily remember it.
- Convention may be the only time each year that you see certain people. Enjoy spending time with them. Just remember to make time to meet new people as well.
- Ask for business cards. Offer yours. Connect on LinkedIn or text each other your contact information.
- Call or text people you met to say hello.
- Follow up via social media.
- Handwrite follow-up notes.
IF NETWORKING AT EVENTS IS NOT YOUR THING:
Meeting people at this type of event can be a stretch for some. Here are simple tips to help anyone make lasting relationships at the convention.
- Connect with the person in front of you. Don’t sell or be sold. Just be yourself.
- Ask questions.
- Talk with the goal to give rather than to get.
- Talk about what you know already.
- Ask for information, not sales.
- Make goals for yourself throughout the convention. For example, aim to talk with at least three people each day (or before breakfast).
- Participate in scheduled and unscheduled activities, including those that pop up in conversation at odd times. (Those are often the best).
Remember the first five minutes of every relationship. Relationships can change careers, companies and lives. The GMTA Annual Convention is the ideal place to start great relationships in the trucking industry, especially when they are started poolside!
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