What tax season is to accountants or Christmas is to North Pole elves, NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition has long been to Greteman Group. As the days tick off, the activity in our agency continues with a focused intensity. Deadlines that must be hit. Last-minute requests that need to be worked in. Production files to check and check again.

But I’m proud to say, we’re not working around the clock. After almost three decades in the business, we know the drill. And burning out your team accomplishes little. In fact, it’s counterproductive. The cockpit isn’t the only place where mistakes can be tracked to exhaustion. Crew resource management and human factors come into play at a marketing agency, too.

If you plan to be one of the 1,100-plus exhibitors at the 70th annual NBAA-BACE, here’s a simple preshow checklist that might be of help.

Preshow Checklist

Your Outreach

  • Ads in show dailies – Printer proofs and digital files turned over to the respective publications by, or in advance of, their due dates.
  • Announcements and press releases – Routed and approved through senior management. Ready to release at the show or, even better, have already sent embargoed releases to key reporters and editors so they can work ahead. Online newsroom updated and maximized for reporters to easily find and secure what they need (including photography and video).
  • Booth graphics/giveaways/collateral – All double-checked and to the respective vendors with clear shipping/delivery instructions.
  • Booth staffing – Everyone briefed about show objectives and expectations. Any special apparel secured and badges/buttons produced.
  • Invites/events – Invitations issued at least three weeks prior to your event. Follow up with a reminder to those who have not yet RSVP’d. If speeches are part of the event, introductions and talking points for each person should be written, routed and approved.
  • Meetings – Make sure you’ve downloaded NBAA’s free mobile app, for iPhone and Android smartphones. Its interactive exhibit floor plan saves steps as you traverse the seemingly-endless Las Vegas Convention Center. Think through who you need to see and cluster those meetings as much as you can so you’re not running back and forth across the floor.
  • Social media – Follow @NBAA on Twitter for updates and use the hashtag #NBAA17 to narrow the conversation further. Clearly lay out your content strategy for sharing on your various platforms: Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and blog. Designate who on your team is primarily responsible for writing, taking photos/videos and posting. Give special attention to mobile as show attendees will be checking you out from their smartphones and tablets as well as at your booth.
  • Technology – Trust no one. Build in redundant systems and IT support to ensure that everything from video displays to Internet connections operate without a hitch.

Your People

  • Remember please and thank you. Being on deadline makes it more important than ever to maintain common courtesy. You’re in this together.
  • Keep it professional and solutions-oriented. If upper management starts dictating last-minute changes, breathe deep and plan how you will address them. Can you negotiate for keeping to the previously approved game plan? If not, can you tap into outside manpower to protect your team from massive overtime? Is there middle ground? It’s too late to change your advertising, but new messages can be communicated through the media.
  • Maintain the relationship. You win the battle but lose the war, if you meet your immediate need but lose your team member’s heart. The show is all about building relationships and selling your product/service through face-to-face interaction. Your team is equally important to your success.

Your Endurance

  • Attire – Pull out your favorite, most-comfortable shoes. Never, never, never wear new shoes to the show. Rooky mistake. You’ll get blisters and spend a miserable three days hobbling around. Women, leave the stilettos at home. Pumps or flats serve you better. While you see prospective aircraft buyers walking the convention floor or static display wearing any and everything, they can. The rest of us need to dress as though we were in the office. It is a business show.
  • Energy – Get plenty of rest before the show. You’ll need those reserves. Las Vegas tempts you with its nonstop entertainment. And you will want to tap into that. Don’t overbook yourself when you get home. You will be ready for some R&R.
  • Attitude – Go into the show expecting great things and you’re more likely to arrive back at the office fortified by deepened relationships and new possibilities. The show will tire you, but it will recharge you, too. It’s great to reconnect with people you may only see face-to-face once a year. It has a reunion feel to it. But there are always new faces, new connections to make.

Once Your Checklist’s Complete, Smile

Nothing’s ever perfect. Nothing’s ever truly done. But that’s why deadlines are such a blessing. You’re forced to move forward. And, come October 10, at 7 a.m. the doors of the Las Vegas Convention Center will open. And another not-to-be-missed NBAA-BACE will begin. See you there.

This article was published in the September 7th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.