Guillerault (LinkedIn), treasurer, NTEA Generation Next
This article was originally published in the February 2023 issue of Generation Next Edition.
Work Truck Week is almost upon us, and I can’t wait to get to Indy for this year’s show. WTW is the premier event for the work truck industry, and throughout the year it's the one that I most look forward to attending. If you work in the commercial vehicle industry - whether at an OEM, distributor, fleet or dealer - this is your Super Bowl. And you don’t want to miss it. Here are my tips on how to get the most of Work Truck Week.
1. Be prepared
I've found one of the best ways to prepare for Work Truck Week is to download the app and build your planner. Login using the email address listed in your registration confirmation, then you can get started building your schedule by adding educational sessions and marking the exhibitors you plan to visit. Don’t know where an exhibitor’s booth is or what time a concurrent session starts? Use the interactive floor plan feature to locate exhibitors easily and the reference the schedule of events to find out when a session starts and where it’s located. Also, if you forget to bring a notebook and pen, don’t worry because the app allows you to add notes and photos. This great tool can keep you on track to maximize your time at Work Truck Week.
In addition to the app, make sure you clearly define your goals and plan for what you want to accomplish. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, think about the following things and plan your week around them.
- Which vendors or customers do you need to see?
- Which new products do you want to learn about?
- What professional development goal do you want to hit?
2. Build relationships
Use WTW to build relationships with the vendors, customers, or prospects that you don’t get to see on a regular basis. These are the people that you do business with regularly but only get to talk to on the phone or via email. There’s no substitute for in-person, face-to-face interactions with people, and Work Truck Week is an excellent place to make that happen. Also, remember that it’s not all about work, people have lives outside of the office so take the time to get to know them personally to build a stronger relationship.
3. Network, network, network
There are many so opportunities to network at Work Truck Week, but how to network effectively is the tricky part. My keys to networking are:
- Be curious and ask questions. Get to know people by being curious and asking genuine questions about their background, experience, or company. (Why did they attend WTW? What sessions did they get the most value from? What exhibitors or products are they most excited about?)
- Give people your undivided attention. Put your phone aside and engage in a conversation without distractions or interruptions.
- Look for ways to help people or add value. This is so important when building a relationship because people know when you have a sincere interest in helping or being of service. (Can you make an introduction or provide insight on a product or market that benefits someone else?)
- Follow up. If you offered to provide information or make an introduction, make sure that do what you say you’re going to do, and do so in a timely manner. This is a great way to build trust.
Focusing on relationships and adding value to people is the quickest way to build a network and become a trusted colleague. When people trust you, they will be there for you when you need it.
Speaking of Networking…
If you’re already part of Generation Next or want to learn more about it, I urge you to attend the Generation Next Leadership Workshop & Networking Reception: EQ + TQ = Positive Workplace Climate with guest speaker & NBA Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief. After the workshop, please join me and the rest of the Generation Next Board of Governors for a drink at the networking reception. It’s going to be a great event and we hope to see you there.
4. Focus on professional development
Work Truck Week has a wide range of industry-focused educational sessions led by subject matter experts, thought leaders, and technical professionals. Topics include market data and industry trends, technology advancements, vehicle engineering and compliance, workforce development, leadership and more. The NTEA staff puts a lot of time and effort into providing premier content and speakers for the educational sessions, an Green Truck Summit, and they never disappoint. Just find a topic or speaker that interests you, and learn something new.
5. Learn about new products and vendor innovations
WTW has always been the place for OEMs to showcase new products like commercial vehicles, bodies, equipment and technology. In 2023, there will be more of the same as many exhibitors have already announced that they will debut new products at WTW (New Trucks, EV's, Equipment, & More launching during WTW) I love getting a chance to see what new products my vendors are coming out with. It's equally important to know what the competition is doing as well. Either way, make sure you spend plenty of time in the exhibit hall exploring as many products as possible.
6. Get social
Like, Follow, Comment, Post, and Share. If you create a social media post, make sure you use the following hashtags: #wtw23, #worktruckweek, #worktrucks23, greentrucks23 and #wtw23mug. Learn more more at Get Social.
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