MAPPS offers a forum in which some of the most influential individuals in the geospatial industry are at your fingertips.
The opportunities to make connections and build lasting relationships are tremendous.
Can your first meeting be intimidating? 100% YES. Some of the members have been in the geospatial industry for over 30 years and attending MAPPS since the 1980’s. But don’t let their vast knowledge and experience scare you, MAPPS members are very open and friendly to “new comers” and the knowledge/experience they bring.
- Be open. Open to meeting new people, exploring new topics, speaking in public, and discussing the real issues.
- Try to meet someone new at every event.
- Participate. Give your opinion during round table discussions. Present on a topic that interests you. Attend the networking events and be engaged in the activities.
- Bring Business Cards to every meeting and networking event. You will constantly be meeting new people and the conference moves quick. You may not have the opportunity to speak with a person twice, so always be prepared to leave them your contact information.
- Review the attendee list before the conference and reach out to those you would like to meet. As I mentioned, the conference moves quickly and concludes in the blink of an eye. If there are connections you want to make at the conference, be proactive and reach out to members beforehand.
Business Casual during the day, dress for the event at night. MAPPS is a welcoming but professional environment. You can view typical daytime attire on the MAPPS Facebook page. Networking events are a different story. If you’re going to a rodeo (MAPPS Winter Conference 2019), wear your plaid shirt and cowboy boots. If you’re going on a cruise around the harbor (MAPPS Summer Conference 2018) wear your boat shoes and a sun hat. If you’re going to a Lawn Party (MAPPS Winter Conference 2017), wear an outfit that lets you participate in the very competitive corn hole tournament.
After the conference, stay in contact. Reach out to those you met and discuss potential teaming or partnership opportunities. Aside from the business aspect, maybe you met someone and there is no potential business relationship between your companies. The reality is, you will most likely see them at the next conference. Be sure to stay connected with those who you made a connection with. Some of the members, even “competitors” have built lasting relationships to the point where their family’s vacation together and they stay very involved in one another’s personal lives.
Pay it Forward
You gain a lot of new information, inspiration, and contacts at each conference. Share your experiences with your co-workers, colleagues, and friends. Spread the word about your MAPPS experience and try to get others involved.