Networking Etiquette

SteveCostello

My member is well-known.
So... I'll be starting up my flight training through a local FBO relatively soon (within a month or so). I'd also like to get a jump on my networking. Ultimately, my career goal is a Part 91 job, if that helps frame things.

So, what is the proper way to go about networking at an FBO or around the ramp? I would think there is a fine line between a casual encounter vs. someone who is clearly desperate. I mean... how do you even initiate? What do you do? Simply start up a conversation ("How 'bout those Cards?), offer to wash a plane or two? Just not sure how that all shakes out, and I'm sure a lot of you folks have plenty of experience in those matters. I have experience networking at conferences within my current line of work (software development), so it's not like I'm a green-behind-the-ears high schooler that is all googly-eyed about the shiny airplanes (well... ok, so I'm a 41-year old professional that is all googly-eyed about the shiny airplanes).

Anyway, some pointers about networking etiquette around the airport, and how to get the most out of networking on both sides of the equation (I would obviously benefit the most, initially, from networking, but is there something I can give back?) would be most appreciated.
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
For me, it's purely random. Being around the airport and being seen is a start. I'm not suggesting hanging out at the airport all day, but maybe study at the airport instead of at home. Other local pilots will start to recognize your face and probably spark up conversation with YOU first. I'm a HORRIBLE opener, so I've got nothing for you there unfortunately. Body language often speaks louder however. One tip I have is to stay clean and positive. This makes you approachable. If you're rocking the 5 day or more unshaven look and look like you're in a bad mood, some are less likely to approach you. If they do approach you with that appearance and you smell bad, well, they probably aren't going to want to stick around for chit chat. :)

Keep a few business cards on you as well.
 

bronco21016

I know H.T.M.L. (How To Meet Ladies)
Don't be the weirdo that hangs out at the FBO for 8 hours/day with no real reason for being there.

Most of the people I've met at smaller FBOs have just happened to be there at the same time as me for a flight or flight lesson or whatever it is their business is at the airport. Usually just a smile and a hello, a comment about an interesting plane on the ramp, asking an intelligent question about someone's plane or job, or something along these lines can get the conversation going.

Like I said though don't be the weirdo that goes up to every single person that walks through the door and start bugging them. You'll quickly gain a reputation among the regulars at the FBO and you don't want it to be a bad reputation. Just be friendly and natural and people will talk to you.
 

Mike Garcia

New Member
So I will not bring my airport-luxury-pillow I bought from a Hub I was recently running through to catch my plane... I'll bring a book, a blanket and a book light and wait for someone to walk through and say hello. Or I’ll bring Boy Scout popcorn to sell at the entrance to start networking. People love to see Boy Scout popcorn sales.
 

undflyboy06

Well-Known Member
Once you are able to get someone's contact information after first meeting them, the next challenge is not bugging them all the time. You don't want to be constantly calling or checking in week or month after month. This is just as bad, you will just become another guy looking for a job.

You have to build your professional and if possible your personal relationship with that individual. If someone lives in the local area ask them if you can meet at some place one day and have lunch. I like the concept of meeting for lunch because it's so casual and a natural atmosphere. In terms of staying in touch, if they are not actively or won't be looking for someone immediately then 4-6 months at a time will be alright. That lets them know that you are still interested and will help keep your name fresh in their mind when they do start looking for the next candidate. The trick is trying to become that person that they think of and offer you a job before they even advertise that they are looking for someone.

It took me over a year with staying in touch a couple of months at a time, and a few contract trips and this is only a part time opportunity for me. Hopefully it will go full time in 5 months.
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
The way I look at it is I try to make friends first, and if those friends can help me get ahead great, if not, worst case is you've made a friend.
 

jskibo

Done
The way I look at it is I try to make friends first, and if those friends can help me get ahead great, if not, worst case is you've made a friend.
This^^^^

Much better than capturing them, putting them in a pit in your basement and making them rub lotion on their skin!!!! ;)
 

pdxcfi

Flyin' Shoe
Know about something other than aviation to start a conversation. ...

Sent from my LG-P769 using Tapatalk 2
 

jskibo

Done
When are we doing a jskibo M&G to drunk fly the sim? (maybe a fall thing to celebrate fresh CFI tickets?)

BTW, I'm down for the 28th if you're still offering.
Yeah, I need to put the control board for the overhead back in it. Been too busy and is been too hot in the garage to work it (that and clean up about 2100 pieces of wire and shielding laying around from assembling the overhead).

Fall is good, Football season as well to keep folks entertained in the Bar / Theater when not trying to hand fly CATIII while intoxicated.

Will plan the 28th flight unless the weather is absolute crap.....
 

ozziecat35

4 out of 5 great lakes prefer Michigan.
So... I'll be starting up my flight training through a local FBO relatively soon (within a month or so). I'd also like to get a jump on my networking. Ultimately, my career goal is a Part 91 job, if that helps frame things.

So, what is the proper way to go about networking at an FBO or around the ramp? I would think there is a fine line between a casual encounter vs. someone who is clearly desperate. I mean... how do you even initiate? What do you do? Simply start up a conversation ("How 'bout those Cards?), offer to wash a plane or two? Just not sure how that all shakes out, and I'm sure a lot of you folks have plenty of experience in those matters. I have experience networking at conferences within my current line of work (software development), so it's not like I'm a green-behind-the-ears high schooler that is all googly-eyed about the shiny airplanes (well... ok, so I'm a 41-year old professional that is all googly-eyed about the shiny airplanes).

Anyway, some pointers about networking etiquette around the airport, and how to get the most out of networking on both sides of the equation (I would obviously benefit the most, initially, from networking, but is there something I can give back?) would be most appreciated.


I'd say if you go around with the intent to "network," then you're doing it wrong. I can totally relate however to your experience and thoughts.
 

desertdog71

Girthy Member
Yeah, I need to put the control board for the overhead back in it. Been too busy and is been too hot in the garage to work it (that and clean up about 2100 pieces of wire and shielding laying around from assembling the overhead).

Fall is good, Football season as well to keep folks entertained in the Bar / Theater when not trying to hand fly CATIII while intoxicated.

Will plan the 28th flight unless the weather is absolute crap.....

Get that bad boy online before I make a trip up there. (If I make a trip up there.)

Anyways, I have all that CFI crap if you want it forwarded to you.
 
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