So What?

June 16, 2022
Joe Petrie, Editorial Director, AviationPros
Joe Petrie, Editorial Director, AviationPros

As I’m getting off the plane from MRO Americas, it’s hard to describe the mixture of excitement and exhaustion filling my body.

It’s amazing to see the industry bounce back from the brink. Seeing the conference brimming with people, business being conducted and people just happy to be out is exciting. It’s almost like we’ve convinced ourselves the past two years was a mutual sabbatical and nothing has changed.  

But we’re all a little rusty getting back out there. Many of us had a smattering of industry events to attend since March 2020 and might have found ourselves a little out of swing with live events.

Shows like MRO Americas are challenging for attendees and exhibitors alike. If you’re walking a show looking to buy something, you have countless options for what you need. And if you’re an exhibitor, it’s tough to stand out in the crowd to get everyone’s attention.

Not everyone can pull off wine and cheese mixers. And while they’re a nice perk of a tradeshow, not everyone is looking for gratis wine and cheese.

Getting attention is an artform. Luckily, it’s very learnable.

When I work with junior editors starting their careers, we always cover the basics of building a strong story — who, what, where, when, why and how. Everyone learns that in journalism school and anyone with a passing fancy into the media understands that concept.

But I always challenging them with the unwritten seventh tenant of storytelling — so what.

So what is the most important part of any message. It’s a question that drives us unwittingly to make most of the decisions we do in our lives. It’s the payoff to a goal or the central standard of a product.

Does your equipment have a new feature? So what? Your tools have a new line? So what? Attending a tradeshow? So what? Got an issue at your repair shop you need to address? So what?

AkzoNobel had a virtual painting simulator at its booth at MRO Americas. Attendees got to try their skills at painting a virtual airplane while others cheered them on. When we asked about the “so what” element, they were able to explain how they can train painters in an efficient manner without wasting paint and show veteran painters ways to further hone their skills.

Those are some powerful so what’s.

Focusing on the so what gives clarity towards an end goal when making business decisions or buying new equipment. It also gives technology providers a better goal when explaining their latest innovation for a new product.

As you look to the rest of the year and the goals you want to accomplish, make sure to take a breath and look within at what you’re trying to do. Then ask yourself one simple question: so what? 

About the Author

Joe Petrie | Editor & Chief

Joe Petrie is the Editorial Director for the Endeavor Aviation Group.

Joe has spent the past 15 years writing about the most cutting-edge topics related to transportation and policy in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on transportation issues for the past 10 years.

Contact: Joe Petrie

Editor & Chief | Airport Business

[email protected]


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