Traveling on a plane is not the most enjoyable thing in the world, unless you make it ENJOYABLE. There are ways to get your mind off how much leg room you DON’T have or the crying baby that you CAN’T make go back to sleep. You could read the latest air mall magazine, play angry birds, stare at your offline email or branch out.
Branch out and meet your seatmate next to you or across the aisle. An airplane is one of the most confined social/business networks you can encounter. You just NEVER know who you are going to meet , unless you break the ice.
Financial Post has the stats to back this up:
Nearly 90% of the small business people who responded says networking had led to “at least some” new business and 30% says it resulted in “a lot” of new clients for their company. What’s more, formal networking events were frequently not the source of these new contacts. Instead, business people say they connected in a range of places, including the gym, restaurants and bars, with 17% specifically mentioning airplanes.
How do you get the conversation flowing?
Take a gander what your seatmate is reading or ask some investigative/getting to know you questions such as why he/she is going to destination X.
However, air networkers BEWARE….
Your fellow travelers may or may not be open to making “new friends” or business contacts.
Michael Hughes, Canada’s networking guru, warns “Launching into a three-hour sales pitch will drive your fellow passenger crazy and likely do more harm than good. “Like it or not, you’re sitting next to that person for the entire time. That means you have to be aware of the signals your seat-mate sends,” Mr. Hughes says. “If you make a friendly comment and the book goes up, the head phones go on, or you get a one-word answer, it’s time to leave that person alone.”
So pick your spots wisely and bow out graciously if your seatmate isn’t looking to be “Chummy”.
But remember the risk is well worth the REWARD. You never know where a conversation on a flight to Topeka may lead….