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The 30K Pitch: What Would You Do for a Captive Audience?

Chris Brown

How much would you pay to have a captive audience for 1 hour? 3 hours? 7 hours? An audience that is interested in what you have to say and what you offer professionally, that you could pitch for new business, use as a sounding board, or even brainstorm with? You would be surprised, and then again you may think this is obvious (if so, don’t ruin the surprise), to find out you can have all this for as little as $100!… one way.

That’s right—at 30,000 feet up, flights give you all this and more. However, with the continued development of new gadgets, tablets, iPods, laptops, in-flight wifi, etc., are you REALLY maximizing your in-flight networking.

I’ll admit that I am not always a 30K social butterfly; however, I do have a few tricks to get the conversation off the ground.

  1. Pay attention to all posted placards. See what your neighbors are reading, watching, etc. Chances are, if they’re reading a very industry specific publication, such as Oil & Gas Journal, they are somehow involved in the industry.  Use this to strike up a conversation and go from there. However, be careful not to come across as nosy.
  2. Let the pilot do the flying. If you end up starting a conversation with someone, let them talk about themselves. Research suggests that when engaged in conversation, your seatmate will have a higher opinion of you if you listen more and talk less. Now you may say “well that doesn’t help me pitch my product” – No, however, exchange information and suggest a follow up meeting to discuss how you might be able to help. Remember to bring your game face as first impressions are key.
  3. Know your emergency exits. There’s a fine line between casual conversations and being overbearing so be conscious of how much is too much. Keep in mind some people view flights as a time to kick back and relax, not to work. If you find yourself in a situation that you need to get out of, have an escape plan or an exit line/phrase.

Yes, these are pretty simple rules to follow, but good business etiquette on flights can help you soar above your peers professionally.

Share your tips and success stories in the comments section below, and don’t be intimidated by in-flight networking. After all it’s flying, not rocket science! CJP

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