Is your el­e­va­tor pitch pol­ished enough for a plane?

Be the an­noy­ing per­son who talks to your neigh­bor, and you might just meet the con­nec­tion to an ex­cel­lent job.


Af­ter a morn­ing of job in­ter­views in An­der­son, South Carolina, in 2007, Kevin Sher­man pre­pared to board his air­plane back to Michigan, where he was about to grad­u­ate from Michigan State with a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing de­gree. He chat­ted with his fel­low job in­ter­view can­di­dates in the board­ing area about other job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

As he got set­tled on the plane, his seat­mate said he had over­heard his con­ver­sa­tion. “He said, ‘I’m an en­gi­neer­ing man­ager,’” re­calls Sher­man, and the two struck up a con­ver­sa­tion. “He in­ter­viewed me for two and a half hours,” Sher­man says. Within weeks, Sher­man, now 33, had ac­cepted a for­mal job of­fer with the com­pany, where he ended up work­ing for four years be­fore mov­ing on for an­other op­por­tu­nity.

As Sher­man’s ex­pe­ri­ence shows, the con­ver­sa­tions you have on planes can change your life. When trav­el­ing for busi­ness or plea­sure, you can in­crease your chances of turn­ing a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion into a job in­ter­view by learn­ing from peo­ple who have done just that. We spoke to two peo­ple who turned a plane ride into a net­work­ing ses­sion. Here are their tips.

Be on your best be­hav­ior, even when tested

When Sher­man first sat down on the plane, he kept his back­pack on his lap. His seat­mate — and fu­ture boss — made a com­ment that some might have taken to be rude: “He said, ‘I hope that’s not go­ing to be on your lap the whole time,’” Sher­man re­calls.

Sher­man calmly told him not to worry, he would soon be putting it away. A few min­utes later, the con­ver­sa­tion that turned into a job in­ter­view be­gan. “If I would have said, ‘Don’t be a jerk,’ that wouldn’t have turned out well,” Sher­man says.

Prac­tice your opener

For Carolyn Clancy, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at Fidelity, the life-chang­ing plane ride took place re­turn­ing from a di­rect mar­ket­ing as­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in 1999. She turned to the per­son next to her and asked, “Are you go­ing home or are you on va­ca­tion?” — a line she fre­quently uses as a con­ver­sa­tion starter.

Clancy dis­cov­ered her seat­mate had been at a Fidelity sales con­fer­ence, and they started talk­ing about the fu­ture of mar­ket­ing. Af­ter two hours of chat­ting, they ex­changed busi­ness cards. The next morn­ing, Clancy re­ceived a call from a Fidelity re­cruiter. Within two weeks, she had a new job at Fidelity, where she has been ever since.

Be cu­ri­ous

Even if you’re not job­hunt­ing, Clancy says con­ver­sa­tions can be a chance to learn more about a new in­dus­try or com­pany.

“Have a gen­uine cu­rios­ity and ask ques­tions,” she says. “You could learn about where to take your next va­ca­tion, a great ho­tel, or how to do your job bet­ter.”

Your next big net­work­ing op­por­tu­nity could be on a flight. PRO­VIDED

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.