Last week I took a flight from Glasgow back home to London. We’re on the road a lot at Kissing With Confidence and as such, you see a pretty interesting cross-section of people and behaviour. On this flight, sitting between two businessmen, I was amazed to see that they were both looking at highly confidential and sensitive papers - one relating to his organisation’s financial performance, the other his company’s executive remuneration packages.
I think I’m a decent person and, having had a good look at both papers (whatcha’ gonna do?) filed them away mentally under “Do not divulge”. However, they didn’t know that! They didn’t know that I wasn’t a competitor, a disgruntled current/former employee or a financial journalist. They maybe didn’t know that in many organisations, displaying this kind of dynamite information in public is a sackable offence. For busy people on the move, plane journeys provide the ideal opportunity to catch up on thinking and reading. But. My advice? Choose what you’re going to look at carefully. Keep the sensitive stuff under wraps. You never know who’s looking.
Secondly, those of you who travel regularly on planes know it’s not as glamorous as your family and friend think. We all develop coping strategies to keep ourselves cocooned – e-books, listening to music etc – but there can come a point where the desire to cocoon oneself tips over into the perception of rudeness by others.
Again, my companions last week were a case in point. The chap on the aisle wouldn’t uncross his legs (which were stretched out a long way) to let me in, despite a polite “excuse me” on my part – and an apology from me when my heel caught his leg. Equally, he wouldn’t acknowledge my “excuse me” and “thank you” when I was getting my tray out and putting it back (we were in Row 1). Result? He came across as a little bit rude.
The chap at the window tried to take his drinks tray out whilst my arm was actually on the arm rest; I was surprised at this, but, trying to be polite, said “Would you like me to move my arm?” Again, there was no response. I was a bit fed up by this point and I decided to say something. Quietly and politely, I said, “It would have cost you nothing to say ‘excuse me’. I am afraid it seems as if you have no manners.” He was shocked by that and did say “sorry” then and again later during the flight when he was trying to put the table back/get his jacket when we’d landed. But to be honest, with both of them, the impression had been cemented early on that they weren’t terribly polite, backed up by my observation that that they didn’t say “please” or “thank you” to the stewardess who took their drinks order. These ladies (for they were all ladies) work hard! Be polite to them. Please.
I’m sure that these chaps are both lovely people – probably tired, hungry and a bit fed up at the end of a long day. However, you just never know when you’re going to bump into people again, and what they’ll remember of you if they do. The world’s a small place. You don’t have to become best friends with your travelling neighbour, but a simple “hello” and a smile goes a long way to making things easier on the journey ahead. Try it. It works – and it’s infectious. Let’s make life as easy for ourselves and others as we can. I promise next time I bump into you on a flight I’ll be smiling!
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.