From the dog park to the Coffee Bean (I am sick of Starbucks owning the category) to the friendly skies, a chance encounter can potentially lead to a future business deal. I am the absolute worst about marketing my own business and I’ve been caught without business cards on more than one opportunistic occasion, but when it comes to chatting it up with strangers I am a pro. If you ever sit beside me on an airplane, you’d better be prepared to talk because I am especially chatty when I travel.
Since most people LOVE to talk about themselves, simply ask about the other person to break the ice. What are they working on? Where are they flying? Business trip or vacation? You will know instantly if they want to continue the conversation and hopefully they do. I have met some very interesting people on airplanes since I do a lot of business travel. A few years back I was traveling from NY to L.A. I chatted the whole trip with a woman, who was moving to L.A. She was looking for a job and I knew of one she might be interested in so our conversation actually lasted beyond the flight for several weeks. (She turned out to be overqualified for the job, but she made several new connections in the process and both thanked me for the referral.) About a year later, I was working on a business announcement with another publicist, who recognized my company’s name and mentioned he knew of me through the woman from the plane. She was a dear friend of his and he instantly had great respect for me for having offered to help her when she was a stranger in a strange town. The compliment was a nice bonus for having just been myself…chatty.
Traveling alone has always appealed to me, even for pleasure, because I love meeting new people. I vacationed solo in Hawaii to celebrate my 30th birthday and came home with lots of new local friends and a boyfriend in the Islands, Mahalo!
You can meet interesting people anywhere who may change your life. It could be at the Beach, exercise class, a baby shower, the Nail shop, a music festival, Sushi bar or in line at the post office. The point is to always be open to meeting new people and always be prepared because they may turn out to be important figures in your professional or personal life for years to come.
For a chance encounter…bump into me on YSN!