11/04/2007

Networking On An Airplane...Good Story

I wanted to share a networking story with you that happened to me on Friday night.

I was coming home from a second round interview that took place in MN. The plane ride home to Boston was going to be somewhere around the line of 2 hours...and I was looking forward to getting home after the long day that started at 6AM.

As I boarded the plane, I was the first one to sit on the aisle seat of my row. I was there for about 5 minutes when another person came and sat in the window seat of the same row and side I was on.

He seemed like a cool guy so I said something around the lines of, "Long week this week?" He said, "Yes...aren't they all?"

I then went on to say "Yeah I had a pretty busy week myself," then asked him what he did. He mentioned he was in sales with a company that helps high school students find their path after graduation. He is one of the salespeople that facilitates in implementing the curriculum to the various schools around the country.

I was intrigued with his answer and asked more about it, and how and why the CEO started the company. I learned that the CEO started the company because he realized how there are very few resources for high school students to figure out what they want to do after graduation...beyond the normal college path everyone is bombarded with in school.

After explaining more, he mentioned that they are always looking for college kids to contribute to make their program better.

After learning all of this I was thinking "How can we somehow work together to create a win/win situation between us and the company?"

This is what went through my mind...
1) I would love to contribute any way that I could to help the program be better
2) I would love to bring the CEO of the company to speak to the Boston College Entrepreneur Society, and give them the opportunity to have an article in our student newspaper
3) With the book that I wrote, we could possibly figure out a way to somehow integrate that content into the program somehow, so they benefit just as much as I do.

So after that went through my head I simply laid it out for him.

I first mentioned that I would love to contribute to helping make the program better, and then went on to say that as the President of the Boston College Entrepreneur Society that we would love to have him and the CEO come and tell their story to the members.

After some discussion regarding that I then dropped the bomb about the book I wrote regarding my athletic recruiting experience from high school to Boston College. The way I did it was by first asking if they have anything for "student athletes" in regards to helping them get recruited, and then when he said they didn't I simply said..."Oh well I wrote a book about my experience, but haven't done anything with it yet...I have always had the intention of getting it out there to help people with their process, but just haven't gotten around to it with all of the busy activities I take part in."

I then went on to say "I don't know if your CEO would have any interest, but I would be willing to talk about it further if you feel he would want to speak about it possibly."

After saying that, with wide eyes he said, "Yeah I am sure he would love to talk with you about it! Let me have your information and you can have mine...and then we will go from there."

As the plane took off I handed him my card, and he handed me his card. When the plane landed we parted ways with the intention on connecting this week regarding working together somehow. I sent him an e-mail yesterday and am looking forward to hearing back from him!

I wanted to share this story with you to show you that you never know who you are going to meet...and when it comes to networking...when putting yourself out there in the "randomness of the world" only good things can happen...if you are willing to take the small risk and put yourself out there.

I live by a quote, "The greatest risk in life is not taking one." As a matter of fact it is the same quote I have for my high school senior yearbook.

I mean...Not everyone you are going to meet will work out this perfectly...but even though that is the case, that does not mean that you should not take any action at all.

A good way to explain that is from a quote I learned from my mentor, "I cannot lose what I do not have...I operate only in gain."

What this means is...I could have easily not said anything to this gentlemen and then never would have had the opportunity to help their company and help myself. But...since I was willing to put myself out there I was putting myself in the position to gain something, it turned out to work out well...but at the same time even if I put myself out there and it didn't amount to anything...I still see that as a positive because I didn't lose anything...because I never had anything with him and their company in the first place...Simply...No matter what I did...I had NOTHING TO LOSE and all to gain!

I hope you enjoyed this story, and hope that it inspires you to keep putting yourself out there when it comes to networking, building your business, and further building life-long friendships.

Have an awesome week!

Best,
Scott Bradley

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3 comments:

Jason Jacobsohn said...

Great story Scott. I am a big believer in treating every situation as a networking opportunity. Like you said, you never know who you will meet. I sat next to the founder of Mudd jeans once on an airplane. Unfortunately, we didn't talk much but rather watched a movie on his DVD player. I wish now that I would have spent more time talking so we would have had a reason to swap contact information.

Scott Bradley said...

Jason,

That is cool.
Like everyone says...We live and learn.

Scott

Karthika said...

I like the way you see an opportunity in every situation! Great!

Nice way of substantiating how networking could be useful to everyone.