Deliver a Little Sugar

I know many of my rants, and very few of my raves, are about a travel experience. As a professional speaker and a marketing solutions consultant, I have to get on an airplane to meet my customers and audience. Let’s be real here, it is how I make a living. And so, I have weekly contact with a few airlines, hotels and rental car companies.

To quote from the safety demonstration which I have heard thousands of times, “the flight attendant is primarily on board for our safety.” I understand that the FAA has rules and regulations designed to keep passengers safe. What the FAA seems to not have is the ability to determine how those rules are delivered. Today for example, a USAirways flight attendant told me I could not keep my laptop in a seat back pocket. She barked the order at me and said it with such shame that my two seat mates even commented about her rudeness. I get it. A laptop could fly out of the seatback and hurt me or another passenger “in the unlikely event of a water landing.”

The FAA mandates that the flight attendant be on the lookout for all misplaced laptops prior to zooming down the runway. The FAA does not say to deliver those words with a little sugar and I think this is why people start to feel a little air rage from time to time. It would be better to say something like this: “excuse me miss, I know you want to get a little work done on the flight but the FAA requires laptops to be under the seat in front of you for takeoff and landing, would you mind moving it until we have reached 10,000 feet?” Sugar makes everything sweeter and more likeable.

Other people really want to like you and respect what you say. A good strategy to earn respect is to not only learn what to say but to develop the instinct to deliver those words in a kind and empathetic manor. In the south, people like sugar in their tea. In the north, people like sugar in their coffee. And, in California no one seems to touch sugar. But no matter where I go, everyone likes when sugar coats things we don’t want to hear.