EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

For those of you who have had the pleasure of earning frequent flier miles, I can understand that you may no longer be paying strict attention to the very helpful discussion that precedes take off.

Personally, I don’t think that anyone who doesn’t know how to work the seat belt should really be let out alone to wander the earth, but that’s just me. (How does that clip and lever work anyway?) And, who can say they appreciate the crew mentioning that you will soon be arriving at your “final” destination.

That said you can always acquire insight even from something as mundane as a legally mandatory drill as takes place preflight. I call your attention to the instructions you are supposed to follow if the cabin loses pressure. First the oxygen masks will drop and if you pull the mask toward your face, the air will start flowing and you can breathe. The important part of these instructions is that you are supposed to put YOUR mask on first and THEN help others.

Pretty sound advice and one totally applicable to the networking we do.

How so? There is an expectation among many members that everyone they contact should be immediately responsive, whether by phone or email. What I am suggesting to you is that as much as I strongly believe in the many rules of courtesy that are part and parcel of being a “Fanatic FENG’er,” what you don’t know is whether or not the cabin pressure is appropriate on the other end of that electronic connection.

What if the plane the other person is flying is in a steep dive or is coming in for a landing and they have to secure all their personal items, move their seat to the full upright position and stow their tray table? Can you still expect them to respond quickly?

The point is that you never really know what is going on in the thick fog where you can’t see and where no radar can penetrate until you actually connect with that other person. What I am suggesting is that you give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of intentions about their behavior unless you know otherwise.

Remember, their first obligation is to put on their own mask first before they try to help you with yours.

The story goes that several years ago I was trying to reach one of our consultants who hadn’t given me his time sheet for some work he had completed and I was anxious to bill our client. I called and left messages several times and, even though I know better, I was getting angrier and angrier about why he wasn’t calling me back.

When we finally connected it turned out that his son had been in the hospital all week. Lesson learned. I guess he was busy putting on his mask first.

Regards, Matt

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