I just completed a Southwest Airline flight from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to Denver International Airport. I never check luggage and, given that I was traveling alone, I chose my seat very wisely. Fourth row, close enough to the front that I could disembark quickly and be on my way. Unfortunately a salesman of some kind sat behind me, a salesman with too much time on his hands
and thinly veiled desperation in his voice
. He latched onto his seat mate and proceeeded to "sell" himself for two and a half hours. His multi-level scheme even annoyed the flight attendant who briskly told him to stow his lap top - twice.
He began with a tale about his prissy life - a fairy tale wife, grown successful children, the youngest had just graduated from Stanford. Those of us lucky enough to be sitting within ear shot rolled our eyes wondered how long his neighbor would hold out. "I also have several rental properties up and down the Southern California coast, but let me tell you more about my latest venture..." blah, blah, blah
At what point do we, as responsible professionals, recognize when a line has been crossed, either by us or by a colleague/seat mate? One of my mentors used to say, "There's a fine line between being a helpful resource and a pest." It is too bad that not everyone knows where that line is. Or whether or not it has actually been crossed.
When presenting ideas or candidates, opportunities or products, it will serve you best to be in touch with your audience. Read expressions, body language and be in tune with the vibes you are giving off and those that you are receiving. Check your radar; tune in and listen. Don't be so caught up in what you want to say next that you fail to hear what is being said right now, right in front of you.
An elderly woman from our flight stopped me in the ladies room at the sinks. "That guy behind you didn't shut up for the whole flight... I was ready to, I was gonna... Oh, I'm just glad it's over." And she shuffled off. Do you want to be thought of as pushy? Do you want to come off as a pushover? That's the line on which to balance. Stretch your arms out wide. Open your eyes & flex those ears. The last thing you want is for your listener to be "glad it's over."