Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Speaking of Airtime....

A year ago I was flying all over the place, 2-3 times a week. So far in 2011, this is my first time flying out of Colorado, as I head to the Toastmasters International Convention in Las Vegas. Even so, it feels like yesterday I was last sitting around waiting for my flight.

We've all heard the term Automobile University - using your drive time to listen to tapes, er...CDs with information you want to absorb. And most of us are smart enough to use our time at the airport to at least read a book, even if it's just the latest potboiler or romance paperback.

Ten Fun and/or Productive Ways to Spend Airtime

1. Write Letters. Remember those? Not emails, Facebook messages, or Tweets. Letters. Use your program of choice and actually take some time to write your mom, your sister, your kids, or those Thank You notes you've been putting off. You can even (gasp) use a pen and paper, or buy a postcard at a giftshop to make someone's day. Written communication can still change lives!

2. Personal calls. While it lacks the permanence and thoughtfulness of a Letter, your friends and relatives will still likely appreciate the time you give them - and you'll actually get to hear what's up in their life at the same time.

2. Spontaneous Conversing. Start an actual conversation with someone you don't know. Find out as much about them as you can - see how much you can find out about them and how little you tell about yourself. Not out of secrecy, but out of a desire to learn about someone new. You never know when you'll find inspiration for a speech, or even a potential client. If nothing else, you make a momentary friend.

3. Blog. Like I'm doing right now, sitting in the McDonald's at Denver International. Catch up or get ahead, but use the 'private' time to your advantage!

4. Research. Always wanted to learn something about clogging? Look it up, and spend a little time expanding your horizons. Better yet, get some up to the minute news about the company you are about to speak to, check the local news for the city you are headed to, or find a restaurant you want to try upon arrival that isn't Applebee's for the umpteenth time.

5. People StoryNotes. A variation of people watching - take it a step further and create stories in your head - where they are going, why, etc. Take some notes about them, clothes, hairstyle, mannerisms. They can become great characters in your speaking arsenal. Be careful not to be too obvious, or this exercise of creativity will turn into an exercise of creepiness...

6. Personal Review. Are you on track with your life? Have you planned the next few days, weeks, or months, or do you keep putting it off? Airtime is the perfect time for self-reflection and short and long-range planning.

7. The Big Idea. The Personal Review with focus -- come up with your next book, speech, product -- and focus solely on what it will take to make it happen from steps A to Z.

8. Read. But not something you normally would - either material that is new too you (genre or subject-wise), or a book you've been putting off for years (I owned Stephen King's The Stand for years before finally reading it during 'Bustime' a slightly less glamorous version of 'Airtime')

8B. Read. Catch up on email, blogfeeds, and Twitter if you must. But must you, REALLY? Other than Speak & Deliver, of course....

9. Practice. If you've got a presentation the minute you touch down, run through it in your head - visualize it going perfectly, with the precise results you want to receive. Use the theatre of your mind though, as opposed to subjecting all the other fliers to your material. People get a little fussy about that...

10. Sleep. Yeah, sometimes 'Airtime' is the perfect time for 'Naptime'. Arrive refreshed and awake, and avoid all the turbulence along the way.

Your next flight will likely take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours out of your day - most of which will be sitting time, in the terminal or in the plane. How are you going to spend it to help you Speak & Deliver? These are but 10 ideas - what ideas can you add?

Yikes! Gotta Fly - Literally!

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