As a Marketing pro who enjoys a regular amount of air travel, I find the opportunities to gently promote my business are plentiful.

How do you do that subtly, softly and appropriately? Take a look at 7 tips to encourage engagement.

1. Wear appropriately branded clothing with an obvious logo. People read whatever is printed and embroidered on other peoples’ clothes. Give them something attractive and thought-provoking to ask about. If you’re riding Business Class or First Class make sure it matches the setting – a tee with a casual screen print may or may not generate a conversation. A pressed button up in an unexpected color, like soft orange or purple, will capture imagination and provoke a comment.

2. Have your business cards handy. I plan my travel clothes with this in mind, whether I’m traveling during deep winter with coats or hot summer with lightweight gear. Your business card is your sales person – never be without them.

3. Smile a lot. Relax your face and let a natural “I’m friendly” look be your uniform. People like other happy people and during travel, which can be stressful, a smile may be a relief from the frowns and angst many experience.

4. If you have some small, clever, and appropriate promotional products, have them handy too. The classic pencil is one of my items of choice. They universally recognized, carry my website and brand name, and are easily transportable. Plus if someone leaves it behind after you give it to them, it quietly continues promoting your brand.

Converse, engage, have fun, build business

Converse, engage, have fun, build business

5. Choose conversation over silence. Business happens when you talk with other people. Have a few fun and safe positive opening questions and comments like, “Great travel bag/sack/backpack/laptop case – tell me where you got it,” or “Where are your travels taking you today?” Try to keep it positive. Misery loves company yet negativity is a real turn off and red flag for potential business relationships.

6. Use Please and Thank You a lot. Good manners are always in style and politeness, especially in the face of stress, goes a reallllly long way for everyone you’re around. Other travel customers as well as the hard-working folks from the airline and ground crews. Give them a reason to smile, not a cause to grouse.

7. Board later in the process. If you’re wearing a nice branded shirt or jacket, and the logo is on the front, walking down the airplane aisle with your brand in full view will garner looks and comments. It works for me regularly, which I plan on, and am quick to hand out a card and pencil to the smiling person making the comment.

Lastly, bring a hard copy book on board that you’d love to talk to someone else about. A classic like Marti Barletta’s Marketing To Women, a current hot topic book, or other reading material will tell people you’re educated. And you can’t read the cover of an e-reader…. Business people like to engage with others who are well read. The adage Readers Are Leaders is still very true.

Enjoy your travel, gear up for planned unexpected connections and have fun.

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