Back in the day when I was a flight attendant for a major airline, we were taught what I call the “Flight Attendant Effect.” It goes like this: If you pay special attention to just one customer on the plane, all the customers around him/her will feel special too and their impression of the airline will be a postive one.

Social media can have the same effect. If you are on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and you are found helping one person through a difficult problem or just sharing kudos with them, other people reading the posts will feel that you’ve touched them as well and will more than likely think highly of you even though you’re not directly in contact. You become known as the “nice person” who helps people online. The person with all the answers to a problem. The expert with the expertise. The “go to guy/gal.”

The Flight Attendant Effect taught me the importance of how an interaction with just one person makes a huge impression about a company as a whole to others. This is exactly what your helpful actions can do for you and your company. Sharing your knowledge is a powerful connection you can make with others and will leave a lasting impression on everyone who notices. The impression you make by becoming a valuable resource for your clients, potential clients and business partners will take you much farther than you ever dreamed. 

This also works in reverse: A bad impression can be made if you choose to engage in negative or snarky comments or conversations. Sometimes it is even more detrimental and the damaging effects can reach even farther. My personal feeling is to use common sense about what you post. If you can’t say something nice, as our mothers told us, you may want to keep it to yourself. Choose your battles wisely online. You’ll never be sorry you did. 

Also, keep in mind that it’s about the other person, not about you. Reach out and help, but don’t bother if you’re only helping people to “look good.” People can see right through that. Being genuine in your motives will bring you rich rewards when you’re not looking for them. 

I’m so glad I was able to see how important it is to help those in need and how one action will carry enough weight to form a lasting impression about a company at a young age. Those lessons learned as a flight attendant have remained with me to this day and make me appreciate how important it is to share my knowledge and help those around me. I also see this quality in others and I’m so glad that I know people in social media that I can always count on for the right answer or another point of view to explore. Their effect on me, and the people I know, will help us all go much farther with social media than we ever dreamed.

4 Responses to Social Media and the ‘Flight Attendant Effect’

  1. Tonya Cash
    Jun 11, 2009

    So true Desiree!

    Being helpful and kind is very POWERFUL.
    The good guy or gal usually wins in the end, good karma.
    And I find the only way to truely be seen as an “expert”.

    People can see right through the fakeness.
    You might get known, but not the way you want.
    And people might think you are educated on the topic, but not want to really work with you.

    Thanks for sharing the “Flight Attendant Effect”. I hope more people will start to help others & the community they live in. We can all help in some way. We can all make this a better place to live & a better place to work. And build our careers while giving back.

    Best of Luck to you and your company!
    And thanks for all the teaching and help you do for small businesses!

  2. Evolving Squid
    Jun 16, 2009

    If you can’t say something nice, as our mothers told us, you may want to keep it to yourself.

    … or you may not. Sometimes, un-nice things need to be said. A well timed reality slap can be as effective as a decade of insincere niceties.


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