self promotion and a 4 hour plane ride


Given I just wrote all the reasons why I would suck at freelancing this one isn’t going to come as a surprise.

The art of self promotion.

Or maybe it is the ability and fearlessness associated with self promotion.

Why am I writing about this today?

A 4 hour plane flight.

The woman in seat in front of me handed three separate business cards and talked for almost 4 frickin’ hours about teaching women self confidence, her dress for success classes, her interest in being an interior designer, her thoughts on a new designer water and why a good bloody mary is worth even the price they make you pay on a plane these days (although the guy who was sitting next to her bought it for her).

She is kind of attractive. Tanned, blond and black t-shirt with some pink writing on it.


The guy next to her has listened for almost 4 hours (I think for some odd reason willing to put up with it thinking he may get a date at the end of the flight … but … why ? .. WHY???? … why would you want a date with someone that you just had a trial run with and used more words in 3+ hours then there are in the encyclopedia Britannica …. oh  … we silly men).

And it looked like he is getting a sore neck because he doesn’t say anything (I think he has said five words … I stopped counting when I waited over 30 minutes waiting for the next word) but he has been seriously nodding his head to her words of wisdom (or maybe he is just doing it randomly with the hope he is actually doing it at the right time … hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ..)


This is about self promotion.

This girl has some game in the self promotion department.

I mean Lakers level game.

I mean  … c’mon … three separate business cards (and while I only got a glance having been in the ad business long enough I recognized some nice paper stock, good use of color and that horrible use of font that only people who aren’t professionally in communications use because they think it makes them look creative).


She has recapped her past sales and ideas experience by interspersing it within actual things she is doing now (I think). In fact I am not sure what she does.

What I am learning about self promotion on this flight is that focus helps.

Simply flailing about suggesting entrepreneurship and ideation skills does not create a clear end impression in anyone’s mind.

For example … the guy next to her “her lips are moving but I cannot hear what she is saying but, gosh, they look kissable.”

The women in front of her wants to rip her head off for self promoting nothing of any value.

The guy across the aisle I think has just been knocked unconscious having been bludgeoned by an unending stream of words.

The guy next to me just stops reading and sits with his mouth agape in awe of the sheer force of will this young woman has in self promotion.


Here’s the deal.

She’s got game.

And she’s got a game I don’t have.

Do I want her particular level of game? Absolutely not.

But do I wish I had some of her game? Absolutely yes.

The ability to sit down and turn to someone you have never met and talk about your ideas and business thoughts and a wide variety of entrepreneurial things is an awesome quality.

And, frankly, by sheer quantity she increases her likelihood of success (assuming she can keep anyone interested long enough to hear the ‘one’ thing that would be ‘the one’ idea that would work).

I imagine sometimes the good ones with self promotion skills get what they want sometimes out of sheer persistence.

I have done some new business work and, sure, if you talk to enough people sooner or later someone will have a problem you can solve.

But I would imagine I worked best on a quasi-one dimensional focus. Within a range seeking to find a problem I know I had a solution for.

Great self promoters seem to be more circus carneys just trying to get people to listen to them and ‘come on in’ and worry more about whether they are the right people later.

In my words I think they are less “qualifier” type people figuring (a) everyone wants to hear what I gots to say and (b) if they don’t want to hear it is not my job to uninvite them and (c) I have so many ideas I am sure they will like one of them if I say them all fast enough.

Self promotion isn’t just about passion for an idea.

In a way (and I do mean this in a good way) it has a lot to do with passion for ‘self.’ A confidence in self and ideas and what you, as an individual, brings to the party called life.

The ideas just get carried along by the passion of ‘self.’ Because, frankly, most of the ideas are the ‘same ole same ole’ (or derivatives of what you could get elsewhere) but some ideas are differentiated by their bearer. And this is where self promoters seem to rise above many of us who have no thread of self promotion within us.

They get to do their ideas not because they are smarter or more articulate or more … well … anything … excepting passionate. And there is a sense that anyone that passionate cannot fail.

And there is some truth to that.

Especially if you buy my concept that self promotion is actually an extension of passion for ‘self.’ For, if you buy the self promoter concept, a part of what you are buying (or what they are selling) is what they see in the mirror every morning when they wake up.

And they probably won’t fail (unless you notice they have taken all the mirrors down).

Self promoters are called that for a reason – “self.”

In a way while this women drove me frickin’ nuts I was also a little envious.

She had something I just don’t have.

And I always envy (or maybe have some tinge of respect) for people who have some characteristics that I believe I would benefit if I had some of ‘that.’


I also honestly believe if you don’t have this self promotion characteristic, or at least haven’t figured out how to tap into it on occasion, you will never reach the top (of an organization, your field, your whatever). Okay. Never is a big sweeping word. Let’s say the world would have to be aligned in exactly your favor at all critical points to permit it to happen.

Look around.

Some of the absolute best business people you will ever find and work with are toiling in let’s say ‘number 2 or 3’ slots or upper senior slots but not on the boards (but get into the boardrooms). They just don’t self promote but other than that they are pretty frickin’ good.


And that may be the best way I have ever articulated this idea … “they always make their way into boardroom discussions but are never on the board itself.”


I guess the point is.

Don’t scoff at self promotion.

On a number of levels it is a healthy characteristic if you are looking for success in business.

Written by Bruce