That Virgin Airline Safety Announcement

Things You Notice

As I was sitting in my allocated seat in my now rather too frequent weekly Virgin flight from Melbourne to Sydney, I vaguely heard the all too familiar safety demonstration which was telling me what to do in an emergency. I, like many other frequent flyers had become rather blasé to this important message. The announcement was one that I should pay attention to, but when you have heard it so many times, the competing options of sleeping, reading a book, or examining the lipstick colour being worn by the air hostess just seems to take precedence! (By the way, yes the lipstick colour does change, the wearer apparently has the option to tailor their own lip colouring depending on what mood they are in on that day…just in case you were wondering…and yes, I did ask!)

This got me thinking. Most of us in the corporate office have a daily routine that changes quite infrequently, if at all. We tend to arrive at work at the same time, park our cars in the same allocated spot, start the day with that all too familiar long black, take a banana from the corporate fruit basket to be eaten later, and then arc up our computers as we take a big sigh in preparation as we work our way through the torrent of new emails in our inbox. Sound familiar?

So why not utilize the safety announcement protocols that are used by the airlines to deliver a message to motivate all employees at the start of the day with the right mind set? Well, with a few tailored variations of course!!

No, I’m not suggesting that the leadership team wear red lipstick, just like the Virgin air hostesses and parade around the office in an attempt to rev up the employees, but it would certainly be a unique and different spectacle that would indeed be noticed.

Instead, like on the plane, let’s focus on the office PA systems that are typically only used for practice emergency drills where that all too familiar ‘whoop, whoop’ sounds permeates through the building just when you are about to skull that freshly purchased coffee, or start that all important phone call.

So why can’t we use that corporate PA system slightly differently? Why couldn’t the CEO deliver a morning motivational message that is full of wit, anecdotes and other words of perceived cleverness? This would of course test the inspirational personality characteristics of the CEO, but this is a simple, yet creative task, that they should be able to do without even having to blink!

Other thoughts for the PA message could include; some boppy dance music (maybe The Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams are made of this’), a chapter read from a thought provoking book, some karaoke that all employees join in with, some voice impressions…the key is to have something different. Why not use the PA system at random times of the day to minimize employee complacency? Instead of the PA system, why not utilize the corporate spruiker concept where the CEO walks around the office corridors with a megaphone blasting out innovative words of motivation? I’m sure that you can think of many more ideas that break the boring corporate mold of minimal motivation!

So maybe next time you are sitting on the plane you might now listen to the safety announcement with a slightly different perspective? If not, well, make sure you have a good sleep instead!

Chatter Vocabulary in the Air

Leather Seats

For those of you who travel regularly by plane, you will know the “joy” of being strapped into your allocated seat for a few hours. You have the smallest possible personal space, and those sitting next to you can be riveting company and fun to be with, or exceptionally dull – unfortunately the later being most common!

This got me thinking…how could we make this journey of travel more interesting and utilize the many creative skills of the passengers who are getting a tad bored?

One possible solution is to invite passengers to participate in an anonymous “chatter” group discussion on a selected brainstorming topic during the flight. To be included, they would press a special “call button” which adds their seat number into the discussion. A Flight Attendant then provides them with an electronic writing tablet that allows communication with the other interested passengers.

Chatter Texts with impressive vocabulary would be then start to quickly permeate through the cabin during the flight, for example:

Seat 12A:   “Oh yes, I agree with you, but have you considered….”
Seat 29D:   “Thank you 12A, but I think it should be expanded to include…”
Seat 1F:      “Interesting concept, particularly if you consider the habitat of the West Australian wombat…”
Etc, etc…

At the conclusion of the flight, those involved could elect to have a copy of the transcript E-mailed to them, just in case there were any creative gems of inspiration written!

To me, this would be a much better use of people’s travel time and would make the total plane experience much more interesting and potentially productive.