A Tale of Two Meetings

I had two random encounters with strangers while I was at the ABA meeting, with diametrically opposite results. I cut through the Copley Place Sky Mall to get over to register at the Convention Center. The shops were not yet open that early in the morning, and the signage was hit-or-miss, so I wasn’t always sure I had made the necessary twists and turns through the mall. Coming upon a Gray Line Bus Tour kiosk at an unsigned fork in the road, I approached the employee there for confirmation of the route to the Convention Center. His head was down staring at (of course) his phone, and when I inquired if I was heading in the right direction, he didn’t bother to look up, and merely snapped out an annoyed “yes.” In response to my exaggerated thanks, his head snapped up, and he apologized for his rude manner, saying that at least 300 people had asked him the same question that morning, and an unknown “they” (perhaps the tourist bureau) should have put out better signs. For a guy whose livelihood depends on greeting tourists interested in getting a driving tour of Boston, his attitude was remarkably poor, even if he was right about the lack of a sign.

My second encounter not more than 15 minutes later was with a fellow convention attendee, as we were both walking away from Registration and looking for the Expo. Upon finding it was not yet open, we fell in together and after a few friendly questions, realized we shared a common profession, namely coaching lawyers after many years of private practice. Our brief walk to the Sheraton Hotel resulted in an exchange of cards, and an invitation for me to join a private lawyer coach networking group of which I was not previously aware. Since growing my referral network is one of my business development goals for this year, meeting a fellow coach with an up and running networking conference call is important to me, and would not have happened if I hadn’t helped start a casual conversation that morning.

I’ll bet the bus tour employee’s goals are related to recruiting and signing up as many riders as possible, but his bad attitude inspired me to tell my friends who were sending their families out on tours that day not to use that company.

How do you respond to chance encounters with the people whose paths you cross? You never know where your next client will come from.

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