4 Things I Learnt In Chicago

By July 26, 2010 Peeks No Comments

Just arrived back from the ACT Enrollment Planner’s Conference in Chicago and I’m happy to be home. I didn’t have much free time to enjoy the sites the wind dances around, the sounds the wind moves, or the smells the wind carries, but I did manage to make a couple new friends and maybe even a business relationship.

I also learned a thing, or four.

1. I’m not a salesman (yet)
Put me in a room full of potential clients during a social and I’ll contently play the wallflower – Miller Light in-hand, of course. I haven’t mastered the uninvited “hello, my name is…” it often requires to spark a stranger conversation. Thursday evening, I played my part.

After shopping Nordstrom’s anniversary sale and borrowing some cologne from Boss, I made my way to the sixty-minute reception for attendees of the conference. By request, I was handed a Miller Lite. By default, I tipped the server and proceeded to weave through the crowd; catching glances from unfamiliar faces and kindly exchanging smiles.

Spoke briefly to a current client and was invited to dinner – I’m not eating alone like last year! Circled back to the starting line, a post at the periphery of the room, and placed my right shoulder against it, just enough to reduce the weight my feet had been walking all over the city the past two days.

After a few minutes and four-to-five ounces, I was approached by a young woman who had attended our session earlier that day – “2010 – Effectively Communicating To Prospects Within Budget”. Compliments about the session seemed inviting, so I continued the conversation at her table with several of her co-workers.

I shared my thoughts on some current smartphones, the weather and even managed to get some narrative about my job. Within moments, I (my company) was invited to visit their Kentucky campus to present our services. But, I’m not a salesman. Yet.

2. Not all Chicago-style pizzas are made the same
At dinner that same evening, I refrained from ordering a Chicago-style pizza (or, at least the type of Chicago-style pizza I had last year) and opted for thin-crust, (standard pizza anywhere else). Turns out Giordano’s doesn’t have one inch of pizza sauce on top of the pie. Kinda looked good, but I enjoyed my jalapeƱo and mushroom just the same.

Kindly, the client treated me to dinner, so I walked with them back to their hotel, exchanging handshakes and wishes of safe travel before heading back to my room for the evening.

3. Movie sets stop traffic
Everyone walking past the set of Transformers 3 was stopping to take pictures and sneak a peek at Hollywood – including me. There were police everywhere and T3 even had it’s own “police”…their line was “please keep moving, people”. Very well executed.

On a serious note, it was awesome being that close to the action. There were three forty-five second intervals that included heavy gunfire, explosions, smoke, low-flying helicopters and chaos. Then, I took a bit of my mediocre salad and saw Bumblebee (and three other Transformers vehicles) drive by.

4. I’m still a kid at heart
I spent all three cab rides in Chicago with my nose and eyes pressed against the window staring outward. During the day, the buildings, architecture and sidewalk entertainment caught my eyes – especially the badass (sprinkled with sarcasm) rollerskating in a figure eight in a pair of Umbros.

At night, I was transported down a street that ran parallel to Lake Michigan, where I watched the intermittent lights of a far away thunderstorm. The serenity I experienced while watching awesome weather was interrupted by an unforgettable rendition of a Hindu Jay Sean’s Down, set to the background music of radio squelch and noises from the undeniably high-performance, well-maintained cab we were riding in.

Left me looking forward to my next learning experience.

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