It was 2018 and I was in Nashville attending my first IASA event. I was somewhat sweaty from helping to break down our exhibitor booth and I was sitting in this spectacular atrium of the hotel and convention center that held the event.
I was feeling that good kind of tired.
It had been Gain’s first big conference and we had been able to introduce ourselves and show off our Notes solution. After some months of working to connect with people on the phone and via email while they were in their office, there was a different dynamic when they were out of their office. They had more time to chat, and they were more open to hearing about what we were doing.
All of the sudden, a woman sat down by me. I could see from her badge that she was attending the conference, so we started talking. Turns out she was involved in drafting and reviewing the Notes, and she wasn’t particularly happy with how the software she was using handled that part of the filing. She was thinking about going into the hall and giving them an earful about it.
I listened, somewhat amazed that she was giving me all this information without me having to ask for it. A couple of the issues she listed off were exactly the issues that our software solved, but I didn’t interrupt her.
Maybe I was different when I was out of my office. If we were having this conversation on the phone, I probably would have asked for the meeting upon hearing she worked on the Notes, but in that moment, I listened to her instead.
As she started to slow down, I told her that the exhibition hall was closed and that her vendor had likely packed up their booth already. She nodded and we exchanged pleasantries, agreeing it was nice to talk with one another, but she had to get to a CPE session and I had to catch a flight back to Des Moines.
I didn’t need to write down either her name or her company’s name, our conversation cemented that information in my memory. Listening to her must have had some effect, when I called her after the conference, she remembered me and we set up a meeting.
I’m excited for IASA Xchange in Minneapolis this coming weekend. It will be my fourth time attending this event. The speakers always provide information and inspiration in equal measure, the sessions always provide meaningful content, and the organization provides ample opportunities for companies like ours to connect with insurance accounting professionals.
Most of all, I’m excited by the random connections that occur at this event. You never know who you might see at a meal break, who you’ll bump into at the reception, or who you’ll sit next to at a session. With that different dynamic, where no one is in their office, the serendipity of these connections adds meaning to the relationships being built there.