Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Open Sesame: I'm from Canada

Washington DC, the seat of the government of the United States of America.
I was overwhelmed by the importance of this city and it's inhabitants. A strange place to realize the power of being Canadian.

Attending a convention, I arrived a few days early to enjoy the city and make some business contacts. As a professional speaker I thought I would just drop in to say hello to some of the association offices. There are over 1,000 in Washington and many of them hire speakers for their conferences and seminars.

Not sure of my schedule I did not prearrange meetings nor in most cases even have a contact name. I showed the limousine driver the list of addresses and told him to drive. I was surprised to discover that you could not simply walk into an office building in Washington. Each lobby was guarded by a security guard that screened all visitors. And even if I could sneak by the front desk there were no index boards in the lobby to tell me which floor my prospect was on.
The first two stops I had a contact name to gain entrance. But on the next stop I walked up to the guard and was stymied when he asked me, "Who are you here to see?" I stammered, "I don't know, but I am from Canada." Suddenly his face lit up, "From Canada? Let me find someone to see you." He placed a phone call and moments later someone appeared to greet me and introduce me around. "This is George Torok and he is visiting from Canada." Wow, I felt like royalty. I used this same introduction for the rest of the day and it worked like a charm every time.

At the end of the day I felt pretty good about myself, about Washington and about being Canadian.

George Torok
Business In Motion

No comments: