Turn Travel Snafus into Success

Tonight I returned from Toronto–a stop which didn’t match my original itinerary. My quick and easy international trip had morphed into a travel saga and, like many travelers nowadays, I had been redirected–several times. However, this travel snafu  had a silver lining–several, in fact.

First, I made lots of new contacts while waiting in Presidents Clubs and boarding areas, and while aboard various flights. My fellow travelers were businessmen from places as disparate as Lagos, Nigeria, Guadalajara, Mexico and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Some of these new acquaintances will simply remain contacts, while others may become referral sources or even clients.

Second, my changed itinerary gave me the chance to reconnect with some of my existing acquaintances. Unexpectedly landing in Toronto, I quickly emailed–and later dined with–one international lawyer friend, Lang Michener counsel Cyndee Todgham-Cherniak.  We swapped travel stories at dinner, agreeing that one perk of an international career is having friends no matter where you land. During my journey I also happened to run across and spend time chatting with former Baker Botts colleagues and various other attorneys. Renweing friendships during in person contact really helps in this virtual-communication world.

Business travel today can be arduous and delay-filled. Your fellow business travelers  may welcome friendly conversation as a respite from their boredom. One time I met a CEO of a public company under such circumstances; I was able to refer him to a lawyer friend of mine, and his company became one of her all time largest clients. She gratefully reminds me of this fact many years later.

Next time that you are waylaid, don’t just retreat to your Blackberry or Financial Times.  Instead, try to connect with some fellow business travelers; you could discover a silver lining to your plight.

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