How do you connect with Someone?
Just ask the Irish
Life couldn’t have been better. The flight had been on time, the sun was shining and I was about to explore a city I’d only been to once before. However, as I approached the passport officer my positivity was briefly superseded by that familiar feeling of self-consciousness. I’ve never quite understood why, having landed at hundreds of airports over the years, I generally begin to feel, well, just a little bit guilty as I present my passport to border control. Maybe it is that one time in Canada when, in my early 20s I was questioned for what seemed like hours. They couldn’t understand why someone of my age would be travelling in business-class without any check-in luggage, (the answer was that I’d won a competition but that’s another story). Anyway, I’ve never quite recovered and therefore almost fell over with surprise at what happened next.
“Good afternoon Mr Bradshaw” the cheery officer beamed as he examined the passport “ and what brings you here?”
The response to my brief explanation that I was speaking at a conference was as almost astonishing to me
“Well you have a great time here. Oh and by the way, I love your suit”.
If tourist authorities around the world could just ensure their border control staff treated people in this way I think the results would be staggering. I almost bounced into the arrivals hall and didn’t stop smiling for my whole 3 days experience. And the sign on the building that I left as I hailed a taxi?
‘Welcome to Dublin Airport’.
Yes, if there is one behavioural trait, one characteristic that defines the Irish is must be their friendliness and hospitality. I cannot think of another county that has managed to weave such a positive perspective into the national identity, I’m sure marketing agencies would pay millions to create such a perceived link between their customers’ brands and the emotional reaction of the consumer. But of course what the Irish have done hasn’t been achieved through market research and clever advertising. It has slowly been formed over hundreds if not thousands of years as they have not only welcomed people to their land but also settled far and wide across the globe too.
But it the former of these 2 things that Connect 17 will be focusing on and that I briefly want to mention. I had the pleasure of speaking at 2016’s inaugural event and witnessed first-hand not only the fantastic Irish hospitality that I refer to but also the passion from those who were showcasing the venues, destination and organisational solutions to the domestic and international audience of buyers who attended. The noise, the energy, the palpable pride in what the island of Ireland (and I mean the whole island) can offer organisers of congresses, meetings and business events was incredible.
I really hope you’ll find time in your diary to visit this year, a huge amount of effort has gone into making the event a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for inspiration when bringing a business event to the Emerald Isle – just don’t forget to wear your best suit!