Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Last Call: Time To Head Home

After an exceedingly long night, I woke up an hour early to begin my last day in Atlanta. While the show seemed to be winding down a bit, the day was packed from end to end with meetings and potential meetings. With little sleep the past three nights I was at the point of nearly staggering to our morning breakfast meeting. But sometimes you just have to suck it up and make it seem like you just slept for ten hours and you are fully awake and rearing to go for a new day.

I made it to the restaurant in the hotel lobby right on schedule and immediately found a couple of people to reconnect with from Monday. While I am sure they are pleasant individuals anyway, the editors were very friendly and greeted me more like a long lost friend than simply a PR person who set up a meeting earlier in the week. This is the kind of meeting that really motivates me to go back to their publication with great stories. You can be sure that I will be talking with them again in the near future.

The meeting was, to say the least, productive and could potentially lead to many more trips down to the Atlanta area over the next year. Not sure how my wife will feel about this but it is a darn good business opportunity and I am glad that I was able to be a part of the initial conversation. After breakfast, my colleague and I headed back to our rooms, packed our bags, and dropped them off at the front desk so that we could pick them up later in the afternoon when we were finally ready to begin the journey back home.

We got back to the show floor just as the doors were being opened and it didn’t take long before we were pulled aside to speak with a few more reporters and analysts that decided to stop by this morning. This was the final push that put the event over the top and what finally allowed me to check this off as a success in my own mind. The total finally got into the double digits and met he expectations that have been constantly been running like a banner in Times Square in the forefront of my mind. Even though we were only on the floor for a little over two hours, it was well worth putting that extra effort in to the morning.

While all of this is happening, Classroom Day was in full swing as multiple groups made their way around the convention center speaking to those booths that decided to participate, including ours. When these high school students come around you can't help but wonder if years from now they will be at this very same show working for one of the companies. If that is the case, I hope that their stop at our booth played some small role in their life trajectory. Who knows, if could happen.

From the show room floor we made our way back to the hotel and into another meeting. This time we were meeting with an existing client that, while keeping us a little extra busy as of late, she has been a great person to work with and one that completely understands what we do (not everyone understands PR). Being able to meet the client does add another dimension of motivation when it comes to the daily grind that can sometime try to get the best of us. Knowing the person behind the projects makes you push a little harder and a little longer.   

After the lunch meeting we retrieved our bags, got in a cab, and returned to the chaos of the airport. We arrived a little earlier than we both prefer but it allowed us to take our time and not rush for the first time all week. After a slight delay that left my yawning in the US Airways waiting area, we boarded the small plane and took off knowing that the turbulence upon arrival was going to make this an interesting flight. Surprisingly, the landing in the rain was uneventful as my stomach decided to relax for once and allowed me to feel human as we disembarked from the cabin.

By the time we got to baggage claim my wife was already well on her way to pick me up and it wasn’t long before my colleague and I officially concluded our productive trip in high spirits and I was in the car on my way back to the apartment. Today I woke up in Georgia and went to bed back home in Pennsylvania. Tomorrow things will return to normal as my routine resumes with an early wake up and commute to the office. The difference being that now is the time to follow up on everything from this week rather than the past two weeks which has been focused on prep.

Weeks like this may be the most tiring part of my job but it is also part of what I love about what I do for a living. It is a time when I work hard without working. While I am sure there is a definition or at least a more concise way of expressing this sentiment but what really defines it is the experience which can’t really be conveyed accurately in a way that would be universally understood. It’s just one of those things that you know when you are in the middle of it.