By Eric Hodgdon

A few days ago, I was working a trade show in Orlando, Florida for our company. In the afternoon on the last day of the show, traffic to our booth was slow. So, I took a moment to check my email.

A gentleman approached and extended his hand to shake. Turns out that this gentleman, John, is an executive with a highly-respected hospital system in the US. When visiting our Boston office, he typically has high level meetings with our executive staff. Every time I see John, I always approach him and shake his hand. He is always friendly and very personable. Today, he was simply returning the favor.

I asked him about his visit to this trade show, and he said it had been everything he expected. I shared with John my excitement about current events and how much his company has grown over the years. He agreed. I asked him how he got started healthcare. He told me a story about how he really wanted to go into radio. After college, when that didn’t pan out for him, a chance interview led him into healthcare. And, it was just the navigation of this career that led him to this role at his current company.

I then shared my story about beginning my career in IT. It was a chance visit from my father and his push to call a company to schedule subsequent connective interview that ultimately put me on my career path. In the end, I am very passionate about technology. He agreed about how passion has served his career too.

The conversation then turned towards current life events for both of us. I shared with him that I’m in the process of becoming a public speaker and writing a book on how to overcome loss. I shared with him the loss of my daughter Zoi, and that when things happen in life and knock you down, you rely on your inner strength to get back up, every time. John then shared with me something very personal about his family. Regardless of our roles in our respective companies, we created a bond and connected on a deeper level that day. I was grateful for our conversation and he gave the impression he was too.

We create true relationships and meaningful connections when we take the time to share stories versus simply exchanging pleasantries. Before we said our final goodbyes, a half an hour later, I offered support to him anytime he felt the need to talk – father to father. He then, in turn reciprocated, and gave me some much-appreciated advice about writing my book. That day, John and I made an important connection because we took the time to talk openly; what an amazing experience!

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