Getting to know you…

What do the following people have in common? A guitarist in an “Atmospheric Doom Metal” band, a developing wine maker who just got back from Argentina and Spain, and a Montreal snow boarder living in LA?  The answer later in this post.

Projects are moving from planning into execution phase, so we’re going to be spending a lot of time out of the office over the next few weeks. Not that we’re complaining; as talking to people and helping our customers understand their customers is what pays the bills.

Summer is a great time to travel in Canada!  Generally the weather is very nice, and delays are few and far between.  People seem to be happier, and interpersonal communication is at a zenith!

Megann and I have a great deal of respect for those people we deal with at the airlines, hotels and restaurants we frequent.  Being on the frontline of customer service is a difficult job, at times, and we are very appreciative of those who seem to like their jobs.  Their enthusiasm for their job makes a huge difference when you’ve been away from home for a few days, you’re at the end of a long day, and they have to tell you that they’re out of your favourite entrée.

Back to our unlikely trio; they are all present or former staff at a small hotel in Montreal, Le Saint-Sulpice, where we normally stay when we’re in town.  It’s a boutique hotel located in Old Montreal in the shadows of the Basilica Notre-Dame (

We’ve gotten to know many of the staff over the last few years, and have even learned a bit about their personal lives.  We’ve seen our favourite waiter, the snow boarder, meet a young lady in the movie business, fall in love and move to LA to be with her.  Another, who we like very much, has grown to be a respected and knowledgeable presence in the wine business, and could be destined for much greater things.  We rely on his expertise for our choices from the extensive wine list at the hotel restaurant.  Our service industry trio is filled out by a very respectful young man who has a (not so) secret life as the guitarist in Longing For Dawn (, an Atmospheric Doom Metal band!  It’s not my first choice for listening pleasure, but he has great enthusiasm for it and he and his band mates are starting to have some international success.

By now you’re saying “What’s the point?”  OK, I’ll wrap it up.

When you are transacting with other humans it’s important to remember the following:

  1. Don’t be afraid to develop relationships with those people you interact with on a regular basis.  Do you know why your dry cleaner started their business?
  2. We’re all human.  Each of us, hopefully, has a life outside of work.  Ask about something not related to work.  “So what do you like to do when you’re not…” is a good start.
  3. Enthusiasm is contagious.  Each of these three impressed us with their dedication to making our stay a positive experience.  Start your interaction with a positive word.
  4. Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Our Doom Metal guitarist looks like the young man you’d take home to mother; and in fact he is.  If you saw him first as his alter ago you might not think so!

Enjoy this summer, no matter where you spend it!

Steve and Megann



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