As I was waiting for a taxi outside the Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, I saw someone I had worked with in England who I hadn’t seen in six years.
It was one of those times when you know a person’s face but you don’t instantly make the connection because he or she is out of context. Keith was standing in front of a massive marble entryway that was 5,500 kilometres away from where we had worked together. Definitely out of context.
Seconds later we both made the connection and said hello. We laughed at the coincidence of seeing each other in Dubai after so long. What were the chances? We caught up on work and family and agreed to catch up when we got back to our respective homes.
This isn’t the first time I have seen a former colleague or friend in a different location. When I tried to recall other examples I realized it has happens more often than I would have thought.
They have all been good experiences that have gone by too quickly. Invariably, memories of the time I knew the person flood my mind. These scenes become distractions to our conversation and before I know it we have said good-bye. Typically, I think of a question I would have liked to ask if I had been prepared for the our meeting.
I have decided that I will be prepared for the next time this happens. I will:
- Ask them how they are doing – both personally and professionally
- Share how I am doing
- Update them on mutual acquaintances
- Ask if there is anything I can do to help them
- Ensure we are connected through LinkedIn
- Honour what I say I will do quickly
I have been thinking of my conversation with Keith since it happened. I am definitely sending him a note this weekend.