I just returned from a quick trip to Warsaw, where I delivered a keynote speech at a semi-annual sales conference sponsored by Nowoczesna Firma S.A. (Thanks a million to Magdalena Pielak, their Project manager. She did an awesome, awesome job.)
I left my home at 9:15 Saturday morning and arrived, after three flights (and three separate security checks), in Warsaw at 11:00 am local time on Sunday, 20 hours later. I’ve made one-day trips to Malaysia, England, Ireland, Thailand, etc. I can now add this to the list. These trips are always hard work.
I was amazed with Warsaw. I spent nearly five hours walking the city on Sunday. It’s energetic, modern, and friendly. Endless outdoor cafes, attention-grabbing architecture, and of course, quite a history.
Although I wasn’t there for very long, I did get to meet a number of Polish sales directors and business people. Do they have challenges? Sure. But they, as a business community, are quite determined to overcome those challenges and further establish their position in the EU. As part of my preparation for the event, I did a fair amount of research. Poland is actually in a very good place as compared to some of their more highly-visible EU counterparts. Plenty of opportunity there to leverage. And the Poles I met will leverage those opportunities. I’ll bet on it.
My talk was entitled Selling in Turbulent Times. I took the audience through what I know to be five of the selling challenges Polish companies are facing and then six proven strategies to overcome them. (See the photo.) Although there was simultaneous translation provided to the attendees, I noticed that few were wearing the earphone. I was surprised by how many people spoke English and how well they spoke it. You’d be right if you assumed I know not one work of Polish.
Early feedback suggests that my speech was very well received. But you and I know the real value of my content will be determined by business impact.
A few of the things I really liked about the trip:
- The Marriott Hotel where I stayed and where the conference was held. Clean, efficient, great food, great service, great room. I’ve been to a hundred Marriott conference hotels. This one ranks up there with the best.
- The airport. Under renovation, but efficient, and better than I expected. And it’s 20 minutes from downtown.
- The conference organizers, Nowoczesna Firma S.A. They could not have done a better job. (And did I mention Magdalena? Charming, efficient, cool under pressure, and shortly to give birth to twins!)
- Warsaw’s Old Town and New Town. When you get to Warsaw you have to walk through those areas of the city.
- My process for overcoming jet-lag on the way over to Europe worked again!
What could have been better:
- The geographically challenging trip. My fault for living where I live. Small price to pay, actually, but still 20 hours there and 26 hours home (including a short night at the Marriott at EWR).
- Lot Airlines business class. The condition of the seats on the 767 was nothing less than terrible. The food was passable at best. But the flight attendants were excellent.
- My process for overcoming jet-lag on the way back failed me (again).
Note: Writing a blog is interesting. People tell me they like the personal stories such as this one, and this one, and this one. They tell me to write more of them. But I’m always reluctant, since every time I write one of these I get a lot of unsubscribes from my blog feed. I guess some people are just interested in my content, but not me. I can handle it.