With technology driving our businesses for most of 2020 and half of 2021, it is now time to slowly phase out of our virtual meetings, be in the same room with our customers and colleagues, and look them in the eyes. You will be glad you did, and there is no doubt that it will be good for your business.

This summer I had the privilege of going to The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas. After 15 months of being cooped up at home and being Zoomed out, I underestimated the impact going to a convention would have on me. This wasn’t my first trip was since the pandemic began, but certainly the most meaningful. In March 2021, I flew to Denver so that I could be in a studio for a virtual meeting our organization, Fuse Alliance, put on in lieu of a live meeting, and I recently went to Georgia to visit some of our key suppliers in Dalton. However these trips did not compare to walking around a trade show hall, shaking hands, and happily hugging people I had not seen in more than a year. This was the first convention I attended since our last live Fuse event, which took place in Palm Desert in March 2020, just one week before California shut down.

Even though TISE 2021 was a much smaller footprint than previous years with about 20 percent of the attendance, it was great to be able to get back to some sort of normalcy. There is no doubt that relationships are the key to our business and face to face encounters build relationships.

I was out and about quite a bit during the pandemic but most of my trips were local, spending time with friends and family. Branching out and seeing suppliers and Fuse members who I had seen only on a laptop screen over the past several months made all the difference in the world! It was so liberating.

I could sense that being a creature of habit, it had become quite easy to stay home in my new comfort zone, but the reality for me was that I had to push myself to get back into my old groove; I’m very glad that I did, and you will be, too.