As individuals, we often become amazed at the diverse and captivating conversations that can arise from meeting someone randomly. Every person possesses a unique talent, skill, or perspective to be shared and enjoyed by others. Reflecting on these conversations, one can marvel at how they begin, where they lead, and the nuggets of information or lessons learned. It is unnecessary to agree with every perspective presented to appreciate the benefits of the conversation. Often, the individual and conversation become even more attractive by inquiring about and attempting to understand the other person's perspective. We can all develop this habit and encourage others to try.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Lloydminster Agri-Visions trade show as a session speaker and vendor. Presenting to a larger audience was an excellent opportunity to develop public speaking skills and articulate responses during the question-and-answer portion of the session. I conversed with attendees during the event, including an intelligent gentleman who asked me questions about sell or hold recommendations. Although the market for these commodities was consolidating sideways with no clear trend, I did my best to explain this and invited him to continue the conversation at my booth. This led to a 45-minute discussion that went down several rabbit holes unrelated to grain marketing, revealing that he was neighbours with two of my university roommates. This experience is just one example of what I love most about the agriculture industry - the opportunities to engage with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives and discover common ground.
During another conversation, a gentleman inquired about my topic of discussion, and I could tell he was intelligent. I invited him to my booth, and we discussed grain marketing briefly before he shared stories of his and his wife's world travels, particularly their experiences in Rwanda and Cambodia and the genocides that took place in those countries. In another conversation, a gentleman shared stories of his father's World War II experience serving on airfields in the UK. These conversations remind us to appreciate the peace and stability we enjoy in our country.
I have found that making eye contact and exchanging pleasantries with people can open the door to a smile and a conversation. A friendly, slim, well-dressed rancher walked by my booth during one such encounter. We engaged in a conversation that eventually turned into a discussion of childhood and adult obesity.
Conversations with young people can be particularly insightful, as they offer fresh perspectives and new ideas. At the trade show, a young college-aged lady approached me, requesting to use the content of my presentation for her college essay. She shared that she markets her family farm's grain with her 85-year-old grandfather, who has had a DTN machine in his house for over 30 years. These types of interactions highlight the fascinating stories and unique experiences that people have to share.
In summary, these random encounters and conversations remind me of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" quote: "One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' was his response. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the cat, 'it doesn't matter.'" To me, this is what life is all about - meeting people, engaging in random conversations, going down rabbit holes, and seeing where it takes us. Everyone has a story to tell, and we have no idea what that could be.
People are interesting.