I RECENTLY HAD the opportunity to emcee the annual meeting of the Insurance Conference Planners Association in Seattle and got to meet many of you. For those of you who did not make it to the conference, let me just say that you missed a lot. Here are my random musings and recollections of that momentous event.

The conference took place in Seattle, located on the shores of Puget Sound…which, ironically, does not make any sound at all. Conventional wisdom tells us that it rains all the time in Seattle, but you wouldn't know it by the citizens there. All of the people I saw seemed to have a healthy tan about them. I was later informed that the color came not from the sun, but was just rust.

Seattle is famous for its coffee. Residents consume jugs full of java because it is available on every street corner in the city. Coffee vendors sell everything from espresso (coffee served very quickly) to lattes (coffee and milk that costs a “latte” money). The entire city is caffeinated to the max, and I tried my best to keep up with them. The end result was that I walked around buzzing like a cheap TV.

Even though I consumed coffee all day, I did not have a problem falling asleep at night because our host hotel was the Westin Seattle, and Westin properties are famous for their “Heavenly Beds.” The comfort level of these beds is awesome. Then I ventured into the Heavenly Bathroom, where I was greeted by the Heavenly Shower with TWO adjustable showerheads. Now all the Westin has to do is to extend the “Heavenly” concept beyond the bed and bath to things like the Heavenly Mini-Bar (where everything costs a nickel), and the Heavenly Wake-Up Call (one call wakes you up, makes the coffee, and has Heather Locklear waiting for you in the Heavenly Shower).

The conference would have been perfect if it weren't for all of the darn food. Meals were served approximately every half hour, with snacks provided in between to ease the hunger. Fortunately, as I mentioned, I started each day with a gallon or two of coffee, which gave me the shakes by 10 a.m., so I was actually exercising while I ate.

Each evening we were treated to a theme party. My favorite was at the Experience Music Project interactive museum, where everyone was encouraged to attend dressed as their favorite rock-and-roll star. The costumes were both creative and delightfully executed. The most original belonged to the person who was covered in Silly Putty. When I asked what this costume was supposed to be, I was told that he was dressed like Michael Jackson's nose. Later I saw someone dangling this guy off the top of the Space Needle.

I hope everyone who attended the ICPA conference had as good a time as I did. Oh yeah, the meetings were good too.

Dale Irvin is a professional speaker, a member of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, and a popular meeting emcee for insurance organizations such as the Million Dollar Round Table. Dale's clients have said, “What Billy Crystal brings to the Academy Awards, you brought to our meeting.” For a good time, visit www.daleirvin.com. For booking availability, call Ruth Levine at Speak Inc., (858) 457-9880.