It was November 2013…a large Orlando hotel conference room was packed with friendly faces. My best customers, students and partners had come from around the world at my invitation for a jam packed weekend of learning and growing together. There was no denying I was visibly nervous and you could tell I had barely slept the night before. In fact, I had never done anything like what I was about to do. Over 350 friendly faces were watching me step into a role I wasn’t yet convinced I was ready for.
Surely there must have been some doubt in the room as we started the event. Would it all be worth it?
I can count on one hand the times I’ve been more nervous in my life. I’ve been on stage in front of audiences before, but never anything quite like my first CES event where every person in the crowd was there because I had asked them to come see what my team and I had planned. Each attendee had decided to spend their money, get on an airplane or drive long distances, leave their families and routines in order to be there.
No pressure, right?
Let’s skip to the end of the story:
You can ask literally ANYONE who was there. It was powerful.
In order to get the true sentiments of those who attended we anonymously asked (via poll) all who attended a couple simple questions.
We asked “Should we do this again?” and, “Would you come back?”
The responses poured in – virtually 100% “YES”.
We listened -and we got a bigger room for our September 2014 CES event. Tickets sold out in under a day months in advance of the event. I didn’t even send the invite to my full mailing list before it was sold out. I’m still in shock.
None of us should be surprised at the power of face to face gatherings though – it’s actually a biblical concept.
I’ve learned recently that ancient Jewish wisdom has a concept that explains the value of live (face to face) interaction as opposed to the alternatives of written, phone calls or even live video chat. I learned of this concept from my favorite Jewish author Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In the Hebrew language, the word for “face” and the word for “inside” are the same word. The significance of these overlapping words is simply this:
You can’t tell what’s really going on inside someone until you see them in person – or face to face. With over 50 facial muscles, we communicate incredible amounts of information very quickly when meeting others. This helps us truly decide who we can and can’t trust, who we want to get to know better and who to avoid.
You can’t duplicate this with a phone call, an email or even an online chat.
Here are just some of the things I saw happen in front of my eyes at CES 2013 that NEVER would have happened otherwise:
And that’s not even listing the incredible content, ideas and strategies that were shared openly by all the entire time – with NO big pitches for products to purchase.
The September 2014 event is sold out, so this isn’t a ploy to sell you a ticket (although you can get the next best thing which is full access to all of CES via online live stream. It’s on sale until Aug 1st here):
Instead, I want to reinforce the fact that there’s no replacing face to face – even in our age of virtual meetings, email and live streaming. If you aren’t “getting out” and physically surrounding yourself with real people who encourage and inspire you, then you are missing out on some of the greatest energy boosting opportunities you’ll ever experience. Come see the faces of my partners, students and readers if you get a chance. You’ll see we are on a mission and we want you to join us.