In 2007, I was living in a bubble.

It had been one year since I built my 6-figure online business and quit my job as a personal trainer.

And during that year, I followed the exact same “introverted routine” almost every day of the week.

Wake up at 7:30. Walk ‘Ol Bally the Dog. Check my email. Write an email for my readers. Go to the gym. Create content and products. Answer emails. Walk Bally again. Have dinner and drinks with my girlfriend.

It was an easy and predictable life filled with bad habits…and I was starting to plateau.

The solution to my challenges terrified me.

Go to a live event, expand my network, and learn from others.

Spending time with strangers? Asking for help and setting aside my ego? Spending a Saturday night somewhere other than my couch?

Yikes!

I wanted so badly to take the easy out and keep coasting…But I put on my big boy pants (putting on pants of any kind at that point in my life was a massive accomplishment–I basically lived in gym shorts and a T-shirt) and flew to Washington D.C. for “Underground Online” with my soon-to-be mentor, Yanik Silver.

There’s no hyperbole when I say that event transformed my life.

The people I met there–the famed copywriter Jon Benson, the supplement company mogul Josh Bezoni, the guru Yanik Silver, and the world’s best event planner Heather Krueger–remain dear friends to this day. 

The idea, from Yanik, of building my business around a “One Million Person Transformation Mission” galvanized my readers to take action, invest more in my courses, enter my contest, change their lives, and watch my YouTube videos over 13 million times (and counting).

“I did it. I did it! And I did it sober, too!” I thought to myself.

Mr. Ballantyne the previously broke, struggling, binge drinking farm boy with crippling social anxiety, went to D.C. and won!

That event taught me one of the most important lessons of my entire career.

Live events change lives.

But…Only if you do them right and make the most of the experience.

In today’s guide, I’m going to teach you exactly how to make the most of live events to increase your income, impact, and influence.

I’ll teach you how to max out your time at seminars, masterminds, and retreats so that you can accelerate your growth and achieve your goals 10X faster.

1. Show Up with a Plan to Make the Most Out of the Experience

When I first started going to events, I never showed up with a plan.

I would hide in the back row, “hoping” that the right connections, information, and lessons would magically fall into my lap. I would avoid the networking meals, keep my questions to myself, and try to stay as far under the radar as possible.

Needless to say, my introversion and failure to plan cost me big time.

I probably wasted more than $75,000 on events where I wasn’t fully engaged, present, or prepared.

Today, it’s a completely different story.

When I go to an event, I have a crystal clear plan for…

  • How I’m going to add value to the other attendees.
  • How I can be more present during presentations
  • Who I want to connect with.
  • Who I want to connect with someone else.
  • The top 3 challenges I’m facing and how I believe the event can help me solve them.
  • How I’m going to unwind after the event.
  • How I’m going to implement what I’ve learned and take rapid action.

And the difference is day and night.

When I go to an event today, I GO to the event. No hiding, no BS. I know exactly what I want out of the event and, because I plan in advance, I tend to get it.

Before you go to your next live event, spend 60-90 minutes creating a detailed plan for what you want to give to and get from the event and the people in attendance. Answer all of the questions I listed above and identify your #1 objective while you’re there.

Are you trying to find a new superstar employee who can help take you and your business to the next level?

Do you need to shore up the gaps in your lead generation strategy and marketing plan?

Are you feeling burned out and overwhelmed and looking for ways to reduce your workload while making more?

When you show up with a plan you will get 10X more value from your investment and change your life 10X faster.

2. Go with an Open Heart and Open Mind

To make the most of live events–both for conversations and presentations–you must show up with an open mind and open heart.

One of the biggest mistakes I see attendees at my events making is to show up to with a closed mind.

They say, “I already know that” (the four most dangerous words in the English language), and miss out on a ton of amazing opportunities because they aren’t willing to be humble and keep a beginner’s mind.

Listen…

You never know when someone or something will change your life.

You might not care about the specific topic on which a speaker is presenting…but they could deliver one big idea that completely changes the game for you in a different area.

You might meet someone whose expertise is completely unrelated to your goal or business…but they change your life by connecting you with someone in their network.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

So show up with a plan, yes.

But also show up with an open mind, open heart, and a willingness to learn, be humble and embrace unexpected opportunities when they present themselves.

3. K.I.S.S. & Listen 

Whenever you meet new people at live events, remember two rules.

  1. Keep it [your introduction] Short & Simple
  2. Listen and ask questions 2X more than you speak about yourself

Before you go to your next event, you should spend a few minutes creating your 15-second “USP” or unique selling proposition.

This is your personal elevator pitch, a concise explanation of what you do, who you help, and what you offer.

For example, mine is, “I’m a coach, author, and entrepreneur who helps busy high-performers double their income while working less.”

Then, once you’ve introduced yourself, make it all about the other person.

Express real interest, listen to what they have to say, engage with them and be fully present.

As the old saying goes, “If you want to be more interesting, start by being more interested.”

Connect with the people you meet on the deepest level possible. Be interested in their goals, challenges, and aspirations. And, more importantly, look for unique ways that you can provide value to that person throughout the event.

Constantly try to provide value to others and it will come back to you in big ways.

4. Have the Courage to Say “Hi” (And the Strength to Say”Bye”)

I have an embarrassing confession to make…

When I first started going to live events, I was so stuck in my “Introvert Box” that I would always ask for a hotel room on the first floor.

I did this for two reasons.

The first was so I never had to risk talking with a stranger in an elevator (my second biggest fear at the time).

And the second was so I would have an easy escape route when the presentations were over and the networking portion of the event began.

I would sit at the back of the event and then sprint to my hotel room the second the speaker left the stage because I was terrified to talk to strangers.

Today, I’ve learned that people won’t bite (you normally have to pay extra for that) and there is no reason to be afraid of saying “Hello”.

At most business/personal-development focused events, the other people who are attending want to see you succeed. They want to help out, add value, and work together to create amazing results.

Great people want to meet other great people.

So be bold and make the first move. Say “Hello”. Introduce yourself to at least ten new people every time you go to an event.

You never know when you’ll meet the one person who helps you transform your life and business forever.

BUT…

As you start expanding your network, you need to remember that some conversations will be bad.

You won’t connect well with everyone you meet and you need to have an “escape plan” to get out of bad conversations so you can make the most of your time.

5. Listen to Everything (But Don’t Implement Everything)

One of my biggest pet peeves at my annual Perfect Life Retreat is when I see someone taking pages and pages of notes.

I know this might sound counterintuitive and you’re probably thinking, “But Craig…don’t you want people to be engaged?”

And the answer is “Yes!”

But… More than engagement, I want transformation.

And transformation is only possible when you take massive and immediate action on the right ideas.

Listen, you will never take action on 40-pages of notes.

And you don’t need to.

It only takes one big idea or strategy to change your life.

When you go to live events, show up with a plan and get crystal clear clarity on the most important thing you want to learn. Think of yourself like a sniper, honing in on your #1 target and ruthlessly going after it.

Jot down the 3 BIG ideas you believe have the power to change your life, but don’t get lost in the noise.

6. Take Rapid Action, Be Genuine, and Follow Up

Whenever you come back from a live event or retreat, schedule at least two days of “buffer time” where you can synthesize your new ideas, update your strategies, and immediately take action on what you’ve learned.

You’ll have dozens of new ideas, strategies, and tactics you want to try out and you need to make time to go through all of your intel and start taking action on what you’ve learned.

During this time, be sure to follow up and connect with everyone from the event who impacted you.

Be genuine, be real, and be different.

Find ways to add value after the event has ended (like sending resources, making connections, giving feedback on a project, etc).

Write out “Thank You’s” to the speakers and share the specific way that they impacted you and (more importantly) what you’re going to do about it.

Use this time to set yourself apart by adding value and immediately following up with the new connections you made.

If you will do this, I promise you will get 10X the return on your investment.

7. Then Pay It Forward

Finally, after you’ve attended dozens of events and changed your life as a result, it’s time to pay it forward and help others.

Make a point to introduce yourself to the wallflowers the next time you’re at an event.

Host your own events and bring together the best in your industry to help other people. Become a speaker at events you used to attend.

Go get results in your life and business and go all in until you become the expert and change lives with your live events.

Conclusion: Live Events Change Lives

If you’re ready to take your life and business to the next level, nothing will help you move faster than attending live events.

And, if you want to come out for the best event of the year, then I want to invite you to my upcoming Perfect Life Retreat, this November 8-9th in Sunny San Diego.

We have some amazing guest speakers (including Bedros Keuilina, Sharan Srivatsaa, and Jason Capital) and more than 300+ other high performing entrepreneurs for you to connect with.

I promise you, if you’ll show up and take action on the 7 steps I just shared, you will walk away from this event with at least one life-changing connection or strategy.

Just click here to learn more and secure your ticket.

I can’t wait to see you there.

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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