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In-person interaction is irreplaceable. We can do business and connect with clients online, but if the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s that technology has its limits. Only in-person interaction can provide the deep levels of communication and relationship-building we all crave — as humans and as business owners.
That is, after all, one reason why entrepreneurs host live events such as speaking engagements, workshops, conferences, masterminds and retreats. These events provide the opportunity to connect with clients face-to-face, learn more about their needs, strengthen relationships and cement brand loyalty.
Before the world entered into a period of social distancing, larger events often received all the glory. Bigger is always better, right? Or so the thought goes. Except that once this crisis is over, your clients are going to be craving human interaction and deeper relationships like never before.
In addition, many businesses are going to start offering live events again around the same time. This means people are going to have plenty of options. So what can you do to stand out from the crowd? How can you truly meet your clients’ desire for connection and relationship while also breathing new life into your business?
Answer: Host retreats.
Retreats will give you an edge for three very important reasons. (Reasons that are valid whether you happen to be reading this during or after the current crisis.)
1. Retreats cultivate deeper relationships
The smaller the group size, the easier it is for attendees to connect and build a tighter community. It also means that, as the host, you’re able to spend a fair amount of time connecting with people one-on-one
In addition, an intimate gathering more naturally allows for the things that cultivate strong connections, such as sharing a meal, creating random memories or having organic conversations about personal and business life.
Related: How to Tap Into Community and Drive Engagement With Live Experiences
2. Retreats offer a more relaxed pace
One of the biggest misconceptions in the event planning space — not to mention American culture in general — is that a jam-packed schedule equals more value. In other words, attendees need to be constantly busy. Otherwise, they’re not receiving adequate value for their money.
If there was ever a time to toss out that line of thinking, it’s after a global crisis. People are going to want fun, value-packed experiences, but not stressful ones.
Retreats, unlike larger events, inherently invoke the sense of a more relaxed atmosphere. As such, when it comes to planning the schedule, it’s only natural to include items such as downtime. Downtime allows attendees to think on and absorb what they’re learning; connect and build relationships (a main reason they’re attending); and simply enjoy themselves.
Related: 5 Stress-Relieving Daily Habits for Entrepreneurs
3. Retreats are more brand-aligned and creative
Live events are a potent marketing tool. The only one, in fact, where you’re actually bringing your brand to life in 3D. This means that your events need to be aligned with your brand in the most effective way possible.
Large-scale events, by nature, only allow for a certain level of flexibility or creativity. However, a retreat can be more easily geared towards the aesthetics, vibe and beliefs of both your brand and your tribe.
This means that, at the same time that you’re strengthening client relationships, you’re providing an experience that makes attendees feel as if they’ve actually stepped into your brand. For example, instead of offering “me too” or cookie-cutter activities, you can include ones that are highly creative and custom to your brand.
Related: 3 Keys to a Great Event That Epitomizes Your Brand
Lastly, keep in mind that hosting a retreat that includes these key items means that you’re offering a premium experience. One-on-one time with you (the expert); the opportunity to build deep relationships with fellow attendees; and a unique, creative, and fun experience that allows for downtime and TLC…these are all things that provide amazing value.