Connection trumped networking. Friends finally meeting face to face. A relaxed, generous, raucous crowd.   Mike Kim’s Influence & Impact event felt more like a reunion.

Let me take you back to Tuesday at 4:15 in the afternoon when Mike closed the event. He graciously thanked the stellar speakers, gave kudos to his team, and special recognition to his wife.

Mike thanked us for being there and shared how thrilled he was to have us – specifically his friends from all walks of life; people who had impacted him – all together in one place. His intent for hosting the event was for us to connect and share the wealth of wisdom and talent he saw in each of us. Watching it unfold made Influence & Impact a success in his eyes.

A spontaneous standing ovation broke out, filled with gratitude for our host.  But what happened next is remarkable.  Everyone lingered.  Clearly, we didn’t want to leave.  Over the past few days the event became a gathering of friends.

Connection over Networking

The sounds of influence, the ripples of impact, grown during the deliberately ample in-between times, filled the room. The event was officially over, but the room was buzzing.

Rich and authentic interactions, connection of a community, conversations of longtime friends, when in reality, some of us had just met one another.

The common thread…?

We all knew and trusted Mike.

His delight in having us all together, his repeatedly vouching for us created an atmosphere laden with generosity, unguarded conversations, and a desire to serve, yielding a unique and unforgettable event.

I’ve attended countless events, even hosted my own, but the atmosphere of Influence and Impact was unique.  I’ve pondered what made the difference. Two specific elements created a level playing field and opened the door to genuine connections.

Difference Makers:

#1. Mike. 

“These are folks I work with, am friends with, people I trust who have shaped my thinking,” Mike stated multiple times throughout the event. “Everyone you need to take your business to the next level is in this room.  I’m so excited my friends from different circles get to meet each other and connect.”

This set the stage for relaxed and authentic engagement rather than the often tense and frantic awkward “Whom do I talk to?” mindset so prevalent at events. Everyone was important.

Mike’s friends and colleagues are a stellar crowd of folks.

#2. The actual people in the room.

The attendees were remarkable people who collectively created an atmosphere of generosity, giving, serving, and connecting that’s rare in today’s world. Competition, cattiness, and conserving ideas were checked at the door.

Mike and the other speakers – Val Brown, Michael Hudson, Jennifer McClure, Kary Oberbrunner, Jody Maberry, and Jason Clement – generously gave of their wisdom and expertise from the stage.

Yet, all the attendees shared insights, wisdom, skills, empathy, support, and expertise during the abundant connection times.  These weren’t simply networking times.  No business card exchanges, while looking over the person’s shoulder, making sure you didn’t miss anything or anyone.  We have all been there, and hated it.

Everyone embodied an attitude of: “how wonderful to meet you, connect with you, and how can we serve each other.”  Thus, we were all relaxed and willing to let down our guard, lay aside our expectations, fears, and insecurities, and simply talk, share, give, receive, and enjoy.

When was the last time you left an event with your cup filled up with new and meaningful relationships?

I’ll share lessons learned from each of the speakers in the coming days, but first I wanted to share what I believe made the event so remarkable and unique – the people Mike surrounds himself with, and his generous focus on connecting us with each other, knowing that in doing so influence and impact would be an inevitable outcome.

It really IS All about relationships!

Thanks Mike.

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