A commentary by Sharron Richardson, Vice President Broker Services, EXIT Realty Corp. International.

I have just returned from our annual convention. Every year, EXIT Realty Corp. International holds a convention for our associates – regional leaders, broker/owners, agents, managers, and administrators – to learn and connect. This is a labor of love for us; we do not hire an outside event planner. We start around February, with the work ramping up to a fever pitch around August. It’s all hands on deck in September and then, finally, October arrives and it’s showtime. Much like spending all day cooking a holiday meal and then thirty minutes enjoying it, convention takes months of intense preparation, and it’s over for the attendees in less than a week.

So, why do we do it? Does it really help our associates? Other than a positive, onsite, in-the-moment experience, does it stay with the attendees long after the Chairman’s Ball is over? Here’s my experience, and, based on what I’ve heard from other attendees, this is a universal reaction. The answer to these questions is a resounding yes.

I’ve had the privilege of emceeing this event for the past several years. As such, I am often backstage, connecting with the speakers before and after their presentations. World-class speakers and peer speakers alike almost always remark on the feel of the room. As someone who has spent a significant amount of time being on stage, I can tell you that each audience has its own personality. Some are boisterous, some more subdued, and some skeptical. It’s the collective consciousness of the room, and good presenters instinctively know to determine the atmosphere and deliver material accordingly. Well-timed and well-executed material can shift and direct a room’s mood. With our EXIT convention, the feel of the room is unquestionably love. The audience, numbering well over a thousand, exudes positivity, acceptance, and openness. This makes my job as emcee so easy; I simply mirror the love that is present in the room.

Is this a bit much for a corporate event – this love-in feeling? Maybe for some companies, but not for EXIT. EXIT is really a family disguised as a real estate company. Sure, we all have to work – after all, we have bills to pay. But it’s a special breed of individual who connects with EXIT. And when you have a whole room of these folks, well, magic happens.

During and after the event, I saw on social and heard in conversation terms such as “life-changing” and “mind-blowing.” There is no question in my mind that they – and I – will take what was learned and implement strategies and new concepts into lives and businesses. Experienced folks offer wisdom; new folks offer fresh eyes. It’s important to share these perspectives with each other to enhance our efforts.

So, are the months and months of preparation worth it for a week-long event? The answer is a resounding yes because in that short week, minds were stretched, perspectives shifted, goals set, connections made, and hearts expanded. In a few months, we’ll start all over again for next year’s event. I can hardly wait.


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