A couple of years ago, at a national convention of retail dealers, a young man named Chris, who owned a struggling dealership with his brother, decided to attend convention for the first time. His brother was the main stakeholder in their store, and had done very little to implement the programs and best practices they received through the corporate headquarters, and Chris intended to end their license in the company after convention.

Having never attended convention, Chris knew almost none of his 450 fellow attendees, and felt very isolated and unengaged as a result. As luck would have it, however, on the first evening of the convention, the company had hired a nationally known hypnotist, Ricky Kalmon, as a featured part of the evening’s entertainment. He invited the entire audience to enter into hypnosis, and under hypnotic suggestion, invited those who were willing to come to the stage and participate in a series of activities that released inhibition and opened up creative action. Chris was one of those who were willing.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle for Chris. For the next couple of days his fellow dealers were coming up to Chris telling him he was fantastic, asking if the hypnosis was real. Chris’ instant celebrity status made him a part of the group he had felt isolated from. Suddenly people knew Chris’ name and he was one of them. Chris made friends that year. Instead of leaving the company, Chris returned to his store and began implementing many of the programs and best practices he had learned. In fact, Chris and his brother watched their once struggling store begin to flourish.

While not every attendee has the type of experience Chris had; no webinar, no email campaign, no online training can create that type of transformation. There is no equivalent alternative to live meetings for creating emotional engagement, consensus, and persuasion. Even the activities that may seem like “fluff” when used judiciously enhance that important payoff. In fact, the payoff of live events is critical to the success of business.