There was a time not long ago when the sentence “I’m going to a business conference” would have caused your friends to groan out of boredom on your behalf. But, something is changing and conference leaders need to take notice.
In July 2022, the Wall Street Journal released an article discussing how business events are evolving. They shared how parents were fleeing to these conferences to escape their families.
While I can’t vouch for the legitimacy of why some parents may want to travel on the company’s dime to get out of the house, I can say that there is a new method in town, and I’m calling it the Cabopress 4:9 Method.
Cabopress is a highly curated conference for entrepreneurs and business leaders that takes place at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
In a turn of events I won’t bore you with, I had the great opportunity to attend Cabopress 2022.
The week-long event inspired me to take action and implement new strategies for the company I currently work with full-time and for my personal endeavors.
However, upon leaving, I knew the biggest takeaway that could make the biggest difference for those in my circle would be the Cabopress 4:9 Method.
What is the Cabopress 4:9 Method?
When was the last time you went to a conference? Without looking at your notes, can you remember each session? Can you remember how it impacted your leadership or business? Did it leave a mark on you at all?
Most conferences engage in the Firehose Method. With the best intentions, they corral you into a room with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people and shoot content at you as if through a firehose. Even those with the greatest attention spans can’t handle or remember the influx of content.
The Cabopress 4:9 Method takes your conference format in an entirely new direction.
Founder, Chris Lema, has designed the conference to include 4 hours of content with 9 hours of processing and relaxation time each day.
The day begins with an optional workout session and breakfast. Then, at 9am the sessions begin poolside. (This does not need to take place in a pool to be effective, but it certainly helps)
The conference offers two ninety-minute sessions each day. You may think that ninety minutes is a long time for one session, but in this model, conversation is prioritized over lecturing.
Each host speaks for about 30-60 minutes and leaves the remaining time for questions and conversation around the given topic.
After three hours of content, participants are required to attend lunch with a pre-assigned group of peers. At lunch, you share which sessions you attended, what you took away, how it can be applied in your context, and, most importantly, you listen to what those in your group experienced.
Three hours of sessions and one hour of lunch equals your four hours of content for the day. That’s it. It’s 1p, and you’re technically done for the day.
The next nine hours are left to you for personal time, networking, and dinner. These nine hours may seem like a vacation, but in reality, it’s time your brain needs to fully process the content you absorbed throughout the day and rest.
That’s the Cabopress 4:9 Method; 4 hours of content and 9 hours of freedom.
Now that you know what the method is, let’s dive into how you can best implement it to ensure the greatest success for your conference.
How to best implement it?
Your location, whether a resort in Cabo San Lucas or the auditorium of your local church, matters.
Does it encourage relaxation or stress? Is it a space that people enjoy being in? There’s a reason that people visit the Jersey Shore and not Ohio for a family vacation.
Host your next conference in a location that provides space for participants to experience nature, go for a walk or a swim, or simply in a location that allows them to feel free of their normal routine.
Your location should be a place that will encourage and promote the relaxation that is needed each day.
The curation of Cabopress was part of its magic.
What do I mean by curated?
To attend, participants had to apply.
In addition, lunch groups were determined for you, your roommate (if you had one) was chosen for you, and the hosts were even given specific topics to speak on.
For a control freak, this initially made me nervous.
Now, having experienced the caliber of conversation and generosity among each attendee, I don’t know if I would ever have it any other way.
Be clear about who your event is for. Work hard to ensure that attendees come with the right mindset and an attitude of generosity rather than competition.
Consider grouping your attendees with those they don’t know, yet, can learn the most from.
Once you experience curation done right, you’ll never want to go back.
3. Content & Conversation
Most conferences put the speaker up on a stage to share their practiced keynote. Afterward, the speaker leaves through the back of the green room, and the participants head home with a good feeling but no real action plan.
In this method, the importance of conversation is parallel to the content. You reinforce the content when summarizing it and sharing it with your lunch group. You are challenged to describe in your own words how the content can be implemented in your context.
In this way, the conversation with those in your lunch groups, while networking, and at dinner becomes as important as attending the session itself.
With a highly curated group, your conversations become even more engaging and meaningful.
Oh, and those event speakers? In the Cabopress 4:9 Method, they participate in the conference when they aren’t speaking. They hang out in the pool and talk to participants, they eat dinner and build relationships with those at their table.
See? I told you. It’s a whole new ball game.
I hope this gives you something to think about the next time you plan an event or conference for your church or business.
Implementing all of these things at once may seem like a daunting project. But, is there one item you can put into practice?
I promise you, those who attend will thank you for putting one or all of these into place.
Not only will you create a conference people will love, but you’ll create one that fosters growth and action.
Let me know which element you put into practice and how it impacted your event. 👇