Thinking of going to Forefront?
In this post, I’ll help you decide.
Below is my open and honest review of Year #2 in Chicago: the event flow, the people attending, the venue, the keynotes, and afterparties.
I’ll also share my personal takeaways and highlights to give you an even more intimate look into what an experience at Forefront can be like.
Alright, let’s get into my review!
Forefront Event Review
Full disclosure: I was a speaker at this event, so my experience was not the exact same as an attendee’s.
That said, I was a regular attendee at Forefront New York the year previous, and the experience was very similar. The only difference is that more people knew me and knew of me and wanted to chat, which I loved!
In a non-speaker role, you can still have excellent conversations with people like this:
(1) Note in advance who you most want to connect with. (There is a Slack group for the event with people’s names and details, as well as a private Facebook group).
(2) At the event, find those people! Though this article in particular is for men who want to connect with women they feel attracted to, the principles of feeling relaxed in your own skin and connecting over the environment apply here all the same.
(3) Be sure to let them know that you appreciate their work or X thing about them, and then let the conversation flow naturally from there. There’s always something going on that you can make conversation about.
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to use the “connect with anyone” benefits of being a speaker as an attendee, onto the review…
Event Flow and Venue
Forefront Chicago, like Forefront New York, was a very well-produced event.
I love tiny details, and here are some things I noticed:
- lots of volunteers everywhere clearly differentiated in yellow shirts (helps when you’re looking for something!)
- beautiful lighting and large spacious rooms for the main events and parties
- very convenient location in downtown Chicago: staying at the W Hotel, right by the Navy Pier: close to shops, restaurants, and bars.
In addition to the ambiance of the physical surroundings, the ambiance of the people was great too!
I love Ramit’s people. I just love them!
They are smart, funny, easygoing, and just the most fun people to hang out with.
Here are some of the people I met at Forefront:
(1) Ramit’s team: I love them. In fact, this year I was hanging out with his team most of the time. I’ve met them over the years in various capacities (writing an article, IWT meetups, etc), and they’re so great in person.
(2) Ramit’s family: This guy’s whole family is just the best. I have loved getting to know them last year and this year. They are all smart, full of life, and downright jolly. They are also very approachable. They are excited to meet everyone there, and they’re so proud of their son/brother! It’s a great vibe.
(3) Introverted Alpha clients: There is a huge synergy between Ramit’s people and my people here at IA. No surprise, right? If I love them so much and I love my clients so much, there’s bound to be some overlap! Hanging out with my clients was one of the absolute best parts of the trip for me. (And even if they’re not your clients, they are so fun! Many of them met each other organically and didn’t realize until later that they’re both my clients!)
(4) Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Stylists, and more: One great thing about the people at Forefront is that everyone is so unique! For example the engineers, of which there are many (to my personal delight), have such interesting hobbies! Hip-hop dancing, dragon-boat racing, and improv… the list goes on and on.
Onto the keynotes, a highlight of Forefront:
Two of the most special talks in my own opinion and of people I talked to were Ramit Sethi’s keynote on Saturday morning and Shawn Achor’s on Sunday.
In his keynote, Ramit was vulnerable and engaging.
Every time I’ve seen Ramit over these last few years, he is even more relaxed in his own skin. He is even more supported by his leadership team and leading them well (they rave about him). And he is even more fun and himself. It is inspiring to see!
In his keynote, he shared intimately at a level of depth and openness I don’t think anyone was expecting. He shared what he’s been learning lately in his business and in his personal life. It was moving and fun to be a part of!
He said that it felt right to share those things there, in the quiet group of 500, instead of to hundreds of thousands of people on his email list or the blog. Intimate details in an intimate surrounding: part of the joy of Forefront.
Shawn’s keynote was the buzz of the entire day on Sunday.
Unfortunately I didn’t hear Shawn’s talk (!!). I was giving a talk on Sunday afternoon and knew I wanted to go to dinner and dancing with folks that night. So I took it easy that morning and ended up missing an epic talk of a lifetime.
People went crazy for Shawn Achor! He’s the author of The Happiness Advantage, and people said he was indeed a genuinely happy and riveting speaker. Honestly, people couldn’t stop talking about it!
Since I didn’t see the talk, I bought his book and have his TED Talk queued up. You and I will be in the same boat: two missed-it peas in a pod. Further motivation to dive deeper into the book and TED Talk!
Ramit’s sister Nagina had a “Spicy Cocktail Party” in her hotel suite after Friday’s party. I didn’t go this year, but she had one last year and it was so fun!
On Saturday, a bunch of people went dancing, and on Sunday a small group of us went dancing.
People were getting dinners, breakfasts, and lunches together right and left. There really is no shortage of fun to be had at Forefront!
Biggest Takeaways for Me Personally
I was really looking forward to the event because of the workshop I was to lead on Sunday, the clients I was to meet throughout, and just the general fun time I knew I’d have!
It turned out that in addition to everything I was already looking forward to…
I got MAJOR SUPPORT for a whole new chapter of my business model.
Clients, friends, and Ramit’s workshop all helped me map out the next level for Introverted Alpha.
I went to Ramit’s workshop “Beyond 6 Figures” on Saturday.
Two things struck me in his talk:
- Do more and better launches
- Create a $1mm business model
Two very simple things, and very powerful when implemented. I’ve already moved mountains since I got back home.
My team and I have had several calls, and I’ve made detailed roadmap Google Docs and am finishing up our new program page.
Bottom line, instead of offering ONE program for a HIGH-TOUCH format, we’re now offering 4 program tracks.
Each track is the size of a program, and we also added two more pricing options for varying levels of high-touch:
4 Program Tracks x 3 Pricing Structures = 12 Options, whereas before I had exactly *1*. WOW.
Very big upgrade. It feels courageous and really right.
I also learned that I respond well to aggressive goals. I’ve always been a fan of getting it right instead of rushing, but what was happening was I set my bar too low.
My revenue goals have now shot up, and the plan to make it happen has crystallized so fast, I feel like I’m on top of a mountain. I’m exhilarated!
My Personal Forefront Chicago Highlights
Here are the highlights of my experience at Forefront Chicago:
My Workshop: “Make Your First $50K via Coaching”
I had so much fun leading this workshop!
I asked the Forefront Facebook group ahead of time what they most wanted to learn, and their responses helped me shape the talk.
As a result of that hands-on shaping, it ended up seeming to land with everyone there. One guy even told me it was his favorite talk of the whole weekend!
People were thrilled, and I got to make them laugh at several points, which I always love doing.
If you’ve been around Introverted Alpha for any length of time, you know I love baking. I got to make some Google Slide art of a “cake” and show it off to the group. It was really funny.
Why not keep things light, you know? It helps the learning go down.
(Those are clouds for the candles, as I couldn’t find stars or flames, lol.)
Introverted Alpha Clients Everywhere!
Oh my goodness, my clients!
The are so sweet, so fun, so BADASS.
I loved hearing them talk about what they’re doing next in their businesses or careers, what they’re doing in their dating lives, and more.
Highlights of stories I heard:
- Impromptu date on a plane, which transitioned to a bar and plans to meet up again
- Hiring and scaling a freelancing business with the logical smarts to back a whole team
- Dancing adventures from salsa to hip-hop to who knows what’s next
- Styling and grooming that is on point: my guys look GOOD
Can’t wait to see them again!
Bonding Time with Friends, Close and New
One of the most fun nights of the weekend was Sunday when I got to go dancing with a handful of Forefronters!
As we all got into the car, I was asked what kind of music I’d prefer. I said, “Oh I have a spreadsheet!”
I meant to say, “I have a Spotify playlist!” Spreadsheet, Spotify: it’s all the same, right? Lol.
After a full night of dinner and dancing, by the time we were heading back home for the night, the spreadsheet reference somehow became a sexual innuendo.
There were jokes about inserting columns in spreadsheets… spreadsheets needing extra cells… We’d just be silent, and then someone else would come up with one and we’d all start howling again. It was way too much and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!
If you’re curious, here’s the playlist! It’s Kizomba music, and every time I play it, my Lyft driver / friend / etc wants to know what it is. It’s really good.
Felicia had friend-proposed to me over email, and as you can see in my all-caps response below, I accepted without hesitation.
In her email proposal, she sent me this article in explanation: Why Japan’s Longest-Lived Women Hold the Key to Better Health.
We had a robe party in the sky with brandy. And with friends all around as witnesses (also in robes). Our friend Abe married us as we held hands.
It was perfect. Who knew people would choose Forefront as their wedding venue? We may be the firsts.
Should you go to Forefront next year?
Let’s go over the pros and cons:
- Awesome venue and event flow
- Great keynotes and speakers
- Really fun people and parties
To me, it’s 100% worth it.
If you have the space and bandwidth to go for it, and especially if you have enjoyed this article (a foreshadowing of you enjoying the event!), I’d recommend it.