Woody Allen on the ELO Forums: Show Up!


“Why show up at an event?”   

In a post-COVID environment, more people ask that question than previously.

Or more pointedly, “What do I get by going to an event in person that I don’t get from my home/office?” If it’s just information, then a person can absorb that from home in their pajamas.

While it is always challenging to get people out, ELO has successfully organized over 70 events with well over 10,000 attendees since 2005. On October 25th, we successfully held our ELO Forum Winnipeg which was described by attendees as “fantastic” and “spectacular!”

Why do people come to events? We can say conclusively, based on frequent polls over 18 years, that the top reason to attend one of our events is the ability to connect with others. You can only do this by showing up. 

That is why we create an experience at our events that can’t be replicated by watching online. We have all live speakers. For John Lennox, Professor Emeritus, University of Oxford, we make an exception. This year we are connecting with John Lennox live via videoconferencing and he will be engaged in a Q&A with attendees.

Most presentations are either entirely Q&A, or a combination of presentation and Q&A. Attendees have the opportunity to have their questions answered by all speakers.

Woody Allen, comedian and film director, apparently once said, “90% of life is just showing up!” That’s true. The ELO Forums are a unique opportunity to appear in person, meet others, and build your contact base. So, attendees can not only interact with speakers but also with other attendees. 

We have three connecting breaks during the Forum. There is a lunch break, an afternoon break, and then an appetizer reception at the end of the event. There is ample opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who attend the ELO Forums.

Despite the obvious benefits of attending an event, not everyone chooses to attend. Yet, one aspect of leadership is making the effort to show up.

There is a post-COVID malaise that going out takes more effort. Some people don’t even want to show up regularly to their employer’s office!

Sometimes people are invited but hesitate to come—yet after they have attended, they realize that it was a great event and well worth the effort. 

People realize that a lack of connections is a significant advantage. So much of life and business is facilitated through relationships. 

Is the connecting worthwhile? Over the years, we have received confirmation that many new relationships were kindled at the ELO Forums. We know that businesspeople have gotten contracts for services resulting in more than $1m in work. Some have even met their future spouse at an ELO Forum!

A key leadership lesson is that connecting and building relationships takes time and effort. While some results may happen quickly—and, indeed, have—it is better to think long-term. Short-term actions and thinking are usually counterproductive. Attending an ELO Forum this year will bring you together with other Christians in business to connect, learn, and grow.


There is still time to purchase your tickets for the Vancouver and Toronto ELO Forums!

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