Welcome To
Conferences That Work
an innovative conference format that reliably builds
highly interactive, participant-led events,
leveraging attendee expertise and experience to
create exactly the conference that participants need and want.

"Simply the most productive conference I've been to."

Are you wondering how to start a new conference of peers who don't know each other well? Do you want to make your current face-to-face conference "can't miss" better, even as more and more content becomes available online? Are your events suffering from falling attendance, evaluations, or profits? I can help!

I'll help you create conferences around the content that your attendees really want and need. Conferences designed to build meaningful, mutually beneficial connections between participants. Conferences that help people work smarter.

I design and facilitate Conferences That Work: innovative, highly interactive, attendee-driven events that leverage attendees' expertise and experience to create just the conference that participants want. If necessary, you can include traditional plenary sessions into this innovative, time-tested format to create an event experience that will delight your attendees.

I'm available for consultation on your conference (re)design, present regularly about participant-led and participation-rich events, and lead interactive workshops on participation techniques anyone can use to improve their conference sessions. I also offer two popular sessions—The Solution Room and The Personal Introspective—that provide powerful opportunities for participants to connect, engage, and learn at your event.

My book, Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love condenses 30 years experience designing, organizing, and facilitating conferences into an information-packed step-by-step guide to a proven design for creating productive conferences that people love.

My next book, working title The Power of Participation, will be a guide to and compendium of participation techniques you can use to increase engagement and learning at any conference session.

Quick Links

An introduction to participant-led events: Demystifying The Unconference.

Named one of the 68 most innovative people in events by BizBash magazine.

How We Learn: The Books That Changed Meetings by Connect magazine.

A Meeting for Attendees, by Attendees by MeetingsNet magazine.

Voted one of the Top 5 Blogs in the Meetings and Events Industry.

Included in Top 10 Event Professionals Worth Knowing on Social Media.

Author of one of CVENT's 5 Favorite Event Industry Blog Posts.

Author of one of 5 Favorite Event Industry Blog Posts.

Planning the Unconference article about my work in Meetings & Conventions Magazine.

23 blog posts and videos about EventCamp EastCoast, a peer conference for event professionals that Adrian organized and facilitated in November 2010.

20 slides x 20 seconds Pecha Kucha talk "Face Your Fear—Change Your Event Design" given at EventCamp Twin Cities, September 2010

Howard Givner's review of EventCamp East Coast.

Peer Conference In Action

Recent Peer Conference Calendar Additions

To report conferences for inclusion in the events calendar >>>>

For more information on learning to hold Conferences That Work>>>>

  • Dec 06 2014 - Dec 09 2014: SITE Southeast Annual Summit, PGA National Resort and Spa, West Palm Beach, Florida.
    Adrian has designed and will be facilitating a day of participant-driven and participation-rich conference at the SITE Southeast Annual Summit on Monday, December 8.
  • Jan 27 2015 - Jan 28 2015: Religious Conference Management Association EMERGE 2015 Conference, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center, Birmingham, Alabama.
    Adrian will be presenting three sessions at the Religious Conference Management Association EMERGE 2015 Conference—a three-hour workshop "Transform Your Sessions With These Participative Techniques" in the morning of January 27, and two presentations during the a
  • Mar 19 2015 - Mar 22 2015: Faff Camp—a peer conference for Voiceover Professionals, Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade – San Antonio, TX.
    Faff Camp is a peer-to-peer professional development conference for working voiceover pros (not just voice talents, voice actors, and narrators, but all pros who do work related to voice overs). It’s participant driven and highly interactive, just like its sister event >>>>

From The Blog:

November 16, 2014

RIP Conference Curator

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
—Albert Einstein

In 2012 I challenged the concept of the conference curator: someone who somehow curates a conference program, like the curator of an art museum. Seth Godin backed me up a year later. Despite my requests, no one ever supplied a single real-life example of a successful conference curator. People thought it would be great if a conference curator actually existed—which brings to mind how Anglosphere parents talk up the tooth fairy to their kids.

I’ve never found any program committee that predicted more than half of the sessions that conference attendees actually chose when given the choice. (And I’ve been running conferences where the participants get to choose what they want to learn since 1992.)

Do you remember that moment in your life when you realized that the tooth fairy was a fantasy? Perhaps it’s time for you to give up the fantasy of the conference curator too.

I believe in the value of good meeting facilitators and designers who can create appropriate process and an environment to satisfy conference learning, connection, engagement, and action objectives, but I don’t believe in the tooth fairy or the conference curator, nice though it would be if either actually existed.

Let conference attendees choose conference content. That’s what I’ve been doing for a long time, and I can tell you, based on thousands of evaluations, it works very well. The fantasy of the conference curator is dead. Rest In Peace.

Image attribution: Flickr user storm-crypt

Conferences That Work book cover

Thirty minutes free consulting included with book purchase on this site!

Download five free chapters here!

Where To Buy

Purchase eBook ($11), paperback ($26) or both ($32) via PayPal on this site. Signing and U.S. shipping included. Also available at your local bookseller, and online everywhere.

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“That we determine the session topics is incredibly useful since they are the latest issues that we all have/will experience in our schools” , “Most valuable conference ever”, “Best conference format ever”, “The edACCESS unconference is incredibly valuable” — Evaluations by participants at edACCESS 2014

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