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>>>>

  • Apr 15 2014 - Apr 17 2014: GMIC Sustainable Meetings 2014 Annual Conference, Hilton Union Square, San Francisco.
    The Sustainable Meetings Conference (SMC), hosted annually by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), brings together professionals from all corners of the meetings and events industry — planners, suppliers, service providers, and destination representat
  • May 05 2014 - May 07 2014: HealthCare Leadership Summit 2014, Burlington, VT.
    The HealthCare Leadership Summit offers participants the opportunity for rich face-to-face conversations with industry colleagues representing a variety of stakeholder groups being impacted by healthcare reform. Adrian is designing and facilitating this entire event.
  • Jun 08 2014 - Jun 10 2014: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Lab Management Network of Professionals LMNOP 2014, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, Virginia.
    The inaugural HHMI Lab Management Network of Professionals (LMNOP) peer conference at Janelia Farm Research Campus.  HHMI labs are spread out all over the country.  For the first time, we are coming together to discuss topics impacting our labs using Adrian Segar's Conferences That Work f
  • Jun 23 2014 - Jun 26 2014: edACCESS 2014, .
    The 22st annual peer conference for information technology staff at small schools. Adrian will facilitate the entire event.
  • Jun 30 2014 - Jul 04 2014: Caux Conference: Caux dialogue on land and security, The Caux Centre, Caux, Switzerland.

For more upcoming events >>>>


From The Blog:

April 14, 2014

Privacy issues in meeting apps

Privacy 3225688274_a05fdd9079_o

I’ve written before about the lack of information about who has access to attendee information, and I’m concerned about the ramifications of the growing trend for meeting apps to offer login via one of the established social media networks, typically Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn.

Perhaps you should be too. Social check-in is touted as a plus for event attendees, allowing them to:

  • discover friends, contacts, followers, and followees who are also attending the meeting;
  • provide in-app social network functionality; e.g. the ability to tweet from inside the app; and
  • be notified (in some apps) when social network contacts are in the vicinity.

These features are, indeed, potential pluses for an attendee. But there are downsides too, which are rarely mentioned.

When you authorize an app to access your personal social network information, you are allowing the company that created the app access to that information. At a minimum, this includes read access to your social media contacts in that app, which may (e.g. Twitter) or may not (e.g. FaceBook, LinkedIn) be public. If the app also requests write access, it can, in principle, do things like sending tweets from your account.

There’s potential for abuse here. An app developer can copy all the information that you expose to them and keep it forever, even if you de-authorize the app from access to the network later. Some questions that come to mind:

  • What will be done with the information I make available to your app?
  • Who will have access to it? For example, unless you pay LinkedIn big bucks you do not have access to every member’s information. But an app can (and in one case I’ve seen, does) expose every attendee’s LinkedIn profile to all other attendees.
  • For how long will that access be made available?
  • Will the app developer eventually destroy the information retrieved during the event?
  • What are the consequences if the app’s security is breached? Can the attacker take over the compromised social media accounts?

Clear answers to these questions are rarely given before you’ve (perhaps reluctantly) given the app permission to access your social media account(s).

In addition, some apps don’t give you a choice; you can only use them if you provide the app login via one of your social media networks. And if you want to share other social media IDs with attendees, e.g. your Twitter ID, you can’t just add the ID into a data field for your information but have to give the app access to your entire Twitter account.

I understand there are more stringent data protection standards in Europe, but the state of affairs I’ve described above is common in many of the U.S. apps I’ve seen.

I think it behooves app developers to provide clearer answers to these questions, and allow us to opt out from providing forced access to our social media accounts when we use a meeting app.

What do you think?

Photo attribution: Flickr user michellzappa

Conferences That Work book cover

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The mechanics of this conference pretty much guarantee that the topics covered will be of interest to a large spectrum of the attendees. — Conference participant

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