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Buy my new book—The Power of Participation—before July 1 at never-to-be-repeated prices

June 28th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

I’m happy to announce that my new book—The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—will be available for purchase in all formats and outlets on June 30. But you can save money by purchasing directly from me before July 1 at never-to-be-repeated prices.

The Power of Participation front cover square“This is a book that should be OPEN on every meeting planner’s or event marketer’s desk, and used every day.”
—Paul Salinger, VP of Marketing, Oracle (many more embarrassingly good reviews below)

Smart presenters and meeting organizers are integrating experiential learning and peer connection into their events. This book tells you how to do it. Buy The Power of Participation to learn why it’s so important to incorporate participant action into every aspect of your event, what you need to know to create a meeting environment that supports and encourages participation, and when and how to use this extensive compendium of specific, detailed techniques to radically improve your sessions and meetings.

The following prices for The Power of Participation are only available before July 1. On that date, this page will vanish like a dream.

Thirty minutes free consulting will be provided for any first-time purchase directly from this site.

Shipping paperbacks to U.S. addresses is included in these prices. Shipping paperbacks to addresses outside the United States will incur an additional cost, viewable for single copies once you have added items to your cart.

Table of Contents

Read five free chapters

Combo (Best Deal!)

The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—pre-publication combo price (1 ebook license, 1 paperback) for only $24.99
The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—pre-publication combo price (1 ebook license, 1 paperback) for only $24.99
Pre-order before June 30 to receive this special pre-publication price ($32.00 after June 30).

Your ebook, in PDF format stamped with your name and email address and readable on any device, will be made available via a download link emailed to you promptly upon receipt of payment.

Price includes U.S. shipping of paperback via USPS Media Mail on July 1. Shipping to addresses outside the United States will incur an additional cost, viewable for single copies once you have added this item to your cart. We will ship anywhere; please request quotes for shipping multiple copies to your location.

Paperback book will be signed—dedication requests welcome!

8½" x 11", 322 pages.

Price: $32.00
Price: $24.99
Dedication request for paperback (optional):
Quantity:  

Paperback

The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—pre-order paperback edition for just $19.99
The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—pre-order paperback edition for just $19.99
Pre-order before June 30 to receive this special pre-publication price ($26.00 after June 30).

Price includes U.S. shipping via USPS Media Mail on July 1. Shipping to addresses outside the United States will incur an additional cost, viewable for single copies once you have added this item to your cart. We will ship anywhere; please request quotes for shipping multiple copies to your location.

Book will be signed—dedication requests welcome!

8½" x 11", 322 pages.

Price: $26.00
Price: $19.99
Dedication request (optional):
Quantity:  

Ebook

The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—special pre-publication ebook edition price $8.99
The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—special pre-publication ebook edition price $8.99
Purchase before June 30 to receive this special pre-publication price ($11.00 after June 30).

Your ebook, in PDF format stamped with your name and email address and readable on any device, will be made available via a download link emailed to you promptly upon receipt of payment.

322 pages.

Price: $11.00
Price: $8.99
Quantity:  

OR you can pre-order paperback copies (unsigned) online from Amazon’s U.S. store for $27.95 plus shipping (will ship July 1).

Praise for The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action.

“It may be a radical idea to turn attendees into participants, but in an environment of information overload and disconnection, we need it more than ever. The Power of Participation can transform how we act as workers, learners, citizens and ‘participants’ in our globalized world. This is a book that should be OPEN on every meeting planners or event marketers desk, and used every day.”
—Paul Salinger, VP of Marketing, Oracle

“This book is a must for anyone who needs guidance in modernizing meetings. Finally we are moving into a new stage of post industrial meetings where all participants are valued, not only those behind the microphone. Well designed participation is key, and Adrian shows us the way. Buy it, read it and do it!”
—Eric de Groot, Meeting Designer and co-author of Into the Heart of Meetings

“No one should plan a conference without this book!”
—Naomi Karten, Author of Managing Expectations

“We have to start meeting like this! A treasury of proven techniques, clearly written, based on first-person experience and deep insights.”
—Bernie DeKoven, Author of The Well Played Game, game designer, and fun theorist at deepfun.com

“Too many conferences are top-down, over-caffeinated, information dumps. Adrian Segar has figured out a different model: a participatory, community-driven event that yields benefits that last far beyond the conference itself. If you want to make a lasting difference with your group today, you owe it to yourself to read this book.”
—Dr. Nick Morgan, President of Public Words and author of Power Cues

“Love The Power of Participation! It’s a fabulous compilation of techniques to bring more interaction to your conferences. I’ll be keeping this reference book handy whenever I design a meeting for a client.”
—Kristin J. Arnold, CPF, CSP, founder of Quality Process Consultants, and past president of the National Speakers Association

“A must read handbook of the what, why and how to move passive conference consumer-based attendees to active engaged participants.”
—Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

“Adrian Segar’s work is crucial for the evolution of the event industry. This book is a mandatory read for the modern event professional. Adrian shares a logical approach to changing our outdated event designs, and guides you with practical techniques towards a value centered model, where the clear winners are both the conference organizer and the attendee. It’s time to shake up our conferences and make them more relevant and attractive. The Power of Participation provides the first step towards achieving conference success.”
—Julius Solaris, editor EventManagerBlog.com and author of The Event App Bible, Social Media for Events and The Good Event Registration Guide

“Adrian wants to transform attendees into participants. And in this book, he shows you how to do it. As an organizer of professional conferences for the past decade, I wish I had come across Adrian’s books earlier in my life. It would have made me more confident and competent.”
—Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan, Founder and Resident Mad Scientist, the Thiagi Group

“Adrian Segar’s The Power of Participation is a catalog of tools for designing meetings. If you want to improve your meetings, keep a copy right there on your desk, always ready for instant access. Better yet, study the tools in his catalog so they’re right there in your brain, always ready to build first-class meetings that everyone loves.”
—Gerald M. Weinberg, The Consultants’ Consultant, author of over 40 books, including classics The Psychology of Computer Programming and An Introduction to General Systems Thinking


The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action
Publisher: Segar Consulting
Release date: ebook: June 2015 | paper book: June 2015
Page count: 322
Size: 8½ x 11
ISBN:978-1511555982
List Price: $27.95 (Paperback book) | $13.95 (PDF ebook) | $33.95 (Paperback book and PDF ebook combo)
The ebook and paperback/ebook combo are available only directly from the author.

Six ways to avoid wasting attendee time

June 22nd, 2015 by Adrian Segar

bored_noun_38100Raise your hand if every conference session you’ve ever attended was accurately described by its program blurb.

Anybody?

Anybody?

Bet your hand didn’t go up.

When we have to sit through a session that bears little resemblance to what was advertised, our time is invariably wasted and we tend to blame the presenter. But, in my experience, it’s often conference producers we should be holding responsible. Last week, Peggy Duncan sent me an example: Read the rest of this entry »

Suppliers and Vendors: To market to me—join my conference tribe!

June 15th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

Tribes

It continues to amaze me how few suppliers of products and services bother to attend educational sessions at conferences, restricting themselves to the associated trade show. Folks, you’re making a mistake! Peter Evans-Greenwood explains why:

“To sell to members of a tribe you must be part of the tribe. It’s not enough to be in conversation with the tribe, your identity needs to be interwoven with the tribe.”
Identity is a funny thing, Peter Evans-Greenwood

Is there a better place to join the tribe of the attendees to whom you’re selling than the conference sessions themselves?

I don’t think so.

Even if the sessions are lectures with time for Q&A at the end, you’ll get an opportunity to hear what someone—hopefully with expertise and experience—is sharing that’s relevant to your market, and the audience questions may supply useful clues on pain points and selling propositions that you can address (perhaps during the session, if it’s done without a crude pitch).

And if you’re participating in interactive peer-to-peer sessions (like the sessions I’m facilitating at PCMA EduCon 2015 this week) you are bound to meet and connect with potential clients. Smart suppliers and vendors know the value of building these kinds of relationships, and spend time cultivating them. Paying for a trade show booth but skipping the associated conference sessions is simply throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Instead of marketing to the conference tribe, why not join the conference tribe?

Satisfy crucial attendee needs with Give and Get

June 8th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

GiveAndGetMaking deliberate and constructive connections amongst participants is a core goal of peer conferences, so I’m delighted to see that techniques with the same outcome in mind are beginning to be adopted at traditional events. For example, the March 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review includes an excellent article “Leadership Summits That Work” by Bob Frisch and Cary Greene that focuses on creating effective conversations and outcomes at large and midsize company summits.

In particular, Frisch & Greene describe an exercise, Give and Get, for making the most of internal organizational resources : Read the rest of this entry »

Three key kinds of learning at events—Part 2

June 1st, 2015 by Adrian Segar

andragogy 2176517925_36eebf532b_bIn Part 1, I introduced three distinct categories of learning: factual information acquisition, problem solving, and building a process toolkit, and gave examples of how typical desired meeting outcomes involve different mixtures of each category. Here’s a final example of the complex ways that learning and learning approaches can be affected by multiple factors, specifically the differences between how children and adults typically learn.

Pedagogy and Andragogy
In the 2014 post Meetings are a mess—and how they got that way I explained how we typically extend into adulthood the pedagogy we’re all exposed to as kids. The word pedagogy comes from the Greek paid, meaning “child” and ago meaning “lead.” So pedagogy literally means “to lead the child.”

The much less familiar term andragogy, first coined in the 1830s, has had multiple definitions over the years, but its modern meaning was shaped by Malcolm Knowles in his 1980 book The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy, based on the Greek word aner with the stem andra meaning “man, not boy” (i.e. adult), and agogus meaning “leader of.” Knowles defined the term as “the art and science of adult learning” and argued that we need to take into account differences between child and adult learners. Specifically, he posited the following changes as individuals mature:

  1. Personality moves from dependent to self-directed.
  2. Learning focus moves from content acquisition to problem solving.
  3. Experience provides a growing resource for their learning activity.
  4. Readiness to learn becomes increasingly aligned with their life roles.
  5. Motivation to learn is more likely to be generated internally than externally.

My professional life journey illustrates all these transformations. At school I was force-fed a concentrated diet of science and mathematics. Besides making a broad decision to study the sciences rather than the arts, I had very little say in what classes I was expected to take. Since then:

  1. My subsequent career path—elementary particle physics research, running a solar manufacturing business, teaching computer science, IT consulting, and, most recently, meeting design—displays a steady movement from doing what I was told I was able to do to what I chose to pursue for my own reasons.
  2. As a physicist, much of my work depended on what I learned at school, university, and academic conferences. As my experience grew, my professional work became increasingly centered on creative problem solving for clients.
  3. In academia, I relied chiefly on classroom learning. Over time, my 30+ years experience has become key to my effectiveness as a meeting designer and convener.
  4. Discovering that I love bringing people together motivates the work of learning what I need to know to perform my work well.
  5. Although financial factors now play a smaller role in determining how much I work, my mission to share what I think is of value drives my desire to learn how to improve my effectiveness and scope.

Take a moment to review your own professional life and see if Knowles’s maturation concepts reflect differences in how you learned in school and now learn as an adult.

Of course, just as there isn’t a clear boundary between childlike and adult behaviors, there’s no clear-cut distinction between pedagogy and andragogy. Both terms encompass motivations and contexts for learning, and it’s most accurate to view them as endpoints on a spectrum of learning behaviors. Nevertheless, Knowles’s five assertions, each positing progression from passivity to action, provide critical insight into why active learning becomes an increasingly important learning modality as we mature.

Too many events still use child-based pedagogical instead of adult-centered andragogical modalities. By concentrating on the latter, we can improve the effectiveness and relevance of the learning we desire and require from our face-to-face meetings.

Photo attribution: Flickr user agent_ladybug

The internet is running out of…stuff

May 29th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

ad-70507_1920The day we’d hoped would never come is finally here.

The Internet is running out of…stuff.

After years of not turning off the Internet when you shower and Internetting a little too long when you brush your teeth, we’re now at something of a crossroads.

Data reservoirs are at record lows, and we’ve already dipped into our emergency meme supply. I’m not sure how much more plainly I can say this, but there are dark days ahead for the information superhighway.

It’s not too late to change things – but we must take measures to protect what little remains of this precious resource.

If your street address ends in an even number, try to use the Internet only on Sundays and Thursdays. If it ends in an odd number, try Tuesdays and Saturdays.

When you’re connected to the Internet, try to limit your use to 15 minutes per site, per day.

The sad truth is – these measures may not be enough. If we don’t get more Internet soon, guess what’s going to come out of your Internet tubes when you turn on the power?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Let’s do what we can now to ensure an Internet full of stuff for our children and our children’s children.

Thanks.

Brett

[No, I didn’t write this but I feel it deserves a wider audience than just the readers of the Dreamhost newsletter, which I only receive because this very website is hosted on Dreamhost’s fine sturdy shoulders. Or head. Forearms? Whatever.]

Three key kinds of learning at events—Part 1

May 26th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

learn 16846023595_b22b670d4a_kWhen asked, just about everyone mentions learning as a key reason for conference attendance.

So, given the clear importance of learning at events, it’s surprising that we lump distinctly different activities into the single word “learning”. Perhaps this reflects the reality that learning acquisition is a largely unconscious process, in the same way our casual familiarity with snow leads us to possess far fewer words for it than the Inuit. Whatever the reasons, it’s useful to distinguish between three different categories of learning: factual information acquisition, problem solving, and building a process toolkit.

Factual knowledge acquisition involves what it sounds like: learning factual information: multiplication tables, names and typical dosages of medications, foreign language nouns, and the millions of facts that we don’t even know that we know until someone asks us. It also includes sensory knowledge: the ability to recognize whether a skin lesion is benign, the sound of Mahler’s Second Symphony, the feel of satin, the smell of a skunk, or the taste of rhubarb.

Problem solving calls for a different level of learning. In essence, it requires noticing or discovering relationships between pieces of information and using these associations to infer answers to relevant problems. Problem solving provides useful process that operates on our knowledge.

Building a process toolkit is an even higher form of learning. After all, in many situations—for example, multiplying two 4-digit numbers using paper and pen—problem solving can be done by rote. But developing novel process frequently challenges our best minds, sometimes over generations, as illustrated by the growth of scientific understanding over millennia. Whether we construct our own process or appropriate useful process developed by others, building a collection of processes that are relevant to our lives is perhaps the most powerful kind of learning we can perform.

I make these distinctions because any specific instance of learning incorporates a different mixture of each category, and, to complicate things further, the effectiveness of each kind of learning is influenced by disparate factors. As a result, books about learning tend to contain a bewildering variety and quantity of information about aspects of learning.

Let’s illustrate with some examples.

Consider training workers to determine whether an applicant is eligible for government benefit—something that could involve many days teaching a large number of complex requirements. Success might be defined as the workers being able to consistently understand, remember, and apply the correct requirements for each applicant. Such learning will concentrate on acquiring relevant factual knowledge plus the capacity to follow a defined process determined by senior administrators. Factors such as retention of key knowledge, maintaining the level of accuracy necessary to make correct decisions, and the ability to recall relevant material over time are clearly important.

Compare this with the mysterious multiyear process by which some graduate students develop from novice researchers into leading practitioners in their field, which includes attending numerous conferences. This involves all three categories of learning: (1) obtaining a wide range of relevant and not-obviously-relevant knowledge, (2) comfort and familiarity with the discipline’s existing body of process and problem solving, and (3) developing a toolkit of novel process that can, hopefully, extend the field further. While the government workers need to concentrate on retaining well-defined information, the researchers will likely acquire far more information than ultimately needed to make an advance or breakthrough. Consequently, the graduate students need to learn how to refine—both narrow and broaden—their focus on a wide range of information, constantly making decisions on what they will concentrate and what they will, possibly temporarily, put aside. The capacity to do this well, combined with ability to effectively problem-solve and develop novel process defines successful learning in this situation.

So when we talk about learning at meetings, it can be very helpful to be specific about the kind(s) of learning that are desired. Trainings focus on the first two categories I’ve described, while more powerful forms of learning—typically experiential process that introduces tools that can be applied in a variety of future situations—incorporates all three.

In Part 2 of this exploration of learning, I’ll share a final example of the complex ways that learning and learning approaches can be affected by multiple factors, specifically the differences between how children and adults typically learn.

Photo attribution: Flickr user jakerust

Boredom is just a state of mind

May 18th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

bored 14154838845_eccf26546c_h1969: I am a nineteen year old college student, talking with friends in my 500 year old room above the entrance to Merton College, Oxford. The world up to this point has been a fascinating place, full of interesting things to learn, and new experiences to have. But today, something feels different.

“I’m bored,” I announce.

Cathy, a first-year history student from St. Hilda’s, looks at me.

“I think boredom is just a state of mind,” she says.

And, immediately, I know she’s right. Read the rest of this entry »

Trapped in a giant trash compactor? You always have a choice.

May 11th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

star-wars-garbage-chute-1024x684So we’ve just broken Princess Leia out of the holding cell but we’re trapped in the detention corridor under heavy fire. The Princess (gosh, she’s beautiful) gets it into her head to escape through a garbage chute, and we end up in a large room full of—what else?—garbage. The smell is terrible. There’s a sudden ghastly moan, and a huge tentacle grabs my leg and drags me under the muck! I’m just about to drown when a loud grinding sound scares the monster away. That’s the good news. The bad news is: There’s no way out, and the room just got a whole lot smaller!

Most people would be panicking at this point. Let me put it this way; I’m only spared embarrassing myself in front of The Princess because the room already stinks to high heaven. And that’s when Han demonstrates that you always have a choice in how you look at life’s problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why traditional conferences are dying like music albums

May 4th, 2015 by Adrian Segar

Record albums 8447794421_fdfda28f9f_kRemember the Compact Disc [CD]? (Or, if you’re old enough, like me, the long playing record [LP], aka “vinyl” records?)

For many years, the music industry primarily sold “popular” (i.e. short form) music as rigid collections of individual tracks. If you liked something you heard on the radio and wanted to buy it, you were forced to buy the artist’s “album”, which often contained many other pieces of music you didn’t care for. Unless the track you liked was released as a “single” (for which you paid a premium) you couldn’t buy it by itself.

We all know what happened. CD ripping, and, later, the internet, made it possible for the music lover to pick and choose her music purchases one track at a time. Adore four tracks on a Manu Chao album? Just buy those four!

Why did this happen? Because great music albums that tell a compelling musical story from one track to the next are the exception rather than the rule. Most albums are disembodied collections that, apart from perhaps the artist’s and producer’s minds, have no perceivable flow from one track to the next.

Traditional meetings are also collections of disembodied sessions. But they have not changed in the same way. Read the rest of this entry »

Book covers

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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Thanks for your time today—I was painfully aware I went over our agreed time, but will try to make it up to you on the follow up. I feel very energized, and am reworking elements of our program based on our conversation. You, sir, are magnificent.

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