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National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation Confab on Event Closings

July 22nd, 2014 by Adrian Segar

NCDD ConfabJoin me, Sandy Heierbacher, Lisa Heft, Tim Merry, and Susanna Haas Lyons July 29, 2 – 3 pm EST, for a free one-hour National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation Confab call as we dig into challenges and strategies for planning and managing effective closings at participatory events.

The five of us have extensive experience closing large-scale events using approaches such as Open Space, World Cafe, Conferences That Work, Art of Hosting, and 21st Century Town Meetings.

The Confab will be an informal conversation (no pre-planned presentations!) where we’ll share different strategies for closing participatory events (with an emphasis on larger events) and common challenges and concerns. For instance, for large participatory events: how can you involve everyone in the room in a way that is powerful and meaningful, without being too cheesy or taking too much time?

You can participate by asking questions and sharing your own experiences. We look forward to a fun, productive confab!

Register (it takes one minute, promise) and we’ll send you information on how to join the call.

Meetings are a mess—and how they got that way

July 19th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

Apple 1984

“Things are the way they are because they got that way.”
—Quip attributed to Kenneth Boulding

The hundreds-of-years-dominant paradigm for sessions, conferences, and meetings is broadcast: most of the time, one person presents and everyone else listens and watches. Why?

I think there are two principal historic reasons: one shaped by technology, the other by culture.

How technology shapes our system of education
Perhaps you’re thinking: Technology? Isn’t technology a relatively recent development? How could technology have influenced how we learnt hundreds of years ago? Read the rest of this entry »

5 tips on how to market event apps to me

July 17th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

Traci FB comment
Traci Browne, Facebook post
Like my friend Traci, I receive a constant stream of messages from developers about their new event apps. Naturally, as a frequent commentator on the event industry, I am anxious to throw myself into the tiniest details of these innovative products that are sure to revolutionize every event professional’s life. Clearly they are tools that will: Read the rest of this entry »

Serve up learning in small bites, not giant plates

July 14th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

tapas 7217145804_8dd3edd94d_b

In May I spent a gastronomically intense delightful week in San Francisco, eating lunch and dinner at different restaurants almost every day. After an initial low from consuming the worst tuna salad sandwich ever during a hectic rush to return my rental car, I enjoyed French, Italian, Korean, vegetarian, New American, and Argentinean cuisines, to name a few. And I noticed a pattern to my favorite experiences.

I like small plate meals best.

Read the rest of this entry »

The value of maximizing social connection at events

July 7th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

edACCESS 2014 break

Recently I wrote about my joy in the simple moments of connection that take place during my morning walks in Anguilla. Why do moments like this bring us joy?

Because, as social neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman explains, human beings are wired to be social:

“The message is clear; our brain is profoundly social, with some of the oldest social wiring dating back more than 100 million years. Our wiring motivates us to stay connected.” —Matthew Lieberman, Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Connect

There are significant practical benefits that arise from being social. Lieberman documents the measurable increase in well-being from such social activities as volunteering, (equivalent to moving from a $20K/year to a $75K/year salary), giving to charity (equivalent to doubling one’s salary), or having a good friend (equivalent to making an extra $100K/year). He notes that colleges have found that it makes sense to design their dorms for social connection, with modern dorms devoting about 20% of their expensive floor space to places for social connection. (Compare that to the amount of social space available in a modern apartment!) And he references the work of economist Arent Greve, who found that in the companies he studied, social capital, as opposed to human capital, accounted for most of the increased benefits in productivity.

I don’t know of anyone who’s done quantitative research on the value of making new friends, peers, colleagues, and business associates—as well as strengthening existing relationships—at meetings. But most of us would, I think, agree that maximizing social connection at events is well worth significant effort. Doing so helps prepare workers for the new economy, supports the way that adults learn 90% of what they need to know, and can drive community-building at the event.

How do we maximize social connection at events? Well, don’t rely on traditional socials to do a good job. Instead of filling our sessions with content, we need to make connection an integral component of every session. Carefully interspersing content (short bursts, twenty minutes max) with time for connection (reinforcing and reflecting on the content, and developing ideas with others) increases the quality of learning that takes place while strengthening personal connections around relevant content and consequently building engagement and community. When we maximize social connection around relevant content we maximize the event’s value to participants.

I’m lucky. Facilitating productive event process like this for tens or hundreds of people is one more thing that brings me joy.

Stuff breaks all the time

June 30th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

repair bicycle 9506355716_32325afc2b_bWe live in an imperfect world. Life doesn’t go according to plan. Entropy increases. The terrible has already happened.

In other words—stuff breaks all the time.

We need to remember this, and keep one thing in mind.

It’s the repair that’s important.

Photo attribution: Flickr user pedrosek

Change first, explain later

June 23rd, 2014 by Adrian Segar

Be The Change_4868893727_3bd6f4d34e_bSometimes an experience is worth a million words.

In 1982, Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warren proposed that a bacterium Helicobacter pylori was the cause of most ulcers, challenging established medical doctrine that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid. Their claim was ridiculed, so Barry drank a Petri dish containing cultured Heliobacter and promptly developed gastritis. His self-experiment eventually helped change medical thinking. In 2005, both men were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

So, how do we convince people?

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Insights to Create a Connected and Engaged Organization by Dan Pontefract

June 16th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

I resonate with and find value in so much of Dan Pontefract‘s perspective that I’m posting this succinct Slideshare summary, created by 33voices. Take a couple of minutes to view it. Do you agree?

Tip: Simple inexpensive effective appreciation of your volunteers

June 16th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

HHMI appreciation posterHere’s a great low-cost way to provide powerful personal feedback in permanent form to meeting volunteers and staff that complements giving them public appreciations during the event. Event planning committee members and I were the delighted recipients during a recent national peer conference for medical research lab managers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate hotel occupancy and car rentals up but plane travel unchanged

June 9th, 2014 by Adrian Segar

Empty terminal 7771062866_da0f7a209f_bThe 2014 Business Travel News survey, based on data from Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) from 29 Travel Management Companies (TMCs), reports that though corporate hotel occupancy rates and rental car transaction days rose in 2013, processed airline ticket transactions remained at 2012 levels. While revenues and profits rose in all three markets, ARC transactions for the TMCs surveyed dropped 0.3%.

A drop in government business may explain the flat ARC transactions, but it puzzles me that hotel (occupancy rate rose from 61.3% to 62.3%) and rental car (Avis Budget rental days rose 4%) sectors still saw significant growth. Does this mean that business travelers are staying longer at destinations than before? Are they driving rather than flying? What do these statistics imply?

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome!

Photo attribution: Flickr user angeloangelo

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