Welcome to the Conferences That Work blog. You're in the right place for the latest posts on conference design, facilitation, and peer conferences—or sign up for our RSS feed so you never miss another post.

Win a free set of my books by helping me with research for the next one!

August 14th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

Want a free set of my books? I’m doing a little research for my next book — working title The Little Book of Event Crowdsourcing Secrets — and I’d love your answers to a short (5 minutes maximum) survey of your personal experience of conference satisfaction.

Everyone who completes the survey by August 20 will be entered in a drawing for a free set of licensed copies of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love and The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action — a $22 value! I’ll be giving away five sets of books to five lucky winners. If you have copies already you can donate your copies to someone else.

Ready to help me out and win free copies of my books?
Please read the rules below. Here’s the survey!

Pesky but needed rules
Entrants must be over 18 and have attended at least three conferences in recent memory. No purchase necessary. One entry per person. Full name and valid email must be supplied to receive prize. One licensed set of Adrian’s two ebooks will be given away to five randomly chosen entrants who have completed a short survey. Surveys must be completed by midnight EDT August 20, 2017. The odds of winning are dependent on the number of completed entries received. Winners will be notified by email on or before August 23, 2017. At the end of the survey, you’ll have the opportunity to request to be kept informed about the publication of Adrian’s next book; otherwise the individual information you submit will not be used for any other purpose. Winners’ names, if they give permission, will be supplied in response to an emailed request to

Impediments to AI matchmaking at events

August 7th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

As companies begin to market artificial intelligence products for improving matchmaking connections at meetings, unresolved issues could impede adoption of this technology, especially by attendees. Read the rest of this entry »

Avoid this common mistake when planning meeting programs

July 31st, 2017 by Adrian Segar

Although I have good reasons to champion meeting designs where the participants get to choose what they want and need to discuss and learn rather than a program committee, there is invariably a place for some predetermined presentations at conferences. Unfortunately, most program committees use a flawed process to select session content. Read the rest of this entry »

How to solve the infuriating HTTP error when uploading images or videos to WordPress

July 26th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

Here’s a foolproof method to fix the dreaded HTTP error seen when attempting to upload images, videos, or other accepted file types to the WordPress Media Library.

One of the most frustrating aspects of using the popular WordPress platform is running into this error when attempting to upload media. If you’ve never experienced this, you’re lucky! I run into this problem on ~1% of my image uploads and have wasted a lot of time and energy trying to resolve it.

I’m not alone. The two million plus hits returned by a quick Google search for the cause of this problem make it abundantly clear that this problem is common, and that there is neither a simple explanation why it occurs nor a single solution that prevents it from happening. Here is a summary of some of the “solutions” that have been proposed:

  • Reduce image size
  • Increase PHP memory
  • Disable mod_security
  • Disable plugins
  • Change php.ini and /or .htaccess settings
  • Install a newer version of php
  • Disable image optimization
  • Change upload folder permissions

I’m not denying that these approaches work under some circumstances, and if you are consistently unable to successfully upload images to the WordPress media library you should probably investigate them. But be prepared for a lot of messing about with no guarantee of success. (At least, that was my experience.)

So, here’s a solution that works (note: except for websites hosted at, because plugins cannot be added to such sites).

How to avoid an HTTP error when uploading media to WordPress
Begin with these three one-time-only steps:

  1. Obtain and set up an FTP program so you can transfer files to your WordPress host. If you didn’t understand that sentence, don’t worry: here’s a beginner’s guide to obtaining an FTP program and using FTP to transfer files to and from your WordPress site.
  2. Install the Add From Server plugin and activate it. If you don’t know how to install a WordPress plugin, consult this clear beginner’s guide.
  3. From your WordPress Dashboard, check Settings > Add From Server. The default settings [User Access Control All users with the ability to upload files] & [Root Directory Do not lock browsing to a specific directory] should be fine for general use.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you can upload media to your WordPress library as follows:

  1. Run your FTP program and navigate to the appropriate folder to upload your media. There are a couple of possibilities here. For a default WordPress installation, the appropriate folder will be your Uploads folder, i.e. (..[NameOfYourSite]/wp-content/Uploads/).
  2. If, however, you have the WordPress Dashboard Settings > Media option Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders checked, you will probably want to upload your media into a subfolder of Uploads that has the form [CurrentFourDigitYear/CurrentTwoDigitMonth/], for example ..[NameOfYourSite]/wp-content/Uploads/2017/07/. Note that if this is your first upload for the current month, the folder won’t exist and you’ll need to create it using the FTP program.
  3. From your WordPress Dashboard, go to Media > Add From Server.
  4. Use the navigation links at the top of the Add From Server screen to navigate to the same folder you chose in step 1 or 2.
  5. Click the checkmark box (or boxes) next to the media you wish to add. Then scroll to the bottom of the page. There’s an option to set the imported date to the current date and time [default] or the file’s creation date and time. I think the default is most appropriate, but feel free to choose the alternative. Click the Import button and voila! Your selection(s) will be added to your WordPress Media Library!

That’s it! Although this description of the process is long, once you’ve set up your FTP program the five steps above take very little time to complete. I hope this has been helpful, and welcome your comments below!

The Secrets Behind Conference Engagement

July 24th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

So you’re holding a conference. How are you going to get your audience tuned in and engaged?

Read the rest of this entry »

Why 2017 is a tipping point for Twitter

July 17th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

Something is happening to Twitter, but you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?

I started tweeting 8 years ago. Though I didn’t know it at the time, Twitter would turn out to be the most important way for people to discover my work and for me to connect with thousands of kindred souls all over the world who share my specialized interests. Over time, Conferences That Work grew into a website with ten million page views per year.

But as 2016 drew to a close I noticed that something was changing in the Twitter world. Here’s a graph of my follower count over time: Read the rest of this entry »

The meeting industry’s biggest dirty secret

July 10th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

There are some things that the meeting industry doesn’t like to talk about in public. For example:

But our biggest dirty secret is so embarrassing, we don’t even talk about it in private. Read the rest of this entry »

The end of decent paid jobs and the need for basic income

July 3rd, 2017 by Adrian Segar

In the summer of 1970 I had a cool teenager vacation job: writing computer programs for a trucking company in downtown Los Angeles. After I finished coding a new report, my boss asked me to share it with the employees of a small department. As I told the fifteen people there what I had done, I saw their reactions as they and I realized that my monthly report replaced what they had manually been doing for a paycheck.

I felt terrible about the consequences of my work, and angry with my boss who knew exactly what would happen and made me the unwitting messenger of bad news. I never found out the consequences of my innocent programming, but stories like this have been repeated countless times over the last fifty years. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy to Seize the Throne from King Content

June 26th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

Honored to be included on MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list, which “recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways”. Here’s the description of my “quest to topple outdated models, including the one based on the idea that ‘content is king’.”

Making Change
I’ve spent 25 years working on changing outmoded mindsets about what we should be doing in meetings. Historically, topics had to be determined in advance, the meeting format was mainly lecture and did not encourage interaction, and content was king. To stay effective and relevant today, meetings must:

  • Respond to what participants actually want and need to learn
  • Adapt to the reality that we primarily learn from our peers rather than experts
  • Provide appropriate opportunities to connect with relevant peers in the sessions around content

And it is changing. The meetings industry is far more aware of the importance of treating and supporting attendees as active participants rather than passive consumers of education. You see this in the increasing number of industry articles about good meeting process, the rise of the term “meeting design” being applied to the group process we use in sessions as opposed to, say, F&B or production design.

I don’t take full credit, of course, for these changes, but I feel proud to have been an instigator and passionate promoter of them through speaking, and authoring Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love and The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action. I also moderated the #eventprofs Twitter chats for several years, and until recently, ran the weekly #Eventprofs Happy Hour Hangout for meeting professionals.

What’s Next
I am now writing another book with the working title of The Little Book of Event Crowdsourcing, and I’m starting to offer workshops where meeting professionals, designers, and stakeholders can learn first-hand about the power of the participatory techniques I’ve written about and use. And I continue to design and facilitate meetings, which is perhaps the most effective way to change mindsets: exposing participants to what meetings can be like when you adopt a participant-driven and participation-rich approach.

Best Business Advice
One of my mentors, Jeannie Courtney, taught me to trust my intuition and helped me see the power and joy that is possible when I respond to opportunity rather than what I used to think of as taking a risk by trying something new—and scary. Like much of my most important learning, that change of perspective happened experientially, rather than from a piece of advice.

Got a Spare Hour?
I would do yoga and meditation if I haven’t yet fit them into my day. I like to read a wide variety of nonfiction, mysteries, and science fiction. And I am active in my local nonprofit communities—I’ve been running or on the board of multiple associations continuously for over 30 years.

The interpersonal dynamics of silent retreats

June 19th, 2017 by Adrian Segar

Can meetings where no one says a word exhibit significantly different interpersonal dynamics? After completing my third Vipassana silent meditation retreat (this one at the headquarters of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts), I’m gonna say: yes they can!

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) at lowest available prices via PayPal on this site. Signing and U.S. shipping included. Paperback versions are also available from online bookstores everywhere.

Twitter LinkedInGoogle+

Subscribe to my posts


It is an incredibly fulfilling experience to be able to not only participate in a conference but to shape its future.

— Conference evaluation
Event Pro Update
  • Blog Post Archive

  • Cart

  • Meta