Participate! The key to successful 21st century conferences

Indianapolis, IN • June 2, 2018 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Buy Now! $399

Learn to Design Participation-Rich Conferences

We’ve known for a long time that lectures are terrible ways to learn, and that today’s attendees are no longer satisfied to sit and listen to lectures. If you want to design conferences where learning, connection, and engagement take place, you need to build in participation.

Attend Participate! Indianapolis

At Participate! Indianapolis you’ll learn how to design participation-rich conferences through direct experience of participatory meeting techniques. During the one-day workshop you’ll experience those techniques first-hand, every one followed by a debrief and short “theory bites” session that covers the key concepts and background. To help you master them, the design techniques will be introduced in the order they’d appear during a participation-rich conference.

You’ll walk away with what you need to truly satisfy attendees by adding effective participation, learning, connection, and engagement — key to successful 21st century conferences — to your meetings.

Attending #WEC18? This workshop is a perfect match!

Participate! Indianapolis is scheduled at the start of the 2018 Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress in downtown Indianapolis, IN — June 2, near the Indiana Conference Center.

Save $200 with early bird registration when you register now — just $399 for the one-day workshop!

Indianapolis, IN • June 2, 2018 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Buy Now! $399

Who should attend:

  • Conference producers
  • Education directors
  • Meeting planners
  • Facilitators
  • Experience designers
  • Presenters
  • Community organizers
  • Anyone who needs to improve the effectiveness of meetings

Topics Include:

  • The Three Questions
  • How agreements transform your event
  • Roundtables
  • Why participation works
  • Human spectrograms
  • Experience versus listening
  • Crowdsourcing techniques
  • Emotion versus thinking
  • Audience voting techniques
  • The gifts of listening and capture
  • The Solution Room
  • Maintaining attention
  • Environments that support participation
  • Peer sessions
  • Effective short-form formats
  • Fishbowls
  • Using white space at events
  • Small group work
  • Planning versus improvisation
  • Pair share
  • What you need to know about technology
  • Personal introspective
  • Encouraging connections outside sessions
  • Plus/Delta
  • Group spective
  • Finding and working with peer facilitators
  • And more

Save $200 with early bird registration when you register now.

Indianapolis, IN • June 2, 2018 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Buy Now! $399

Workshop details

Workshop fee includes refreshments and lunch. Participate! will be held in downtown Indianapolis near the Indiana Conference Center. Attire is casual. For more information, contact Adrian Segar.

Join me at Blend Abu Dhabi on October 17!

I’m honored and excited to be presenting at Blend Abu Dhabi, a free one day conference for event professionals on global event industry trends, meeting innovation, and event technology at the new Yas Conference Centre, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.

Also presenting are industry luminaries Julius Solaris, the editor of Event Manager Blog the number one blog worldwide for event professionals, and Shawna Suckow, The Buyer Insider, a leading expert on buyer behavior.

Here are descriptions of my workshop and presentation.

Workshop — Participation Rich Meetings
How can you make your conferences highly relevant, important, and useful to your attendees? 

Every conference attendee arrives with unique wants and needs. They may be facing specific professional challenges or want to learn more about certain topics or issues. Many will want to connect with others who share their interests or who could benefit from their expertise and experience. Unfortunately, conventional fixed-content conference programs rarely provide the level of truly effective learning and connection that is possible.

We’ve known for twenty-five years how to design conferences that provide superior learning, connections, and outcomes. Unfortunately, centuries of exposure to old-school conference culture focused on pre-determined lectures by experts makes it difficult for event planners and stakeholders to adopt proven participant-driven and participation-rich approaches for improving their meetings.

In this short workshop, you’ll experience some of the simple yet potent core techniques you can use at the start of your conferences to uncover and facilitate the connection, learning, and outcomes your attendees actually want and need. You’ll learn, share, and connect with other session participants in ways that are relevant to your wants and needs without the use of artificial “ice-breakers” or high-tech. You’ll leave with key understandings and the motivation to incorporate participant-driven and participation-rich design elements into your meetings.

Presentation — Creating Participatory Meetings That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action
As meeting professionals, it’s easy for us to zero in on the extensive logistical requirements of any modern conference — that’s what we do! Unfortunately we invariably take for granted the traditional conference format we’ve experienced our entire lives. You know what I’m talking about: conferences where a few experts share content to an audience of passive listeners, and connections between participants are expected to occur outside the sessions during breaks, meals, and socials.

Well, today there’s a significantly better approach to conference design. An approach that creates and supports more effective active learning, more useful connections, greater engagement, and better action outcomes.

We now possess the tools to make fundamental meeting improvement happen!

This presentation (which includes some experiential learning) will introduce you to the global business and meeting industry trends that are making participant-driven and participation-rich formats increasingly crucial requirements if you want to keep your face-to-face events healthy, growing, and relevant in today’s world.

We’ll also cover the basic components of participant-driven and participation-rich conference designs that will deliver improved learning, connection, engagement, and action outcomes to your attendees and stakeholders.


I’m looking forward to experiencing the Yas Conference Centre (Abu Dhabi’s newest venue), meeting regional event professionals, and exploring the United Arab Emirates. I hope to see you there!

Help Wanted—Venues for my participation techniques workshops!

help_664316355_7fb5883812_oThe success of my last request for workshop help has inspired me to ask for more. Traditional meeting venues aren’t always the best fit for participant-driven events, and I’m looking for meeting spaces for my upcoming 1½ day participation techniques workshops that concentrate on inexpensive simplicity and flexibility rather than glitz and expensive high-end features. Over the years, I’ve convened conferences in all kinds of unconventional meeting spaces, such as churches, school auditoria, and corporate entrance halls, so don’t limit your suggestions to conventional venues.

[At the time of writing, I am especially interested in European venues for a February 2017 workshop I am planning with Jan-Jaap In der Maur. If you know a possible candidate, please get in touch ASAP!]

If you’ve worked with me before, you’ll know that I am super flexible about making deals that are win-win for everyone involved. (Example: Let us use your organization’s space in return for reduced/free fees for employees.) So let me know what you want and let’s see what we can create together!

Here’s what I need.

Minimum requirements
Location: Within reasonable (1 hour) reach of an airport. Includes or is close to appropriate accommodations. (Most, if not all, participants will need to stay overnight for at least one day; some for as many as three.)

Space: Ideally 2,500 sq. ft. (~230 square meters) or larger space that is substantially clear of pillars, fixed furniture/obstructions. Smaller spaces may be acceptable, depending on layout and attendance.

Furnishings: One moveable chair for each participant (25 – 40). A few tables.

Inexpensive A/V:

  • A digital projector and screen. (We have been quoted obligatory fees for a two-day rental that exceed the cost to buy a nice projector and screen. And a “technician” was extra.) At a pinch, we could use a large flat-screen TV and my laptop.
  • Appropriate sound reinforcement for workshops with over ~25 participants, including:
    • either a genuine Countryman E6 headset (1st choice) or a high quality lav wireless mike (2nd choice).
    • a handheld wireless mike plus stand.

Food and beverage:

  • Light provisions for one mid-morning and two mid-afternoon breaks.
  • Water, tea and coffee service available during the 1½ day workshop.
  • One dinner and one lunch. Breakfast optional (though it must be available locally.)

Nice to have
Some 48″ – 60″ rounds.

A second handheld wireless mike plus stand. (Nice to have, but only needed for larger workshops.)

An available second adjacent smaller room would be great.

Things to avoid
Venues that require using expensive house suppliers of food & beverage and A/V.

I am happy for the venue to be beautiful/interesting/impressive, but don’t want to spend participants’ fees on glitz.

Please help!
Know a venue that would be a great fit? Own one? Then please contact me now, using the form below. Thanks!

Your Location (required)

Your Suggested Venue(s) Region(s) (pick one or more)
AfricaAsiaCanadaCentral AmericaEastern EuropeEuropean UnionMiddle EastOceanaSouth AmericaThe CaribbeanUnited States - MidwestUnited States - NortheastUnited States - SouthUnited States - West

Image attribution: Flickr user tudor

The best way I know to radically improve your conferences

This 3-minute video explains why registering for one of my upcoming participation techniques workshops could be the best career decision you’ll make this year.

You’ll save $100 when you sign up for my Chicago workshop by September 9th, earn 16.00 CE hours, and — most important — learn how to significantly increase attendee satisfaction at your events.

Please share this post with your colleagues too! Thanks!

Stay informed about future workshops or help Adrian hold one!
Can’t make it to the Chicago workshop but want to be informed about future workshops? Interested in partnering with Adrian to hold a workshop in your location? Just complete the form below! Any information collected will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed.

Your Location (required)

Your Preferred Workshop Region(s) (pick one or more)
AfricaAsiaCanadaCentral AmericaEastern EuropeEuropean UnionMiddle EastOceanaSouth AmericaThe CaribbeanUnited States - MidwestUnited States - NortheastUnited States - SouthUnited States - West