Learn to Design Participation-Rich Conferences
Learn to design participation-rich conferences at Participate! Labs.
“You don’t take a workshop. You are part of one.”
We’ve known for a long time that lectures are terrible ways to learn. Today’s attendees are no longer satisfied to sit and listen to people talking at them. If you want to design conferences where effective learning, connection, and engagement take place, you need to build in authentic and relevant participation. Luckily, there are ways you can learn how to design participation-rich conferences!
Attend a Participate! Lab
At a Participate! Lab you’ll learn how to design participation-rich conferences through direct experience of participatory meeting techniques and formats. During the Lab you’ll experience formats first-hand, followed by debriefs and short “theory bites” that cover key concepts and background.
Participate! Labs are highly interactive and fun. During them, you will meet and learn about and from your fellow participants while engaging with the processes and background needed to create events that change people’s lives.
Labs last between a few hours and a day or more. Each Lab is customized to participants’ wants and needs.
Who should attend?
- Conference producers
- Education directors
- Meeting planners
- Experience designers
- Community organizers
- Anyone who needs to improve the effectiveness of meetings
Your Lab Leader
Adrian Segar leads Participate! Labs (with your help!) For over 35 years, he’s been convening, designing, and facilitating conferences. Adrian began focussing on participant-driven and participation-rich event facilitation and design in 1992. He is the author of three best-selling conference design books, and has run numerous Participate! Labs in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.
Your own custom Lab!
Want a custom Lab designed for your company, organization, association, or community of practice? Contact Adrian to discuss a Lab designed to satisfy your needs and wants at a location and time that works for you.
Upcoming public Labs and registration links
To stay informed about upcoming Labs, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. Labs will be added or updated as plans develop; the latest information will be displayed here, so check back regularly!
- No current upcoming workshops
Perhaps you own my book about meeting participation techniques. If you want to be able to fully use them effectively you need to experience the techniques rather than read about them, as a Lab participant discovered in 2011.
A Participate! Lab focuses on learning through direct experience of a multitude of participatory meeting techniques. We use cycles of technique experiences followed by debriefs, interspersed with short “theory bites” that cover important background knowledge and concepts. Techniques are introduced in approximately the order they might appear during a typical participation-rich event. Here’s what we’ll typically cover.
- Techniques & theory.
- The Three Questions.
- How agreements transform your event.
- 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 and fishbowl sandwiches.
- 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.
- Group Spective.
- Finding and working with peer facilitators.
- And more!
- “…the master of participatory meetings…” Rosa Garriga Mora, Meeting Architect, Kenes Group
- “I saw Adrian facilitating today, he’s a wizard, amazing :-).” Thorben Grosser, General Manager, Europe, EventMobi
- “I have heard nothing but glowing reviews about your workshop with GaMPI. I am sick that I missed it. You left a lasting impression and helped our group a lot.” Stephanie Henriksen, Director of Sales & Marketing, Proforma Irvine Group
- “Your workshop was a breath of fresh air.” Participate! Lab participant, EIBTM, November 2012
- “I’ve been sending e-mails to clients apologizing for NOT coming by their offices and taking them to Adrian’s presentation. I am so ashamed! I kept THEM from experiencing one of the most productive and informative workshops I have ever attended. It was great networking too!” Kevin Priger, Sales Manager, Atlanta’s Technology Park Convention Hotels
- “Just came back from @AffordableMTGS in Chicago. @ASegar was the best facilitator/presenter….by far!” De-de Mulligan, CMP, CMM, President, Mulligan Management Group, LLC
- “Events need engagement and participation, and Adrian Segar is the lead authority on the subject.” Julius Solaris, Editor of Event Manager Blog
- “…one of the very best facilitators I’ve ever worked with onsite.” Mitchell Beer, President, Smarter Shift
Stay informed about Labs or help Adrian hold one!
Interested in attending a Participate! Lab, or partnering with me to hold a Lab in your location? Please fill out the form below. All information collected will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed.