The Power of Participation Workshops – POPWORKS

by Adrian Segar

Do you want to know how to design and moderate participation-rich events?


Meetings change. From speaker-driven to participant-centric.

We’ve known for a long time now that lectures are terrible ways to learn anything. Increasingly, meeting attendees are no longer satisfied to sit and passively listen to speakers.

If you want to create meetings where effective learning, connection, and engagement take place you need to build appropriate active participation into your conference design and meeting sessions.

Who are these workshops for?
POPWORKS provide essential education and experience for meeting planners, owners, facilitators, designers, community organizers, and presenters who want to significantly improve the effectiveness of their sessions and meetings by incorporating powerful participatory techniques that facilitate better learning, connection, engagement, and outcomes.

Upcoming open workshops and registration links
To stay informed about upcoming workshops, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. Workshops will be added or updated as plans develop; the latest information will be displayed here, so check back regularly!

  • San Francisco: 1½ day workshop, 2017.
  • Boston: 1½ day workshop, 2017.

Help request for 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 workshop participant discovered in 2011.

POPWORKS 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. The syllabus below gives more detail on what we’ll typically cover.

I’ll lead the workshop (with your help!) For over 35 years, I’ve been convening, designing, and facilitating conferences. I’ve concentrated on participant-driven and participation-rich event facilitation and design since 1992. I’m the author of two popular books on event design — Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love and The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action — and have run many participation techniques workshops in the United States and Europe.


  • …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.” POPWORKS 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

This is a typical syllabus for a 1½ day workshop. Other workshop durations are possible. Every workshop is unique — what happens will be influenced by the interests and expertise of participants.

The workshop will begin after lunch on Day 1 and conclude after a full Day 2. Participants must be present at the start of the workshop, and full attendance is strongly recommended for the best possible experience. Because the agenda is somewhat flexible, a precise schedule is not given here, but the following techniques and theory bites will be covered over the 1½ days.

Techniques & theory
The Three Questions
How agreements transform your event
Why participation works
Human spectrograms
Experience versus listening
Crowdsourcing techniques
Emotion versus thinking
Anonymous, semi-anonymous, and public voting techniques
The gifts of listening and capture
The Solution Room
Maintaining attention
Environments that support participation (several sessions)
Peer sessions
Effective short form formats
Using white space at events
Small group work
Planning versus improvisation
Pair share
What you need to know about technology that you don’t
Personal introspective
Encouraging connections outside sessions
Group spective
Finding and working with peer facilitators

Stay informed about workshops or help Adrian hold one!
Interested in attending POPWORKS, or partnering with me to hold a workshop 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.

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