The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action

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9781511555982: The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action
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"This is a book that should be OPEN on every meeting planner's or event marketer's desk, and used every day."--Paul Salinger, VP of Marketing, Oracle

In his bestselling book Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love Adrian Segar taught readers how to design and execute remarkable conferences. But this book focuses on improving meetings at a finer level--the individual meeting sessions.

Today, the most common reason that people give for attending face-to-face meetings is making valuable connections. Yet, time and time again, "networking" is relegated to meals and socials outside the sessions, and events are filled with lectures followed by a few minutes of audience questions. The Power of Participation provides conference presenters, organizers, and marketers with a comprehensive toolkit of simple techniques for creating participative sessions that involve the audience in their learning. Adrian Segar shows how you can turn passive attendees into active participants, which boosts learning, adds opportunities to meet and learn with peers during sessions, builds community and engagement, and improves desired action outcomes at your events.

Smart presenters and meeting organizers are integrating experiential learning and peer connection into their events. This book tells you how to do it. Buy The Power of Participation to learn why it's so important to incorporate participant action into every aspect of your event, what you need to know to create a meeting environment that supports and encourages participation, and when and how to use this extensive compendium of specific, detailed techniques to radically improve your sessions and meetings.

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About the Author:

Adrian is an acknowledged innovator and speaker on participant-led event design, and facilitates two popular opening and closing plenaries--The Solution Room and A Personal Introspective--at conferences in North American and Europe. He has presented at just about every major meeting industry conference. Adrian is the community manager for the weekly #Eventprofs Happy Hour Hangout. He organized and facilitated two EventCamps--volunteer-run, innovative, experimental conferences for event professionals--in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Adrian has been honored as a BizBash Event Industry Innovator & MeetingsNet Industry Top Online Influencer, and been quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He blogs regularly on event design, logistics, presentations, and many other related topics at

At the age of 25, Adrian was awarded a Ph.D. in elementary particle physics from University College, London. 37 years later, the experiment he worked on was awarded the 2009 European Physics Prize. He has owned and managed a solar energy manufacturing company, taught college level computer science, and was a sought-after independent information technology consultant for over 20 years.

Adrian lives in Marlboro, Vermont, is the founder and president of two non-profits, and loves to sing and dance.

Even more biographical information--what, that wasn't enough?--can be found at


"The Power of Participation is a must for anyone who needs guidance in modernizing meetings. We are moving into a new stage of post industrial meetings where all participants are valued, not only those behind the microphone. Well designed participation is key, and Adrian Segar shows us the way. Buy it, read it and do it!"
--Eric de Groot, Meeting Designer, and co-author of Into the Heart of Meetings

"Adrian Segar's work is crucial for the evolution of the event industry. This book is a mandatory read for the modern event professional. Adrian shares a logical approach to changing our outdated event designs, and guides you with practical techniques towards a value centered model, where the clear winners are both the conference organizer and the attendee. The Power of Participation provides the first step towards achieving conference success."
--Julius Solaris, Editor, and author of The Event App Bible, Social Media for Events, and The Good Event Registration Guide

"Too many conferences are top-down, over-caffeinated, information dumps. Adrian Segar has figured out a different model: a participatory, community-driven event that yields benefits that last far beyond the conference itself. If you want to make a lasting difference with your group today, you owe it to yourself to read this book."
--Dr. Nick Morgan, President of Public Words and author of Power Cues

"A must read handbook of the what, why, and how to move passive conference consumer-based attendees to active engaged participants."
--Jeff Hurt, EVP, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

"We have to start meeting like this! A treasury of proven techniques, clearly written, based on first-person experience and deep insights."
--Bernie DeKoven, Author of The Well Played Game, game designer, and fun theorist at --Editorial Reviews

"Adrian wants to transform attendees into participants. And in this book, he shows you how to do it. As an organizer of professional conferences for the past decade, I wish I had come across Adrian's books earlier in my life. It would have made me more confident and competent."
--Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan, Founder and Resident Mad Scientist, the Thiagi Group

"Love The Power of Participation! It's a fabulous compilation of techniques to bring more interaction to your conferences. I'll be keeping this reference book handy whenever I design a meeting for a client."
--Kristin J. Arnold, CPF, CSP, Founder of Quality Process Consultants, and past president of the National Speakers Association

"Enough with mind-numbing, snooze-generating conferences! Participation-driven conferences involve, engage, and energize participants, resulting in longer-lasting learning and more meaningful connections. With The Power of Participation as your guide, you can confidently plan, design and run participant-driven events. And what a powerhouse of information you'll find in the compendium of participation techniques. No one should plan a conference without this book!"
--Naomi Karten, author of Managing Expectations and other books

"When the Spanish conquistadores first came to what is now New Mexico, they brought only a small variety of European woodworking tools. Native woodmakers had no drills or lathes, so they developed styles of furniture that displayed neither round holes nor turnings. Today, of course, New Mexico woodworkers may choose from a catalog containing hundreds of tools, so their furniture styles are much more varied.

Adrian Segar's The Power of Participation is like a catalog of tools--not for designing furniture, but for designing meetings. If you know only a more limited collection of meeting tools, your meetings will have a "style" that lacks the variety needed to deliver "learning, connection, engagement, and action." No wonder your people will say they hate meetings.

If you want to improve your meetings, keep a copy of Adrian's "catalog" right there on your desk, always ready for instant access. Better yet, study the tools in his catalog so they're right there in your brain, always ready to build first-class meetings that everyone loves."
--Gerald M. Weinberg, The Consultants' Consultant, author of over 40 books, including classics The Psychology of Computer Programming and An Introduction to General Systems Thinking --More Editorial Reviews

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