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Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Segar’

Review of Adrian Segar’s Book

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

How do you review the book of a friend and professional associate? Well, it depends. You can go the honest and open route or the reserved and little details route. We’re going to go the honest and open route when we review Adrian Segar’s “Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love.” Last August without reading the book, we blindly wrote the article “From The Playground to The Conference Room,” tying the basic ground rules of a conference discussed in Adrian’s book on peer conferences with a yearly program hosted here for young adults. The ground rules are intended to create a safe and intimate environment with principles like, “You will help to determine what happens at this conference” and, “What happens here will be kept confidential. You can feel safe here.”

After reading the first few chapters of the book, you can begin getting excited about your next conference – that is, if it’s a peer conference. Segar’s book tells you how to run your own peer conference.  I recommend this book for all planners, but strongly recommend for well-versed planners who want to open their eyes to new ideas and possibly bring clients a unique, refreshed experience. For new planners, it’s also a great read as the beginning of the book provides a background and history on all types of conferences; you may learn other new things along the way, such as selecting a conference site and the break-down of how much food you’ll need per person (he does love some math in the book). If the higher-power of a conference gives you some push-back on the format, Adrian gives you enough examples to end any uneasiness. Facts like 25% of attendees want to leave a traditional conference before it’s over left me shaking my head, which is why Adrian has been the king of peer conferences for many years. The book is logical and gives a step-by-step process to creating your own peer conference and steer committee (which can be made up of the attendees – surprising, right? But that’s why the attendees enjoy it, they create the content and agenda rather than the committee assuming the content participants are interested in learning). Adrian’s guide helps to create a conference so your attendees won’t ever ask themselves, “Why am I sitting through this tortuous conference?” If you do pick up his book whether it’s on Amazon or the book website, I strongly recommend attending an Event Camp event or unconference to fully grasp the process. Nothing fits the pieces of the puzzle together like reading his book and then, pairing it with a great experience (and a group of professionals in the events industry).

Open Now For a Glimpse at The Future

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Wouldn’t you like to know the future? As our October email states, we’ve seen it and we like it. In the fall white paper, “The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning” we take a trip to the future and discover what meetings will be like in the next 10 years. Are you curious? We thought you’d be. Read the full white paper which features conference innovators from Steelcase and Adrian Segar, organizer of Event Camp East Coast and author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love. And, if you’re a planner and you love perks, don’t be shy about signing up for our monthly e-mail. We send deals, offers and resourceful tips.

Fall White Paper on The Future of Meetings is Released Early

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

A futuristic idea by Steelcase – the Node chair

Beginning this year, we’ve released a quarterly white paper in a series we’ve named Meeting Discoveries. The spring white paper as many of you may have read was The Science of Food for Thought: Enhancing Meetings Through Food and explored research by Andrea Sullivan, an organizational psychologist with a passion for the study of the brain including brain food and field studies by Executive Chef Craig Mason of The National Conference Center. Our summer white paper Understanding Generational Differences: The Key to Attracting, Motivating and Retaining Your Workforce with generational evangelists Ann Fishman and Jeffrey Vargas, conference director of education and engagement Jeff Hurt and human resources manager Ildiko Agoston focused on classrooms and learning strategies to appeal to each generation. By CEOs and trainers understanding generational differences they’re better able to satisfy their employees and as a result, obtain more business with happier customers.

This week we’re rolling out the red carpet for our fall white paper, The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning. The interviews feature conference innovators – Adrian Segar, a peer conference designer by trade and author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love, Tom Condon, an interior designer for Steelcase and Dr. Lennie Scott-Webber Director of Education Environments for Steelcase.

  1. A strong emphasis of space & design in the future of conferences – the common theme that resonated with each conference innovator was helping people connect with each other. We’ll answer – Why does space and design play such a large role in collaboration and learning? Discover the cool and modern designs for environments by Steelcase.
  2. Traditional conferences will disappear - With lower satisfaction ratings and the ability to google or YouTube, attendees travel to a conference to network and learn material that’s of interest to them. Adrian Segar’s book will help you learn how to transition from traditional conferences – the white paper is a small peek into the concept of his book on peer conferences.
  3. Abundance of space becomes important – Condon recommends a venue with space that can be anamorphic, in order to create “a palette of places.” Learn more about “a palette of places” in the white paper and how these “out of the box” concepts will make up the future of conferences.
  4. Similar to Yelp, planners like businesses are listening – These three innovators rely on the feedback of conference evaluations to create a meeting that satisfies all. Meetings are steering away from the material transferred from planners to attendees in order to keep the conference material relevant and exciting.
  5. No fear for conference centers or planners – Readers and planners may be pleasantly surprised to discover that social media isn’t driving face-to-face events away, but in fact creating a need for one-on-one interaction.  Find out why people are attending for connections made.

What points in the white paper could you most relate to? Are the three trends surprising or educating you on new concepts? See the full white paper: The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning.

SURPRISE: The Future of Conferences Won’t Focus On…

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

For Steelcase, technology plays a role but isn’t the main focus,
instead the design focuses on collaborative learning.

You’ll be surprised to find out in the fall issue of our white papers series Meeting Discoveries that the future of conferences won’t focus on… technology. We interviewed three professionals in the meetings industry whom we consider to be conference innovators on current upcoming trends, the emphasis attendees are placing in their survey results and what’s most important in the future. A year ago, venues might have feared technology would take over and replace face-to-face meetings but according to these innovators, technology is important but doesn’t play an integral role in the future of learning. In fact, in the white paper (set to be published at the end of this month) you’ll discover that 70% of learning is believed to be a social interaction with others.

5 things you’ll discover in our fall white paper:

  1. How conferences are changing to adapt to the needs of attendees  – you might be surprised what a large emphasis is being placed on satisfying attendees to keep them returning each year.
  2. Discover why attendees are currently traveling to conferences – one hint: it’s not what you planned in your conference agenda.
  3. Find out what’s crucial for collaboration and learning – In order to increase collaboration and learning, know the unique traits of a setting that will help foster this at your conference.
  4. Know what conference innovators predict long-term – If you’re afraid of social media or think it’s distracting, consider incorporating it now.  It won’t play a large role, instead it’ll be considered a “birth-right,” similar to free Wi-Fi.
  5. Understand the difference between traditional conferences and peer conferences – It’s the difference between active versus passive learning and will make significant difference in the future of your meeting success.

What do you predict as the future of conferences and meetings? Have you foreseen trends in the past that you were right about; if so what were they?


[Round-Up] Our Favorite Posts: Oldies but Goodies

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Photo Credit: Flickr @abooth202

Every so often, we include a round-up of our favorite posts from the week past. However, with a collection of posts that we enjoy seeing again over time, we included 5 “oldie but goodie” posts by #eventprofs from around the world. These contain inspiring ideas and unique tips that are rarely shared with others. We caution you, these aren’t the same type of posts you’re accustomed to reading in your Google Reader each morning. After you read these, you’ll say it’s no wonder these 5 articles are “oldies but goodies”.

  • {Tahira Endean} If there were a pie chart of your life – does work, friends/family, play, recreation, and free time all have an equal slice? No? Well, why not? Tahira Endean’s March blog post, “Balance…ummm yeah” discusses the difficulty of balancing all of the points above especially for event professionals who often receive 24/7 demands in every direction. She shared this last night and although it was our first time reading the article, we knew it would be one we’d like to read again. Her post hits home for event professionals and describes “work life integration” in which we enjoy intersection points that bring these worlds together. Check out Tahira’s blog for tips on enjoying the ‘perfect moments’ and they key to accepting the unbalance.

  • {Adrian Segar} Heading to a site-tour? What will you bring? In this post by Adrian Segar, he shares his new favorite site tool for booking conferences at venues. You might suspect that all venues have floor plans and dimensions, but according to Adrian, “On a recent round of site visits, only one of seven facilities visited had this information readily available.” With that surprising news, you might be off to purchasing your new site tool.

  • {Sheila Scarborough} Using social media to attract meetings and conferences to your town – This is a post we often retweet again – a real “oldies but a goodie.” Most tourism articles entail successful social media strategies put in place by other CVBs, but Sheila Scarborough covers the important, but simple details to attracting meetings through social media. Some of these tips include completing a profile for your CVB on LinkedIn and reading other industry blogs and leaving insightful comments. Check out for a refresher on the small social media details that attract meetings.

  • {Liz King} Small touches that matter – In this December article from Liz King, Liz leaves us with inspiration on how to engage with our Twitter followers. With different time zones and schedules, it can be a task to get to know all of your followers. Whether 100 or 3,000, Liz’s selfless advice encourages you to take a moment out of your day to get to know 1 follower that day. Read the article from the blog of Liz King Events.

  • {Sparkloft Media} Is social media time “taxing” on you? Imagine 5 Twitter Accounts, 4 Flickr Groups and 5 (soon to be 6) Facebook Pages. This is an everyday for Amy Brock of Visit Savannah (CVB). In an interview with Amy Brock and Anne Hornyak of Sparkloft Media, you learn about her 5 “hats” and the personalities she becomes each day for the CVB. After reading this you’ll have a new outlook on social media accounts that once may have seemed time-consuming.  Thank you Anne Hornyak for the fabulous interview, it’s an “oldie but goodie” for anyone using social media or contemplating.

Do you know of any other “oldie but goodie” posts that should be included in this list? Share them with us in the comments section below.

How Vendors Can Learn Best Tradeshow Practices

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

You’ve budgeted money for trade shows year round which will hopefully generate leads and business for you, but have you thought about a conference to improve your exhibiting skills? Organized by Traci Browne of Red Cedar Marketing and Adrian Segar, author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love, Exhibit Camp is a conference for those directly involved in their organization’s exhibit program, including but not limited to sales managers, exhibit managers, and brand managers.

Over three enriching days, attendees will learn from the best, including a Kick-off Session with Marc Goldberg, a 25 year veteran of the exhibiting industry. All attendees will have the opportunity to submit the topics they want to learn about at Exhibit Camp and vote on their favorite based on interests. The camp will kick off Monday, August 1st at 2:30 pm and conclude the afternoon of Wednesday, August 3rd.

According to Adrian Segar on the Exhibit Camp Blog, a few things that will happen at the conference include:

  • You will learn a little about every person attending Exhibit Camp—their interests, their passions, their needs and wishes in the exhibit planning sphere—right away during the first session, the conference roundtable.

  • Whether you’re a grizzled industry veteran or a newcomer to exhibiting, Exhibit Camp will develop appropriate opportunities and support for learning and connections with your fellow attendees, without preconceptions about who the “experts” are.

  • You will be given some unusual (for conferences) freedoms at Exhibit Camp, like the freedom to ask questions, the freedom to talk about what is important to you, and the freedom to express what is coming up for you. You may find these freedoms, when combined with agreement on confidentiality, to be transformative.

  • Exhibit Camp may generate initiatives: further activities that some of its participants want to pursue. Such initiatives generally have great energy associated with them, and tend to be implemented successfully.

  • You will be given the time and structure needed to integrate and reflect on what you have learned, the tools necessary to determine consequent life and work changes, and the opportunity to explore the past, present, and future of the community we build.

We’re happy to serve as the host for Exhibit Camp 2011.  If you’d like to learn more about the conference, visit their website.

From The Playground to The Conference Room

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The basic ground rules set in elementary, middle and high school aren’t that far from each other.  The rules just become more defined and elaborate over time. Or, they also become understood, for instance no running in the hallway.  But, what about the basic ground rules of a conference?

In the book, Conferences That Work, the author Adrian Segar, a conference planner with over 20 years experience – informs us that in the professional world, employers allow us to establish our ground rules in groups. Yet, traditional conferences don’t have explicit ground rules.  To improve your conference, Segar sets a few ground rules for a safe and intimate conference:

  • “While you are here, you have the right and opportunity to be heard.”
  • “Your individual needs and desires are important here.”
  • “You will help to determine what happens at this conference.”
  • “What happens here will be kept confidential. You can feel safe here.”
  • “At this conference, you can create together with others, opportunities to learn and to share.”

According to Segar, by sending these powerful messages to attendees, it sets the stage and gives people permission to share and learn from each other. Recently, Leadership Loudoun Youth program hosted a retreat for a group of selected high school students at The National Conference Center. In this week-long program, these students participated in engaging activities, team-building exercises, and listened to guest speakers – all which promoted strengthening their leadership skills. At NCC, we explored how closely their program experience paralleled with Segar’s five ground rules of a safe and intimate conference.

Read below for a daily summary and how each ground principle played a role (note, some rules could have been applied more than once):

  • Day 1: Team building activities, a ropes course, and a leadership discussion. “At this conference, you can create together with others, opportunities to learn and to share.”
  • Day 2: Discussed the business and non-profit community and led an activity on networking, collaboration, and referral marketing. “Your individual needs and desires are important here.”
  • Day 3: Led a public speaking activity. “While you are here, you have the right and opportunity to be heard.”
  • Day 4: Coordinated a community service project (with Keep Loudoun Beautiful) for the class to clean-up litter trash and recyclables. “You will help to determine what happens at this conference.”
  • Day 5: A youth-drive and youth-led activity called, “Listening to Youth” which identified top issues addressed in the application process (from alcohol and drug abuse to the pressures of success). “What happens here will be kept confidential. You can feel safe here.”

Segar explains, “when attendees feel safe to share and empowered to ask questions and express what they think and how they feel, what happens at a conference can be amazing.” Based on the testimonials from Leadership Loudoun Youth, it appears the students were empowered to express their views and ask valuable questions – an experience created from setting the ground rules of a safe and intimate conference in the beginning.

**In an effort to make Loudoun County “The Best Place to Grow Up,” a partnership between Leadership Loudoun and Loudoun Youth, Inc., created Leadership Loudoun Youth.  The program consists of a group of selected high school students based on their how they view leadership and issues they see within Loudoun County. The National Conference Center is proud to have hosted the graduation ceremony for Leadership Loudoun Youth, Class of 2010. Congratulations! To find out more information, please visit Leadership Loudoun Youth.