Conferences that Work

Any questions? Rethinking traditional Q&A

Conferences that Work

How often have you heard “Any questions?” ” at the end of a conference session? Hands rise, and the presenter picks an audience member who asks a question. The presenter answers the question and picks another questioner. The process continues for a few minutes. Simple enough.

2019 312

Q&A with Adrian Segar on Crowdsourcing

Conferences that Work

This (slightly edited) interview by JT Long appeared in the March 2019 issue of Smart Meetings Magazine. What led to writing the book, Conferences that Work ?

2019 268

Dinner seating — a study

Conferences that Work

Study this 1839 dinner seating layout. What’s wrong with this picture? Read the full article at Conferences That Work The post Dinner seating — a study appeared first on Conferences That Work. No related posts. Event design dinner men only round tables rounds seating seating design

2019 287

Power in hotel rooms done right!

Conferences that Work

I’m reposting this simple idea for power in hotel rooms from a Facebook post by my friend Kristin Arnold. “Finally!! A smart hotel that put plugs on the head of the bed frame! Way to go Renaissance Atlanta concourse !”

Hotels 206

A Practical Guide to Measuring Event Success

Can you measure event ROI? 3 in 5 marketers can't. Learn how with this free ROI model.

Private government

Conferences that Work

As someone who loves to facilitate connection between people, I was struck by this New Yorker profile of the philosopher Elizabeth Anderson.

Being Present in the Age of the Mind Outside the Brain

Conferences that Work

The other day, Celia and I were walking in Boston’s beautiful Arnold Arboretum when she asked me who’d responded to an email I’d sent. When I pulled out my phone to answer her question, she said she felt she was walking with a third person, a stranger.

2018 303

The top educational meeting format

Conferences that Work

What’s an Ideal Meeting? April 2018, Meetings and Conventions Magazine Do you incorporate participatory sessions into your events?

Three differences between genuine and phony experiential conferences

Conferences that Work

“Experiential” is the new hot adjective used to describe events. “No more listening to speakers; you’re going to have experiences !” ” Sadly, many of these so-called experiential events are phony. The promoters slap a novel environment (e.g.,

2019 208

We are biased against truly creative event design

Conferences that Work

We are biased against creativity. Though most people say they admire creativity, research indicates we actually prefer inside -the-box thinking.

Effortlessly Interact with an Entire Audience from Any Location

1,000 Participants. 75 Locations. 1 Solution.

Five Reasons to Change Conferences

Conferences that Work

Here’s my article “ Five Reasons to Change Conferences “ , published in the December 2018, NSA Speaker magazine.

2018 244

Handling a meeting question that isn’t

Conferences that Work

We’ve all experienced the meeting question that isn’t. A session presenter or moderator asks for questions and someone stands up and starts spouting their own opinions. A concluding question (if they even have one) is little more than an excuse for their own speech.

2019 235

Stay on time!

Conferences that Work

Stay on time! Though it’s clearly sensible to keep a conference running on schedule, we’ve all attended meetings where rambling presenters, avoidable “technical issues”, incompetent facilitation, and inadequate logistics have made a mockery of the published program.

2019 195

When association leadership loses its way

Conferences that Work

Is it OK for a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit association to make large profits, pay its four top executives well over $1M per year, and yet do little for its members?

2018 253

Leadership for meetings

Conferences that Work

What might leadership for meetings look like? Let’s turn to Harold Jarche for inspiration: “Those doing the work are often the only ones who really understand the context. Leadership is helping build the structure and then protecting the space to do meaningful work.

2019 212

Events operate by stories

Conferences that Work

Events operate by stories. Our species doesn’t operate by reality. It operates by stories. Cities are a story. Money is a story. Space was a story, once. A king tells us a story about who we are and why we’re great, and that story is enough to make us go kill people who tell a different story. Or maybe the people kill the king because they don’t like his story and have begun to tell themselves a different one.”

2019 133

Many “experiential” events are just razzle-dazzle

Conferences that Work

Beware of “experiential” events that are just razzle-dazzle. “Experiential” has become a buzzword to use to describe hip events. Instead of listening to speakers, you’re going to have — wait for it — experiences ! Sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

2018 233

Improve meetings by de-emphasizing old-school status

Conferences that Work

You can improve meetings by de-emphasizing status. Apart from my first book , I haven’t written much about status at events. It’s time to revisit this important topic. I think about status at events as the relative levels of proclaimed or perceived social value assigned to or assumed by attendees.

2019 219

Scenes from a Participate! Workshop and Solution Room

Conferences that Work

[link] 40-seconds of highlights from the Participate! workshop and Solution Room I recently facilitated for the New York State Bar Association.

2018 245

The job you’ll be doing in the future hasn’t been invented yet

Conferences that Work

“The job you’ll be doing in the future hasn’t been invented yet. ” This is old news. The story of my professional life 1977: I earn a Ph.D. in applied elementary high-energy particle physics. Get a post-doc position and move to the United States. Work at major U.S.

2019 173

When association leadership loses its way

Conferences that Work

Is it OK for a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit association to make large profits, pay its four top executives well over $1M per year, and yet do little for its members?

2018 236

Have I Met You Before? Three ways to minimize embarrassment when meeting people

Conferences that Work

An embarrassing incident I was hanging out at the Marlboro South Pond Regatta , a whimsical affair where local sailors of all stripes and abilities casually “race” around a few buoys in the lake, sometimes stopping to chat mid-race with each other or watch our beautiful loons.

2018 257

Struggling to meditate daily

Conferences that Work

For three months now, I’ve meditated for twenty minutes every day. Personally this is a big deal, as I’ve struggled to maintain a regular meditation practice for decades. I’ve resolved countless times to meditate daily, and fallen off the mindfulness wagon over and over again.

2019 188

Liberating Structures 1-2-4-All has a big problem

Conferences that Work

While Liberating Structures include many useful ways to improve meetings and organizations, one of the “simplest” offered — “ 1-2-4-All ” — has a big problem. It claims to uncover a group’s “important ideas” in just twelve minutes.

2019 165

AlphaZero, machine learning, and the future of work

Conferences that Work

Not long ago I wrote about the end of decent paid jobs and the need for basic income. A startling recent advance in machine learning has only heightened my concerns.

2019 191

Bringing people together across divides

Conferences that Work

How can we bring people together across divides? In April 2017, I posted the following to the NCDD-DISCUSSION list. (

2019 179

Nobody is born ahead of their time

Conferences that Work

After watching Hannah Gadsby ‘s stunning show Nanette — which I highly recommend — here’s a small piece worth sharing. Gadsby starts with Vincent Van Gogh, looking at how we’ve come to lionize the idea of misunderstood genius. Born ahead of his time,” she says. What a load of s**t.

2018 228

Making large scale change happen

Conferences that Work

I recently came across some principles for “ making large scale change happen “ I think they’re worth sharing. Here’s the text version: Read the full article at Conferences That Work The post Making large scale change happen appeared first on Conferences That Work.

2019 181

Aim to serve rather than please

Conferences that Work

Although I’m simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the thousands of books and videos about “leadership” pumped out every year, a recent quote struck a chord: “You’ll do more good if you aim to serve more than you aim to please.” ” — S.

Participate! Lab at The EVENT MPI, April 4-6, Montréal

Conferences that Work

I’m excited to present my Participate! Lab at The EVENT , April 4-6, Montréal! I’ll also facilitate the closing Group Spective.

2019 165

How to enable Verizon free call filtering

Conferences that Work

Verizon is now offering free call filtering, but enabling it can be incredibly frustrating! Many reviews complain that, after downloading the Verizon Call Filter app, no option for the free version appears. Instead, you are only offered a free 10-day trial or the option to purchase a monthly subscription. Here’s how to activate the free version of Verizon Call Filter I found these instructions buried in a comment on the wonderful TidBITS website, posted by Paul7.

2019 146

Seating while Eating at Meetings

Conferences that Work

It’s no Comedians in Cars getting Coffee , but here’s my draft script for Seating while Eating at Meetings.

What’s most important about an event, the gift or the wrapping?

Conferences that Work

While writing about seeing the gifts in people and events I remembered one of my favorite scenes in Love Actually (2003).

2018 221

Today’s schoolrooms can teach adults the power of positive sharing

Conferences that Work

For years I’ve been reading to 3rd & 4th grade students at the Marlboro Elementary School , my amazing local public school. It’s a tiny school that currently serves around 100 pre-kindergarten – 8th grade children (4 – 13 years old).

2018 187

Is paid influencer marketing ethical in the event industry?

Conferences that Work

Paid influencer marketing is spreading to the event industry, and I doubt that it’s an ethical practice. Last week I received the following voice mail (identifying details have been bleeped; transcript below.). link].

2016 334

Learning in community at conferences

Conferences that Work

Legendary Apple designer Jony Ive explains how learning in community helped Apple make the iPhone: “When we genuinely look at a problem it’s an opportunity to learn together, and we discover something together. We know that learning in community is powerful.

Guaranteeing audience engagement at your events

Conferences that Work

Most people won’t ask questions at meetings. So how can you get authentic audience engagement at your events? In a thoughtful article “ Audience Engagement – at the Heart of Meetings “, Pádraic Gilligan writes: “…We all want audience engagement so why doesn’t it take place?…While

2016 299

What’s the best learning model for conference sessions?

Conferences that Work

We don’t usually think about the learning models we employ during conference sessions, and I believe our events would be better if we did. Conventional conferences assume a ready supply of experts to whom we listen while they cover the learning that has been advertised at their sessions.

2016 302

The meeting industry’s biggest dirty secret

Conferences that Work

There are some things that the meeting industry doesn’t like to talk about in public. For example: Revenue models. Who actually paid for all that sybaritic F&B? You’ll never know.). Clients from hell. They might figure out it’s them I was talking about and I need the business.).

2017 256