Techniques for Turning Meeting Attendees Into Participants
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Techniques for Turning Meeting Attendees Into Participants

Techniques for Turning Meeting Attendees Into Participants

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Catalyst Ranch

656 West Randolph Street


Chicago, IL 60661

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For over 25 years, international conference and participation expert Adrian Segar has been designing and facilitating Conferences That Work: successful, innovative, highly interactive, participant-driven events that leverage attendees' expertise and experience to create just the conference that participants want and need. Now Adrian brings his expertise to the Midwest for this 1½ day workshop, a unique opportunity for you to:

  • learn how to make your conferences and conference sessions far more engaging and effective;
  • gain powerful meeting design insights;
  • significantly increase participation and satisfaction at your sessions and events; and
  • earn 16.00 CE hours through the Convention Industry Council's CMP Preferred Provider Program.

The workshop format focuses on active learning through direct experience of a multitude of participatory meeting techniques. Adrian will use cycles of technique experiences followed by debriefs, interspersed with short “theory bites” that cover important background knowledge and concepts. Techniques will be introduced in approximately the order they might appear during a typical participation-rich event. The syllabus below gives more detail on what will be covered.

Here Adrian discusses the workshop and the value it brings to your meetings and events.

Adrian Segar will lead the workshop (with the help of participants from time to time). He has been convening, designing, and facilitating conferences for over 35 years, concentrating on participant-driven and participation-rich event facilitation and design since 1992. Adrian is the author of two popular books on event design and has run many participation techniques workshops in the United States and Europe.

Adrian’s book Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love has been described as “THE how-to manual” on creating events that truly engage and capitalize on attendees’ collective wisdom and experience. His latest book, The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—described by Paul Salinger, VP of Marketing, Oracle, as a book that “should be OPEN on every meeting planner’s and event marketer’s desk, and used every day”—is a compendium of core participation techniques that meeting planners and presenters can use to significantly improve any meeting session.

Adrian is an acknowledged innovator and speaker on participant-led event design, and facilitates two popular opening and closing plenaries—The Solution Room and The Personal Introspective—at many conferences. He has presented at just about every meetings industry event, including Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders, PCMA Education Conference, Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress, IBTM, MPI Chapter meetings, the MPI Chapter Business Summit, HSMAI MEET, and FRESH, GMIC & NESAE annual conferences. Adrian has been named as one of the most innovative event professionals by BizBash Magazine, one of MeetingNet’s Eleven Most Influential Online Personalities in Meetings and Travel, and has been quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He was the 2011-13 community manager for the weekly #eventprofs Twitter chat, and is the community manager of the Google Plus #eventprofs community, where he hosts the popular weekly #Eventprofs Happy Hour Hangout.

Testimonials from earlier workshops

  • “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, former Director of Curriculum, Georgia MPI Chapter
  • “ Your workshop was a breath of fresh air.” Participant at Adrian’s 2012 EIBTM Participation Techniques Workshop
  • “ 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, former VP Communications for the Georgia Chapter of Meeting Professionals International
  • “Just came back from @AffordableMTGS in Chicago. @ASegar was the best facilitator/presenter….by far!” De-de Mulligan, CMP, CMM, former Director of Education, Ohio MPI Chapter
  • “The attendees are still here talking to each other! That never happens!” Conference education director, ten minutes after Adrian finished facilitating a national association forum
  • “…one of the very best facilitators I’ve ever worked with onsite.” Mitchell Beer, President, Smarter Shift

For more information about Adrian Segar, visit


The workshop will run from 1 - 8 pm on March 20 and 7am - 4 pm on March 21. 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 covered

Some techniques will be experienced as components of others. This will help develop participants’ tool chests of techniques that can be brought into service when needed.

The Three Questions


Human spectrograms

Crowdsourcing techniques

Anonymous, semi-anonymous, and public voting techniques

The Solution Room


Small group work

Personal introspective


Group spective

Theory bites

How covenants transform your event

Why participation works

Experience versus listening

Emotion versus thinking

The gifts of listening and capture

Maintaining attention

Effective short form formats

Using white space at events

Planning versus improv

What you need to know about technology that you don't

Encouraging connections outside sessions

Environments that support participation (several sessions)

Finding and working with peer facilitators


When: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM; Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM (CDT) - Add to Calendar

Where: Catalyst Ranch - 656 West Randolph Street #3W, Chicago, IL 60661 - View Map

Continuing Education Credits: This course is accredited by the Convention Industry Council. At the conclusion of the workshop, a list of verified attendees will be submitted for CMP continuing education credits. Attendees will be awarded 16.00 CE hours through the Convention Industry Council's CMP Preferred Provider Program for full attendance at the workshop.

Cost: $599 (includes refreshments, Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast & lunch).

Hotel accommodation: Catalyst Ranch has reserved a room block at the Crowne Plaza, down the street from the workshop venue.

Parking: Indoor lot at 180 N. Jefferson Street (Entrance is on Lake Street between Jefferson & Des Plaines, right next to the Subway Sandwich Shop – as the Catalyst Ranch has a $10 validated parking good for 12 hours)

Still got questions?: Contact Jody Devins, for venue questions, Adrian Segar, for more information about the workshop.

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Catalyst Ranch

656 West Randolph Street


Chicago, IL 60661

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