The Events Expert Interview Series #3: Adrian Segar

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Over the course of the next several months, we'll be interviewing some of the smartest, most interesting event professionals around--sharing their insights, advice, and unique experiences. This week we sat down with Adrian Segar, one of the hardest working experts we know.

1) You're an incredibly busy guy - an event consultant and facilitator, speaker, influencer, and blogger. You've also written two vital books: Conferences That Work and The Power of Participation. What does a typical day look like for you now, and what led you to this point?

I always get up around 7 am and pour myself a cup of cold-brewed coffee. I work best in the morning, so I go straight to my treadmill desk and work on my next book The Little Book of Event Crowdsourcing Secrets Pomodoro-style (25 -30 mins on and then a 5 minute break). I try to do 2 or 3 repetitions of this every morning, during which I eat breakfast, unless I have conflicting appointments. Then my daily routine varies: it includes client appointments, yoga, writing weekly blog posts, keeping up with the world both professionally and personally, non-profit work, and marketing. These days, I rarely work after 5 p.m.

As to what led me to this point, that's a short book in itself. My resume has a summary.

2) What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?

Deciding how I should spend my time. I have short-term and long-term plans, and new opportunities continually appear. There are a lot of choices I can make, and I constantly need to choose. This is a good challenge to have!

3) What types of event-related technology do you use or interact with?

Those who have read my books or blog posts know that I don't see "event technology" as the latest shiny gizmo or app but as something much broader - of which the most powerful (and oldest and overlooked) incarnation is what I call human process technology. When done right, the technology of changing the process we use in our meeting sessions is far more effective at creating useful learning and change than just about anything invented recently. My second book, The Power of Participation, is full of this kind of technology, supplemented with a few inexpensive low-tech items like pens and cards and sticky notes.

Having said that, I've been programming and using computers for fifty years, and they've completely changed my life.

4) What do you see as the biggest trend(s) in events this year, particularly in relation to event technology?

I'm going to shill for what I do, because I'm in danger of being swamped with the amount of participant-driven and participation-rich design and meeting facilitation I've already booked this year. Slowly but surely, the meeting industry is learning that the old lecture-saturated conference model is increasingly inferior to meeting designs that incorporate the active learning, connections, engagement, and outcomes that attendees actually want and need.

5) If you could give event planners / marketers one piece of advice, what would that be?

There are too few people who know how to create better meetings, and this provides a golden opportunity for meeting professionals to stand out from the competition by learning how to design and facilitate them. I am offering experiential workshops to help fill this need, and I encourage forward-looking meeting professionals to check them out.

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