The Difference Between Participation and Engagement


“I see engagement as something that is more of a group property than comes out of people participating. If you don’t have participation, you don’t have engagement.” — Adrian Segar, Conferences That Work

Think conferences are always boring? Think again. Adrian Segar joins Driving Participation to talk about how he has revolutionized the concept of conferences to make them interesting and most importantly, engaging. With that, he and Beth also discuss the distinction and intersection between “participation” and “engagement.” What is the difference? How are they connected? With his past in organizing some of the earliest, if not the first, conferences on solar energy, he explains how events can create a stronger relationship between an association or organization and its community. He explores how the rise of online content has changed the nature of events and why the “traditional meeting” has become obsolete. He and Beth discuss:

  • What is a “fishbowl sandwich”?
  • What is targeted and active learning and why is it important?
  • How do events, association, sponsored or organized events serve as one of the primary ways an association can provide value for their membership?
  • How Adrian describes the “arc of a participatory event”
  • The two main reasons people say they want to go to meetings
  • How to make conferences still feel relevant and necessary in the age of online
  • How to get people to connect at a conference or event


Adrian’s website (books available online):

Explanation of a Plus Delta evaluation


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