Four Event Industry Authors to Follow
By Danalynne Wheeler Menegus
One way event professionals choose to share their expertise within the industry is through books. In the past several months, I’ve read a number of editions that run the gamut from self-help to event design and strategic planning to improving sales. Here are some of our top picks.
Create Conferences That Work
Adrian Segar, event design expert and founder of Conferences That Work, is also the author of two books on event design. Segar wrote Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love to share with a larger audience the techniques he had discovered to be successful.
“I invented [the Conferences That Work methodology], and people within my community kept asking me about it,” Segar says.
He continued, “I didn’t really know who might find it interesting, but I decided to write the book — and I thought that would be it. But then I realized there was a whole set of techniques that I was using in sessions that weren’t in the book but were really valuable.”
Segar says his second book, The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action, is basically a compendium of tools for conference planners and designers. The book is organized in a way that allows readers to quickly find techniques that will work for their specific meeting needs and walk them through the planning and facilitation process.
Segar is currently working on his third book, which will have a similar toolkit-like format. Focused on event content crowdsourcing techniques, it is slated to be published later this year.
Build Connections by Finding Common Ground
Jessica Leigh Levin is an entrepreneur, founder and president of Seven Degrees Communications, and speaker who delights in connecting people. She was also the co-founder and co-host of the inaugural Event Camp conference in 2010. Her first book, Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People, helps teach people how to network and build connections for themselves and others, throughout all areas of life.
“I always wanted to write a book,” said Levin. “A dear friend, (industry legend) Jeff Hurt, asked me, ‘Well, what do you know about?’”
She continued, “The answer was connecting people — so that’s what I wrote about. It’s an underlying theme of everything we do. We put on networking events and look for ways to bring people together. It’s how we grow our businesses and how we get our ideas. It’s based on everything that I’ve learned that has worked for me.”
Levin’s latest, Everyone Has Sh*t: Unsolicited Advice for Being Human, which was published in late 2017, is more personal. She sprinkles anecdotes from her own experiences throughout the book, illustrating how and why we should all do our best to become less judgmental and more compassionate.
“If one chapter makes a difference in someone’s life, then that makes me happy,” she said. “At the end of the day, even if you’ve got nothing else, be a nice person.”
To Plan Strategically, Approach Life Strategically
In October 2018, The Strategic Planning Guide for Event Professionals: How Strategic Events Will: Ignite Your Career, Transform Your Company & Elevate the Entire Meeting Industry was published. Author Christy Lamagna is the founder and chief strategist of Strategic Meetings & Events, as well as a coach, speaker and intellectual philanthropist — and another master connector. She also regularly blogs for Corporate Event News.
Lamagna believes in the power of approaching everything from a strategic perspective. In The Strategic Planning Guide, she calls upon years of experience to illustrate mistakes that even senior planners can easily make, and provides tips on ways to improve the meeting experience for attendees while increasing return on investment.
“I poured a lot of what I know, but also who I am into this book,” said Lamagna. “I have an overwhelming desire to leave the industry better than I found it, and to help people navigate the profession and their lives with a few less bumps in the road.”
Lamagna is already working on her next book, which she says will take the principles of event planning and apply them to the biggest event that we all experience every day: life.
Take Advice, Share Advice
Consultant, speaker and SPIN founder Shawna Suckow co-authored Frankly Speaking…Insider Advice (Most) Meeting Planners Won’t Share With Speakersin 2018 with fellow SPINners Maralynn Adams, Bonni Scepkowski and Tracey Smith. It’s Suckow’s fourth book, all of which are advice-based.
“I was inspired to write my first book, Planner Pet Peeves, because I had been hearing the same complaints from planners for 20 years,” Suckow said, adding that she was certain it would benefit both sides to share that knowledge.
She went on to write similar books of advice for suppliers and for salespeople trying to better understand buyer behavior and motivations. But co-authoring with friends was a different type of experience, said the self-described “ninja unicorn” — and a fun one.
“The book is a series of recorded, transcribed conversations between the four of us,” Suckow explained.
She added, “That was the best part — we really did it together, rather than the four of us writing separately and Frankensteining the thing together. Everybody participated equally, and everybody had something vital to contribute.”
What other books by event industry professionals you would recommend? Let us know in the comments or share with us on Twitter.