Understanding the demographics of your meeting attendees is critical to the success and ROI of your meeting, ensuring your attendees stay engaged and invested in the goals of the event. With Generation Z entering the workforce, there are now four different generations potentially coming together, and meeting planners must recognize each generation’s point of view and learning habits to execute a program that interests every member of the audience.
This article is part of a series featuring a different generation, highlighting how each group differs and offering tips and tricks to keep them focused and energized throughout your event.
Generation Z: Who they are
While Generation Z is the newest group to the workforce, they might represent some of the savviest individuals we have seen. Born between 1995 and 2014, this generation is made up of nearly 2.6 billion young adults who have been silently listening to and learning from their predecessors, with an endless amount of knowledge available to them through the internet and other media channels. With news and content at their fingertips, they are hyper-aware of a now global community and what they need to do differently to impact change.
This generation not only lives through technology, but is also the first with the inability to recall life before the internet, social media, smart phones or constant connectivity. While all aspects of their lives have been immersed in technology since birth, Generation Z craves genuine connection, conversation and real face-time with their co-workers and leaders. They are entering the workforce with innovation, creativity and a desire to make a difference in the world.
What they need
So, what does all of this mean for event planners? How should you tailor your meetings to really hit it home with this group? For starters, try to throw any preconceived notions about them out the window. Generation Z is not so different from those that came before them. While they do have some unique intricacies, at the end of the day they want the ability to bring their ideas to the table, engage with others and make an impact on the company and world, whatever that impact may be.
Tips for your events
With all of this in mind, here are a few tips to engage Generation Z at your events:
Deliver authentic and meaningful content: Because of their immediate access to the most relevant content throughout their lives, Generation Z has a talent for easily identifying when something isn’t authentic. While important for all generations, ensuring your content resonates is even more essential for success with this group. Tip: Know a Gen-Zer? Consult them on the latest content and social trends. You might find something you could integrate into your event, for example, the hottest food trend of the moment.
Cater to their desire for real connection: Having grown up with social media and other forms of virtual connectivity, Generation Z longs for genuine interactions and face-to-face exchanges with their peers. Break up long general sessions with opportunities for networking and relationship building.
Give them a voice: Generation Z is ready to be heard. Satisfy this need by offering surveys or a forum where they can ask questions, give their opinion or offer up new ideas to be considered.
Speak their language: Technology isn’t a tool or an innovative approach for this group, it is part of their identity. Be sure technology and social channels are seamlessly incorporated into your event with consistent messaging across the board. Tech should not be an afterthought, it should be integral to your content and delivery.
Build a community of co-creation: Generation Z is socially conscious, and like Millennials, are motivated through inspiring change. Consider adding a CSR (corporate social responsibility) activity into your agenda, one that allows Generation Z to collaborate with others.