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.
Millennials: Who they are
By 2020, Millennials will make up 46% of the U.S. workforce. With such a staggering figure, it is important to acknowledge who Millennials are, what gets them excited and motivated and how to keep them engaged at your events. Millennials have some basic characteristics as identified by Forbes: They are tech-driven, social, collaborative, adventure-seekers and passionate about their values.
Born somewhere between 1980 and the early 1990s, this generation has come under more scrutiny than other generations preceding them. They are often called lazy, self-centered and “trophy kids,” getting praise just for participating. While there are bound to be Millennials that fit this mold (and Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, etc. for that matter), many describe Millennials as open-minded, socially conscious and value-driven. There is no doubt there is a higher focus on self with this group, but that can translate to their desire to be included, heard, challenged and mentored versus some of the more negative characteristics that are tacked on to this generation.
What they need
As an event planner, it is important to keep this generation in mind when planning your next event. So where to begin? To start, try not to focus on all the negative characteristics attributed to them but think of all the positives they bring to the table. Their ability to integrate technology into their daily routine, their social tendencies and natural desire to collaborate should all be things to tap into during your event.
Tips for your events
Keeping the above in mind, here are a few tips for engaging Millennials at your next event:
Embrace mobile: Millennials treat their phones as an extension of themselves. Instead of fighting it, try to incorporate mobile phones and other technologies into your meeting. A great place to start is an event app. Most Millennials will almost expect there to a mobile element to the event, so including it from the start will start them off engaged and ready, and let them know it is ok to use their phones. Having an app will also look impressive to your older generations and may encourage them to be engaged in a mobile arena they might not be otherwise.
Promote social media: Millennials love social platforms, especially Instagram. Give them a hashtag to mention your event. Not only do they get to share the cool and unique experience, but you get the added bonus of free promotion for your event and company.
Encourage involvement: Throughout your event, provide opportunities for Millennials to feel involved and interact. This can be achieved through live polling, networking breaks, asking questions to the audience and round tables.
Utilize games: Millennials can be a little bit competitive, both with others and themselves. Leverage this competitive spirit by incorporating games into the agenda that tie back into your content to really drive the message home. And no, you don’t have to give out a participation trophy at the end.