There has been so much buzz around millennials over the past few years, but as a meeting planner, it is important to understand all generational demographics to execute a successful event. By considering all generations during the planning process, you increase your ROI and have more engaged participants throughout your meeting.
Rounding out our quarterly series on how different generations differ and offers tips and tricks for connecting with each group, this quarter focuses on Baby Boomers.
BABY BOOMERS: Who they are
Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, were not too long ago the majority of America’s labor force. But now in their 50s to 70s, many Boomers are retiring. While this group may be shrinking in numbers in the workplace, their influence is not. Sometimes historically known as the “flower power” generation, this generation was central to shaping our country and includes key players in the civil rights movement, women’s liberation and the Vietnam War.
Instead of “connecting” through social media, this group made phone calls and wrote letters to build relationships, giving them strong intrapersonal skills. They value relationships and thrive in team environments. And although they didn’t grow up with technology, they have adopted its use into their lives as a means of productivity, versus the millennial viewpoint of connectivity.
This generation grew up chasing the “American Dream,” and they attained that white picket fence, stable career, kids and minivan by adhering to their strong work ethic, sometimes at the cost of work-life balance. They enjoy structure and discipline and don’t find it hard to put immense focus into one subject or task.
What they need
As a meeting planner, how do you wrap up all these characteristics into your next event? As with each generation we have discussed, try to approach your event without bias towards one generation or the other. Yes, millennials are now the largest demographic in the workplace, but you cannot forget to cater to the more seasoned generations as well. Baby Boomers need face-to-face time, team settings and impactful and informational content.
Baby Boomer tips and tricks
With these Boomer traits in mind, here are some helpful ideas for your next meeting or event:
Offer group activities. Unlike younger generations, Baby Boomers are more interested in networking during an activity versus having a unique experience. Make sure to offer options for hosted activities to appeal to all generations. Baby Boomers are likely to appreciate the tried and true options of golf and spa as well.
Offer purpose-oriented tech. Make sure technology serves a purpose other than connectivity. In order for Baby Boomers to adopt your event technology, make sure it enhances the efficiency of the meeting. Utilize mobile registration, online agendas and maps and other features that add to the logistics of the event. Once they have adopted the technology in this manner, they might even check it for social purposes. But don’t rely on it too much that it diminishes the face time Boomers crave.
Leave time in your agenda for group discussion. Tap into Baby Boomers’ intrapersonal skills by offering roundtable discussions during your general session.
Because of their balance between competition and teamwork, Baby Boomers still value awards dinners. They work hard to set goals and achieve them, so a little recognition is nice and appreciated.