I was recently a motivational speaker for a chamber of commerce event where we divulged reasons young professionals don't attend live events. This blog is intended to counter these issues and stop the attrition of younger professionals.
To really engage millenials and get them to sign up for and attend association and industry events, consider the following:
- Counter their short attention span and keep them engaged. Make sure your events address issues that younger professionals are interested in like technology, getting ahead in their career, etc. Gen Y love interaction and humor so hire a funny motivational speaker who will use humor tied to interaction with the audience.
- Give them instant gratification. Use promotional methods that offer immediate incentives like sign up now and get a discount, a free report ( ie - best places to visit in the city the convention is held), a backstage pass to a special event, etc
- They travel in packs. Gen Y like to attend events with their younger peers, so encourage group discounts or incentives. Make it "cool or hip"to go to attend your event.
- Create healthy competition. Just turn on the TV and notice its all the rage; reality TV has reinforced this generations love for healthy competition. Create fun competitive games that highlight organizations and their people who come to your events. In associations you have a wonderful opportunity for engagement between industry competitors and partners, played right you could create some fun engagement and rapport.
- Put them in the spotlight. Ask Gen Y to write an article or introduce a motivational speaker. They love to strut their stuff so give them the opportunity and it will build loyalty.
- Utilize Technology. Event planners must embrace technologies like twitter, linkedin, etc to keep the discussion going. At the very least create a blog about the event, have the conference chair, the motivational speaker and other guest speakers write blog posts. Encourage interaction through comments on your blog. One meeting planner set up a text message sign up system for their registrations and had huge success.
- Don't forget the follow up. Keep the learning going through continual interaction in your online communities. This is where you will continue to engage Gen Y for future events. Younger professionals want to be in the know and be a part of the trend so they won't want to miss it!
Capturing the attention of millenials may take effort but it is worth it to keep our associations and events strong and healthy.