Millennials and Gen Z represent an increasingly significant part of the workplace today. This tech-savvy group often bypasses live events in favor of online networking and learning. Not surprisingly, meeting professionals have seen number drop as baby boomers retire and millennials take their place at work.
It's harder to motivate this group to attend live events. This blog is intended to counter these issues and stop the attrition of younger professionals.
Technology seems to favor a more transactional business model and is less relationship driven. Events help build and solidify relationships. Face to face relationships catapult careers and personalize our connections.
If events are all about delivering content, most of that information is online. Millennials and Gen Z represent an increasingly significant part of the workplace today.
Younger generations are very good at getting what they want online. Event professionals need to look at ways to get conference delegates involved, solve their problems and include their input.
Making events more dynamic and interactive will help make this group more eager to attend.
To engage younger generations and get them to sign up for and attend association and industry events, consider the following:
- Younger professionals love to take pictures and post them online. Capitalize on this by giving them picture worthy backdrops, have event hashtags where they can connect and share photos
- Many people suffer from Fear of Missing Out ( FOMO), when you create online buzz people will feel compelled to attend
- Thanks to digital influences, studies show attention spans have dropped drastically, and are currently under 9 seconds. Thus, people only pay attention for 9 seconds before they feel the need to shift their focus. Given shorter attention spans we have to work harder to keep audiences engaged. Make sure your events address issues that younger professionals are interested in related technology, getting ahead in their career, etc. Gen Y love interaction and humor so hire a funny keynote 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 (i.e., best places to visit in the city the convention takes place), a backstage pass to a special event, etc
- They travel in packs. Gen Y likes to attend events with their younger peers, so encourage group discounts or incentives. Make it "cool or hip" to sign up first to attend your event.
- Create healthy competition. Just turn on the TV and notice it's 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 an excellent 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 tremendous success.
- Don't forget the follow-up. Keep the learning going through frequent interaction in your online communities. Here 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 millennials may take effort, but it is worth it to keep our associations and events strong and healthy.