Make a Convention an Experience and Attract Younger Attendees

millenial female motivational speaker

I have been a motivational speaker at over 90 events a year for over 20 years.

The meeting and event environment has evolved a lot.  Today, we compete with online sources for people’s attention. Thanks to the online influence, younger meeting attendees (Millenials or Generation Y or Z) have shorter attention spans, they like immediate gratification, they demand interaction and like meetings that offer an experience.

Thus,  meetings need to capitalize on face to face learning and networking. The most significant change in the meetings industry is that information has become a commodity. Especially for millennials, If the whole meeting agenda is about throwing at them more and more information, this media-savvy audience can get this online. 

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Younger professionals demand an experience, not an event. This means engagement from the beginning, and it revolves around solving their problems and finding solutions.

Attract More Millenials to your next Conference:

Events need to have a balanced agenda. If all speakers have dense, dry content, retention will drop. 

Mix it up. Have engaging, interactive content and speakers. Make the agenda fun, relevant and exciting.

Add something to the agenda that is surprising and unexpected ( a new format, speaker or event )

Have a theme that speaks to the most compelling industry challenges. Feature information people must have that is relevant and timely right now. Focus on solving industry problems and discussing solutions.

Focus on transferable skills( below)

The reason Millenials attend events today is:

-to see what is new and impacts them

-to solve their problems 

-for the experience

-to ask questions and get feedback

-to network with peers

- if applicable, get valuable continuing education credits

-network with industry suppliers( with a trade show)

-for transferable skills


Most importantly, younger demographics come to events for the experience. Online media creates an experience, not just content. It has video, graphics, interaction, and more.  

Thus to compete with online resources, we need to make our meetings a great experience too by making them memorable, impactful, fun.

Many event planners stack agendas with content because they know we come to learn, but today we attend for the experience. 

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It's about the Experience

A convention is a right time to lift people up and give them a dose of humor and inspiration. When you get a group of like-minded people together in a room and build on an experience that is engaging and fun, you can't go wrong. 

What experience do you want people to have at your next conference?

Next, to attract younger generations, market the heck out of the benefits ( above) of face to face events.

Audiences today also like immediate gratification, thus make it easy to register, get a hotel room, get continuing education credits, etc.) 

Younger professionals love technology, so consider convention apps, easy to use websites, text message reminders. They have lower attention spans so deliver information in short bursts. Remind them over and over ( in different ways) about things (i.e., register) 

Younger audiences are very much transaction based versus relationship focused. They want to know how this event benefits them or solves their problems. Thus, focus on creating a fun experience, a great venue, a mix of guest and speakers,  continuing education credits, and transferable skills.

Focus on Transferable Skills

People are much more short-term in their careers now, they switch jobs and careers much sooner and more often. Thus it’s less about a long-term relationship and specific technical skills. 

Instead, have guest speakers who talk about transferable skills ( communication skills, stress reduction, etc.) transferable to other jobs. 

Many may not think of a job as a career, thus they want to know how what they learn will benefit them in all areas of life, or even a different career. 





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