Are you confused about Millennials and how to get them to your next event? Lets define who Millennials (or Gen Ys) are, how they interact with people, and how to get them engaged at your next conference or meeting.
Who are Millennials?
Although there doesn’t seem to be a precise date as to when they were born, the general consensus is they are born between 1985 and 2004.
- Unlike previous generations, they grew up with the Internet.
- Their networking skills are not as strong as other generations because they are used to chatting online or texting. Face-to-face meetings with a room full of strangers is scary to them.
- They grew up with structured activities, such as soccer, piano, and ballet practices or lessons. Going outside just to play wasn’t the norm.
How do you reach them and get them engaged?
This is a generation who does not use email as their primary tool of digital communications. Facebook, Twitter, viewing You Tube videos and texting are their way to communicate which means:
- Develop an entire digital strategy around these type of attendees. Send out your invitations and updates on the platforms they use. Skip snail mail and emails. They won’t open it or read them.
- Make your event technology savvy. Rent iPads and give to the attendees. Have kiosk rentals available for digital signage, virtual concierge services, or to promote your products or services. Wireless Audience Response Systems can replace paper surveys.
- Encourage texting and tweeting during the event. They are going to do it anyway, so speakers and event organizers need to accept it and work it into the session. Whether it be texting or tweeting questions to the speaker or complaining about the cold temperature in the room, Millennials are more likely to use technology rather than say something face-to-face.
- Make every moment of the event organized. No networking receptions. Rather have something organized such as going to a baseball game, playing volleyball, or schedule a museum visit.
- They are easily bored in static lecture-driven sessions. They like interactive sessions or ones where there are multiple short presentations.
- They want deep thought leaders because they will challenge the speaker if they think he or she does not know what they are talking about. When the presenter is in front, millennials will start Googling them and reading about their personal and professional life. Questions will start to arise and a speaker may get threatened if they do not understand and appreciate what is going on.
- Millennials like to work in small groups with preplanned discussion questions. Rent tablet PCs for each table and allow them to mind map different ideas or challenges.
- Make the Millennials your "technology ambassadors". Have them train other attendees, how to use the iPad, touch panel kiosk, and/or audience response rentals. They are very comfortable with the technology where others may not be. In addition, it makes them feel special and engaged.