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Strategies to Engage Millennial Meeting Attendees

October 20, 2015

In order to engage a Millennial attendee during meetings, the first thing a planner needs to do is to truly understand the generation and what it means to be a Millennial. According to demographics expert Kenneth W. Gronbach, Millennials are those born between 1980 through 2004. These individuals are extremely tech savvy thanks to being raised in the digital era of Internet connections, cell phones and social media. Millennials are great at speaking cyber and most often prefer communicating in ‘text talk’; short, precise and to the point. In their world, there’s no need for flowery adjectives and lengthy prose – just the facts and photos -quickly! This is a generation constantly engaged with their phones, meaning their attention can be hard to grasp. Millennials can find it difficult at times to communicate face to face as opposed to online which is precisely why planners need to incorporate hybrid meetings that blend lectures with technology. The old meet and greet out on the golf course isn’t enough to stimulate the networking skills of a Millennial. This is a group desiring structured events with participation games, where they can interact freely amongst various age groups. In order to engage this generation, you’ll want to create meetings that rely on technology, Q&A ‘games’, social media feeds, push notifications and music to keep them entertained from start to finish.

Structuring a meeting to invite participation

Keeping millennial attendees active and engaged in meetings can be a major feat. In order to do so, planners need to utilize new education tactics within meetings or events. The traditional meeting design with stage and speaker at the head of the room doesn’t do the trick for Millennials. The speaker will always be competing against personal cell phones, tablets, and laptops says Joyce Bromberg, vice president of strategy and research for Convene, “Putting rules in place is not the answer, especially for Millennials,” It’s important to recognize their tech ‘savvy-ness’ and provide a way to keep them engaged. It’s not unusual for this generation to take notes and/or post information on social media while a speaker is presenting, so giving them the tools to do just that will have a tremendous impact. Event tech is essential to this generation. Planners that include mobile event apps will have a stronger appeal to Millennials. Whether it be clarity of website registration, ease and efficiency of mobile apps, or audience engagement through live poll apps, technology is crucial in amplifying the experience. Millennials are also in search of new forms of meeting education that encourages open space learning and active engagement. Setting the space to encourage a more relaxed, inspired conversation is important as well. Think lounge clusters, circular arrangements, pod seating and even beanbag chairs! Meeting space that creates a social environment where they can gather as a group is essential.

Physical Activities & CSR

When planning a meeting for the Millennial generation, it’s important to understand the demographics and desired interests. Millennial’s have grown up in an era engulfed in digital, with a keen understanding that the latest and greatest technology will quickly fade away. They’ve engaged in various forms of digital and non-digital games so incorporating games and physical activities into meeting content will directly appeal to this group. Carolyn Davis, meeting and event planner for Strategic Meeting Partners, says that Millennials are a highly social group who “often prefer physical activities, particularly those with a CSR bent.” Offering an interactive experience that can also giveback to the community and the environment is a huge plus for this group. Clearly, the typical business and meetings as usual scenario just won’t sit well with this generation. You’ll have to step outside the box, get comfortable, creative, active and think in soundbites if you truly want to grasp and hold this groups’ attention.

A destination that can easily cater to the Millennial crowd is Newport Beach, CA. Quite possibly the perfect destination for this generation with its year-round climate, upscale urban chic lifestyle and abundance of activities, Newport Beach offers a variety of properties and meeting space sure to engage Millennials. Visit Newport Beach is your go to source for everything destination related and can assist in securing the ideal environment for your next group – be it Millennials, Gen X’s, Baby Boomers or all three!

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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