Everyone wants to know about millennials. They are the “new” generation in the work force and they certainly think a little bit differently than previous generations. When it comes to events, there are simply things that work better for this audience. So, what do you need to know about planning events for millennials?
Millennials love to align their lives with purpose. They are very focused on ROI – the return on their investment – in every aspect of their lives. For events, this means that they are looking to maximize their experience. One of the ways that this comes across is by tying their experience to a purpose. Perhaps part of the proceeds of the event go to charity. Or, you might want to have them involved in a hands-on activity to write cards for children in hospitals or something else that is tied to the events style.
Of course, one of the things everyone talks about when we speak of millennials is the fact that they are very digitally minded. They are used to being on their phones or other devices at all times and they expect a few consistent things to happen at events. They expect that events are leveraging technology to make things easier, more accessible and more fun. They are intrigued by the use of images and lots of videos, versus text. And, they prefer interactive over anything stagnant.
One of the side effects of having information at our fingertips via our iPhones or tablets is that our attention span has shrunk. When you’re designing a conference or event for millennials, consider shorter sessions, more engagement and even some fun activities to break up the day. And, take advantage of second screen technology – supplementing what is happening on stage with content or activities available on their iPad or iPhone to keep them engaged versus Facebooking while an important conference session is in session.
Finally, it’s important to remember that millennials are not aliens. They may process information differently or have a different set of priorities, but at the end of the day, they enjoy the same things as we all do – making connections at an event and finding meaningful education and networking opportunities. While we should tweak our content and session formats to more appropriately reach this audience, we don’t have to flip our events completely on their heads. The most important thing is that we design with our audience in mind, while still keeping our core goals at the forefront.