Remember when everyone was talking about Generation X? Me neither! I’m Generation Y, baby – a Millennial, a 21-st century digital boy, the present and the future (at least until the dreaded moment Generation Z takes over). I’m the new generation event professional, but more importantly I’m the new generation event attendee! And as an attendee I have certain expectations from your business event. The more you know about ME, the Millennial, the better your events will become.
Give me actionable knowledge
Information alone means little to me. I need context. I don’t come to your event to simply learn something new – what I learn has to be useful in what I do. I want to end up making the right decisions and come to the right conclusions.
Does this pyramid make sense to you? It doesn’t matter, because it makes sense to me. It’s built from the top down and the final “block” is my bottom line – my main reason for attending your event. I consider this actionable knowledge the key to a successful future and it’s where your brand can win me or lose me. Sure, as a Millennial I am mostly open-minded and liberal, but I definitely don’t take my future lightly.
It’s not just about what knowledge your event has to offer. It’s also about how it will be presented. I need to be engaged in a way that’s suitable for the 21st century. Try me with exotic destinations, unusual venues, amazing visuals, or just about anything you can come up with. No big deal, I just want to be WOW-ed!
Stimulating activities and more interactivity guarantee your event will be a memorable experience for me… or at least that it won’t be boring.
- Be creative and steer clear of the dull and outdated formula of monotone lectures + hour-long PowerPoint presentations.
- I just love being challenged to flex my problem-solving muscles. Keep sessions short and involve me directly, because I have the attention span of a 2-year old and my mind wanders off quickly.
- Remember that we didn’t just grow up with technology – we’re more or less dependent on it! I’m tech-savvy and the smartphone is my weapon of choice. You can easily engage me via social media or some mobile app.
- As much as I love tech, I’m a social animal at heart. Organize group activities where teamwork is essential to coming up with the best solution or result. Now that I mentioned group activities, let me express my undying love for networking.
Personalize my experience
Us Millennials have been lovingly dubbed the Me Me Me Generation. We’re entitled and self-centered. Not me, though, I’m whatever’s the opposite of this. Still I’d really appreciate it if you could tailor your event to my preferences.
Personalization should start from the off and match my requirements as an attendee with relevant content and activities. Here’s what I consider a personalized event experience:
- I can pick the sessions and activities (possibly during the registration process) that are relevant to me
- I can use my mobile device to access event content on-demand
- I can be directly involved somehow, as opposed to stare at a screen for hours
- I have access to specific networking opportunities to help me accomplish my goals for the event
You can use the registration process to collect the kind of data that helps you understand ME and craft an event suited to MY preferences. If that’s not too much to ask, of course, and it’s not. Because it’s all about Me Me Me!
But seriously, attendees have different reasons for attending – as an event organizer you need to understand what these reasons are and deliver.
Help me grow my network
My generation sees tremendous value in the networking aspect of going to an event. Help me expand my existing network by creating an environment for connections that feels natural to me. The cocktail-style environment is so passé. Here’s a bullet-point list of things that make for a natural environment for connections:
- Keep it casual
Being a very team-oriented person I just love the concept of idea sharing and building relationships that can lead to strategic alliances, referrals, business opportunities, or I don’t know what.
We’re know-it-alls and not afraid to admit it. That doesn’t mean we are not ready to listen as long as it’s someone deemed worth listening to. The chance to meet, connect to key influencers and thought leaders in my field is one of the main reasons I attend events. I see great value in learning from the go-to people, which means improving at my job and hopefully climbing up the career ladder faster.
Make it easy for me
Generation Y is kind of lazy. Or maybe that’s just me. But I think I speak for everyone when I say we like things easy and convenient. And since we’re a mobile-wielding bunch, the first thing you should do is to optimize your site, the registration process, and some event content for easy access from any device.
No, wait, the first thing is to make the registration process fast and easy. Both! Both are the first thing. A fast, easy, and convenient event registration that is accessible across all devices, is the way to go. Anything less and you’ve lost this Generation Y attendee!
Give me what I want!
Why should you care what I want? Y – that’s why. Generation Y are now the dominant age group and a whole new batch of us are just about to enter the fray. We are a highly proactive and resourceful lot that values experiences, inspiration, and interaction above all else. If we don’t find that your event experience meets most, if not all, our needs, your event is just not worth it.
What an insightful look into the mind of a millennial, if I do say so myself. Don’t forget to share my article! I’ll even say please, if I have to. You can also follow me on twitter because there’s more where that came from and I feel my opinion matters.
Featured image: Gabriel Barletta licensed under CC0 1.0
Infographic vector by Freepik