What is the Secret to Reaching Millennials? If you are producing an event…

Capturing the attention of millennials and the Gen Z crowd (also known as iGen) has been the holy grail of goals for meeting and event planners in recent years. Old-school methods and formats aren’t effective anymore. This new generation of attendees demands innovation and interactivity and expects social media shareability.

At the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in generational research and solutions, an in-house team of experts, keynote speakers, and consultants work with clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups across industries such as automotive, banking, financial services, restaurants, hoteliers, and retail, to figure out what works and what doesn’t. (Hint: PowerPoint, no. Video, yes.)

The center deems those born between 1977 and 1995 as millennials. The center’s president, Jason Dorsey, who, at 40, rides the cusp of this generation, has spoken in front of many millennial-packed audiences at events, meetings, and conferences, including the Financial Brand Forum, GS1 in Mexico, Ultimate Connections Conference, and EO Nashville. Here, he shares his insights into planning a meeting or event that successfully taps into the mindset of this group.

What are the key elements that millennials look for in events?
Millennials want to be included in all aspects of the event. This means not having to sit in the back of the room because they have more junior titles or fewer years of experience. Millennials also want digital integration, fewer PowerPoint slides, more video, and more all-around interactivity. We have come of age in a time of instant feedback and collaboration, and we want our in-person events to include more of this before, during, and after.

What’s the main difference between reaching a Gen Z audience as compared to millennials?
Gen Z are younger than millennials, in some cases 15 years younger, so they are on the very front end of their careers. [Right now, Gen Z is up to age 22.] We find they value training on how to make the most of events, how to use technology to connect with people and resources at events, and interaction that drives new connections—as they likely know fewer people at the event than other generations. Gen Z also looks to other social media platforms, such as Snapchat rather than Facebook, which changes the type of digital interactions they want to create while at an event.

What’s the best way for planners to reach millennials at conferences and meetings in particular?
In our work with planners around the world, the best way to reach millennials is to create the foundation for a great event before the event happens. This includes videos, behind-the-scenes collaborations, and building up the excitement for the event before it takes place. Our work with meeting planners who have events with lots of millennials also reveals that millennials want the event to be tailored to them, when possible, and to give them options to find content and tracks that meet their specific needs including career and life stage. Millennials want speakers that are high energy, engaging, and who pull into the message and meeting, rather than traditional PowerPoint-heavy presentations with someone behind a podium.

Lastly, continuing the conversation after the event is key so that all the great content doesn’t just disappear, but drives engagement, enthusiasm, and action when everyone returns to work. We frequently work with meeting planners to film videos and create other content that is specifically designed to be delivered before and after the event, including live conversations post-event.

What types of speakers are most effective at engaging millennials?
Millennials get fired up about my take on our generation because I explain how millennials are actually two generations [early and late millennials], not one. This is a big deal and why many of us feel like we don’t fit in the generation. Other speakers I’ve seen that resonate with millennial audiences include Jay Baer, Rory Vaden, Erik Qualman, and David Horsager. All of them are very entertaining presenters with lots of great stories and humor, which is important as millennials have very high expectations for entertainment when it comes to speakers.

Is there anything that’s a major turn-off for millennials in terms of events? 
Yes, boring speakers with lots of slides, being treated as if they are not as valued an audience member as those with bigger titles, not having diverse food options, and events that are in hotels where they charge for Wi-Fi.

This article was posted here with thanks to the writer Michele Laufik and came from BIZBASH. http://www.bizbash.com.

Excitement! Social Media! Why You Should Think Like A Millennial!

Note to my readers – this article came from BizBash.com one of my very favorite websites and they linked it from Small Business Trends – with appreciation to both of them.

selfieYou have a major event coming up. Either a conference, seminar, hosted panel discussion, reception for journalists at a major trade show, a community event – you get the idea. And you have done all your planning and preparations are solid. Now, what can you do to tip your event from successful to absolutely fabulous?

Think like a Millennial! Yes, that’s right…those social media savvy, online marketing and gamification powerhouses ushering in the next level of event promotion and awareness.

Millennials Know HashtagsHashtag
Millennials are trained to think in 140 characters or far, far less. They get to the heart of a topic – fast. They identify what’s the buzz, what’s hot and why people should take notice.

Millennials exercise this gift with hashtags that sport not only branding power but also social awareness. What better way to promote your event than to hashtag it like a champ?

Twitter provides an exceptional platform for creating and generating a social excitement around an event or activity. It builds community engagement with every tweet and retweet. Hashtags are the glue that holds endeavors together in a dynamic social landscape.

Develop entertaining or socially relevant hashtags that speak to the heart and soul of your event – and to the masses that you are targeting.

Millennials Never Give Up
Millennials are always trying new things. They are always experimenting, sharing and endorsing the latest and greatest. Let’s face it, they are trendsetters.

A Millennial will think nothing of exhausting all social media platforms when it comes to promoting a cause or sharing their expertise – or their dreams. So why should you?

Work a variety of social platforms to share your event – the build up of the event preparations, the goals of the event, special entertainers, important themes. Share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Work video content in the mix of your social shares to entice and engage all audiences.

Leave no social stone unturned when you promote your event. A Millennial sure wouldn’t – so why should you?

Millennials Love Selfies
Millennials love to share their selfies. Why? Well, they are young and beautiful. However, don’t sell these young marketing minds short. These kids are savvy personal branders. What is a selfie, but an affirmation of confidence.

So how do you selfie an event? Easy. Recruit participants in the event planning, event production and even the entertainment to selfie the event, share the event’s hashtags and show a social endorsement of the event in all its glory. Selfie before, during and after the event. Show off the event with confidence and the right creativity.

If a Millennial were at the helm of your event’s social promotion, it would be a selfie extravaganza. Don’t hesitate to master the selfie when it comes to marketing your event’s personality – and mission.

Millennials Get Excited
Whether it’s a social cause or the latest headlines, Millennials weigh in with observations, opinions and images. They are engaged people. They get excited – passionate.

Be like a Millennial and share your passion for your event with social engagement. Let your posts and shares convey a vibrant energy and glow about your event. If you are excited about your event, everyone else will get energized too.

You don’t have to tell a Millennial to get energized, that’s their natural state. Let that youthful energy and exuberance rub off on your social media approach to marketing, branding and promoting your event. Promote your event with energy and promote your event with passion.

Millennials Worship Images
Everyone loves images. One image can convey emotion, opportunity, excitement and even a philosophy of thought or action. Load your social media outreach with strong visuals and videos. Create memes, infographics, SlideShares and videos and leverage these visual vehicles to drive your event to success.

Millennials know pictures are worth a million tweets – are you getting the picture?