August 28, 2015
How do you engage a meeting full of goldfish? This is one question that organizations will have to solve over the next ten years as millennials move into the executive suite. The average attention span of a millennial involved in passive listening is no more than 10-15 minutes. The American Society of Association Executives gathered twenty-six young association professionals from across the United States to develop innovative ideas for solving critical questions regarding Generation Y and Millennials. Organizations will need to embrace change and move toward implementing solutions that will engage millennials not only in meetings but within their culture, or risk increased competition from the outside. The report highlighted multiple action points and solutions; here are our favorites:
Post-Meeting Items: E-books, toolkits, videos, and PowerPoint shells.
Increase Engagement: Consider perks for participating like free registration to events, free publications, discounts, rewards, recognition, etc.
Game-On: Develop game scenarios asking participants to solve urgent problems within their profession and industries together in a fun, non-threatening, and scenario-based environment. “Gamification should be reflective of core purpose, value, proposition, and geared toward a specific audience.”
Professional Development: “Virtual learning companies like Coursera, Udacity, and EdX will continue to make significant inroads into virtual learning settings. The day is not far off when members begin to question why they can take a physics course from MIT for free but have to pay us $120 for a 90-minute workshop and a hotel chicken lunch.”
Crowd Contribution: “Use a crowd contributing open environment such as Google Drive, which are editable by large groups. ‘Suggestion box’ with transparency – show the ideas and how you’re listening and making changes.” Investigate and implement other platforms to keep the crowd engaged and participating.
Unique Places: “Members move from appreciating to expecting the ‘exceptional’.” Think cooler, more unique places for your next meeting location.
Peer-to-Peer Experience: “Move past ‘happy hours’ as the only bonding (and networking) opportunity.” Incorporate fun activities and more personalized experiences.
Vertical Integration: Provide opportunities for millennial groups to freely mix with all other groups. “Diversity and inclusion efforts need to be stepped up with all dimensions of diversity being honored and welcomed by the system.”
One final thought: explore the term your “millennials” want to be referred to as. The report investigated advantages and disadvantages of the term “young professionals.” One negative is, “it conveys a lack of experience which may or may not be the case.” The positive view the group agreed upon is, “awards and recognition given specifically to ‘young professionals’ are of value and have potential to be a career accelerator.”
If your 10-15 minutes isn’t up, visit http://blog.cvent.com/blog/executiveoasis/5-ways-to-engage-millennials-in-meetings to read the full report.