The Great Generational Divide

As Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y workplace presence continues to overlap, meeting and event planners are determining THE best way to incorporate these distinct groups in their organizations.

Walk into any office and you’re bound to see a diverse group of individuals. From suit-donning, gray-haired executives carrying leather-bound portfolios, to tennis shoe wearing twenty-something’s with iPads in hand, to middle-age leaders lugging their laptops from meeting to meeting. This generational divide among the three groups (Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y) is causing meeting planners to take notice and determine the best way to engage these distinct groups in their next event.

So how do planners entice all age groups to partake in meetings and events?

Ensure you have various tracks set up to meet the needs of everyone. Have an event app that lists the schedule, speaker information and gives attendees push notifications during the event of reminders or possible changes. Although the younger generation is known for their utilization of technology, meeting planners are finding that with instruction, they are gaining ground with this age set as well. In addition, “cause-related” opportunities at events are often popular as well among the younger set, so consider incorporating CSR (corporate social responsibility) events at larger meetings. You may find that Millennials generation are eager to lend a hand or make a donation.

And remember, Millennials are thirsty for knowledge, but they just learn in a different way. Organizations that recognize this can adjust the format and content of their events to meet the needs of this group. Millennials are also collaborators who love being part of a

The future of Millennials at events will be increasingly digital. From social media capabilities, to digital invites, to mobile check-ins, Millennials are craving to bridge the gap between face-to-face interaction and technology. They long to share their experiences online while it’s happening in person. The digital revolution will continue to transform events into a hybrid between both in-person and virtual interactions.

It is important that meeting and event planners don’t think of Boomers generation as old because Boomers picture themselves 10 to 15 years younger than their chronological age. They expect to be treated special. Give prizes like spa treatments. They juggle aging parents, themselves, children and grandchildren. Build that into your meetings. This group loves music from the 60s, but that will probably turn off every other generation present.

Older attendees tend to prefer more traditional approaches to programming. For example, these individuals don’t like having to go online to access conference materials and would prefer to have handouts printed and distributed at events.