Meeting Tomorrow is a company largely made up of millennials. We know our event technology better than just about anyone and we love seeing it used in new, creative ways. We’ve been to events that were really engaging and memorable, but we’ve also been to events that didn’t leave much of an impression.
As a guest there’s nothing worse than being trapped at a boring event or presentation, and as an event planner there’s nothing worse than failing to engage your audience. Fortunately, this disappointment can be avoided altogether. We put our heads together and came up with some suggestions for increasing interactivity and engagement for millennials. Keep these millennial-friendly tips in mind the next time you’re planning an event to make sure it lives up to expectations.
Be Tech-Friendly & Fun
As millennials, we love our mobile devices and apps. We’re constantly on our phones, and we want to be able to interact with things at the event while using them. Consider making an event app, utilizing digital signage, or having an event hashtag and twitter wall. We love to post pics and status updates, so the more cool tech things you’ve got to grab our attention the better. If you assign an iPad to each guest with maps, documents, and supplemental material, we’ll be engaged simply while navigating the event.
Something that goes hand in hand with using mobile devices is charging them. Make sure to have adequate charging stations and outlets for us to charge up (see 5 Reasons Your Booth Needs a Charging Station). Otherwise we’ll be running out frantically to get a charge. Pair a touchscreen or monitor with the charging station and you’ll have a makeshift lounge area for guests to rest while they charge up.
Go Green or Go Home
While millennials crave new and exciting technology, we are also environmentally conscious. If you give us a bunch of event brochures and sign up sheets, we’ll be annoyed as well as disorganized. We’d rather see kiosk login stations, event apps, or tablets pre-loaded with event content in a neat, easy-to-navigate package. You’ll be saving trees and putting us in our element.
Instead of handing out flyers at booths, give us the option to fill out surveys on mobile devices or have more info sent straight to our inboxes. If you go the extra mile and drive paper out of the equation, we’ll be impressed. Your whole event will look cleaner and sharper and we’ll have our mobile devices going like crazy, posting about everything on social media.
See our post on how to go green with your event for even more ideas.
Dress Up Your Event
Although it’s important to have a great looking event in general, to millennials it may make the difference between having a memorable experience and a forgettable one. Some things that will undoubtedly get our attention are iPad video walls, social media feeds, touch screens, and other interactive displays.
If you’ve got a brand that you’re trying to promote, put it on everything you’ve got. If you have kiosks, get your logo on banners around it. If you’re playing videos on a large monitor, make the screensaver an eye-catching logo montage. Our eyes are drawn to the grandiose and the colorful, so the bigger the graphics, the better.
When working on a smaller event or with a limited budget, make sure the customization on the mobile devices and computers you’re renting out are neat, professional, and eye catching. Match iPad backgrounds (see how) with any banners or sponsor colors on display. Then you can color coat different booths or groups of devices to keep things interesting and make them stand out.
Promote Attendee Interaction
Although we can often be found staring down into a screen, millennials crave human connection and thrive on networking opportunities. In other words, we want to interact with your event and the other people in it. We do want to learn but we don’t want to spend our whole day listening to lectures and shuffling in and out of classrooms. We need time to network and post to social media.
Consider utilizing cool new devices like Crowdmics or Catchbox for Q&A sessions and speaker presentations. If there are slide presentations as part of a demonstration or lecture, try to incorporate mobile surveys and crowd participation using audience response systems. Ask questions to get us involved and provide smaller round-table style discussions with shorter sessions to hold interest.
Gamification is another great way to engage the competitive nature of millennials. Group activities and contests will engage us further, and encouraging icebreakers will get everyone involved. We will also greatly value things like five-minute exercises as opposed to coffee breaks, and extra-curricular suggestions for after the event. Anything you can do to maximize networking, sustainability and style will help make your event even more engaging and memorable for millennials.
And please share your ideas for engaging millennials at professional meetings and events in the comments!
Want to know more about event interaction and engagement? Call 1-877-633-8866 to speak to one of Meeting Tomorrow’s friendly event specialists. We’d love to provide you with a free consultation about your event goals and ideas.