How Millennials Are Changing Meetings

Planners Redesign Experiences and Content Delivery to Meet New Expectations


Meetings Redesigned

“Many meeting agendas prioritize delivery of messages and attendee learning,” says Brent Turner, S.V.P., solutions at Cramer, a Norwood, Massachusetts, agency whose services include meeting and event planning. “This means the resulting agenda ends up with attendees sitting passively in ballrooms for six-plus hours a day.” He advocates instead keeping in mind that millennials want to move, be self-directed and learn from peers.

“So we look at breaking up these traditional agendas,” Turner says. “We take a page from TED Talks and make presentations shorter. We repeat sessions multiple times so attendees can break and choose when they want to learn specific topics, and we create activities that drive peer-to-peer conversation.” The overall goal is to keep things moving while giving the attendees more ways to participate in the meeting experience.

Other measures might focus on changing the traditional scheduling of long sessions in a single ballroom with a single stage. For example, morning seating could be configured in traditional rows, with team discussions assigned in late morning with teams leaving the ballroom and finding space anywhere else in the venue. Then for post-lunch sessions, all seating could be removed so attendees can only stand at high-tops. Toward the end of the day, seating could be brought back and set up in fireside or round-table formats to drive peer-to-peer conversations.“

“Just changing the variety of seating — while prioritizing more spaces for group and peer engagement — will embrace many of the expectations of millennial attendees,” Turner says.

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