Those born on or after 1962 have witnessed three major culture shifts.
These shifts set them apart from older generations.
It also creates new challenges for those trying to create conference experiences for multiple generations. Everyone’s expectations are different.
Three Major Society Shifts Since 1962
Conference organizers need to acknowledge that the needs of their attendees have changed. They no longer need academic experts, the learned, talking to other academics trying to learn. To put it succinctly, the conference can no longer just be an academic institution distributing information.
Instead, everyone needs to become learners together. We need to create learning experiences, not information distribution channels.
1. The power of one is great!
In the past, only governments and country leaders had all the power. Today is very different. One person can change the course of the world.
Think about 9/11. Osama bin Laden understood the power of one.
One person can greatly affect and change your conference.
2. Today’s generations do not need authority figures to access information.
The internet has given everyone the power to access information. It is no longer held within silos of experts or the learned.
However, today’s generations still need authority figures to help them process and assess that information. That’s where conference organizers can help! Secure facilitators that help attendees process, evaluate and uncover ways to apply that information.
3. Some of today’s Gen X and Millennials are authority figures.
Older generations need to understand and accept that some of today’s younger generations are authority figures in some areas. Just consider computers, internet and technology for instance.
They have the skills and savvy that we will need to survive in the future. We need to allow them to present and get involved now. We do not need to require them to put in their years of experience to the industry first.
It is clearly time for conferences to change the traditional education session to adapt to today’s audiences.
How do you see these changes affecting your conference? What barriers exist to changing the traditional conference education model?