You need to adapt your conference or die! (Paraphrasing these two thought leaders).
“You have to [change] if you want to stay in business. You’re listening to your target market and your target market cares. They are angry, they’re posting about these things, they’re hungry to have an impact on the world. If you’re someone who sells or will ever sell anything to these people, you should be listening to them. That’s basic business,” says Lublin.
Attracting Angry Millennials
Many conference organizers are looking for ways to attract a new generation to their event.
The insights Lublin and Haque provided are something all conference hosts, leaders and organizers should consider. It is more than just incorporating social media and texting. It has to do with adapting to global social changes and Millennials’ needs to engage them as paying attendees.
1. Angry Millennials love conferences with meaningful experiences.
As Haque says, there’s a big in difference putting a nice new coat of paint on something with a new sheen and doing something authentic, real-world and meaningful. Too many conference experiences are outdated, promote lecture as the primary experience, are forged on tradition and uphold all white males in their speaker lineups. This is the exact opposite of real-world, meaningful experiences.
2. Angry Millennials love conferences that break the rules.
We need conference hosts and organizers who are rebellious and acknowledge that some things are broken. They realize that the old conference rules are broken and need to be rewritten for a 21st Century audience.
3. Angry Millennials love conferences that use technology to respond fast.
Smartphones, mobile devices and social media are the tools of today’s Millennials. 20-somethings text each other and post in social media. If they registered for your event and posted something about it on Facebook, they expect that you know that and will respond to them there. They also expect you to text them important information as well as have a conference app.
4. Angry Millennials love conferences that hate dumb consumption.
Conference organizers, hosts and leaders have been seduced that providing tons of information and a variety of lectures and panels is what people really want. Trying to attend as many education sessions as possible and cram learning actually has the opposite effect. It causes us to know and learn less in the long-run. Millennials value conferences that provide value through effective learning opportunities that help them solve pain points and real world issues. Focusing on core issues and quality programming attract Millennials more than offering something for everyone.
5. Angry Millennials love conferences that buck the traditional institution role.
Conferences that attract and retain Millennials provide a sense of hope and a pathway to improve in the face of global disruption and old broken ways. Millennials have lost faith that government, education and business as traditional institutions. As a conference organizer you can create a unique event experience that allows Millennials, and all attendees, to be participants and co-creators to real world solutions to the problems they face.
Adapt Your Business To Social Change Or Die, Fast Company, September 2013
Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored Conference 2013
The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business by Unmair Haque
Dosomething.Org, Nancy Lublin
Braindoddonleadership.com, Brian Dodd,
How would you finish this statement: “Angry Millennials Love Conferences that…” ? Why do you think the statement “conferences must adapt or die” is accurate or inaccurate?