In an industry highly defined by tradition, established professionals can be very weary of and resistant to change. However, it’s 2016 and millennials are taking the event industry by storm. This group of young professionals is technologically advanced and socially savvy. Their digital lifestyles reflect in how they participate and engage while attending conferences and events. They embrace technology, relationship-building, and a fast-paced work environment. Their ideologies are far from traditional, and it’s time for the older generations to understand, accept, and thrive in the evolving workplace.
I am an event professional and I am a millennial. I have come to find that in this industry, veterans are often turned off by the term “millennial”. Other generations have this perception of us as being digital zombies; glued to our phones and totally disengaged from reality. However, I beg to differ! Technology doesn’t exist to eliminate face-to-face relationship-building, but rather it exists to enhance and encourage relationship-building, and create a more interactive event experience.
In a world wrapped up in selfies, social media, and text messaging, one may assume integrating technology into the workplace can be distracting. Don’t get me wrong, technology can and inevitably will be abused by your attendees. As a totally guilty party, I encourage you to provide us millennials with the technology we so heavily rely on to distract us from using it for our own personal use. Give us the opportunity to network, to share our feedback, and to interact with exhibitors or speakers straight from our mobile lifelines themselves.
According to Forbes, millennials will represent roughly 75% of the workforce by 2030. For industry vets, this means that change is on the horizon and it’s time to kick those traditional habits. Sooner than later we will be dominating management and leadership positions, which likely means technology will be seen more as a necessity as opposed to a luxury. So from one event professional to another, I encourage you to accept the change that is upon us and learn to embrace technology for what it really is – a portal for your attendees to create relationships and become more engaged with your events.