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Getting Ready for Generation Y

Posted on January 12, 2007

By Ann Fishman

Let’s not forget Generation Y, ages 25 and younger.

Gen Ys are looking for constant change.

They’ve growing up with computers at home … and in a 500-channel universe.  Growing up in the information age, they receive an overwhelming amount of media messages everyday and these techno-tots thrive on it.

Gen Y is an interactive generation.

Growing up with the computers, pagers and cell phones, they’re used to continually responding to everything.  From corporate questions about products -  to text-messaging a vote for the next American Idol - to communicating with a professor during a class, Ys are used to interacting.  It’s a great part of how they see define communication.

For meeting planners, all this can translate into speakers giving shorter, more interactive sessions; attendees text-messaging their questions to a big screen during sessions; or inviting Ys to take a hand in helping you plan the meeting in advance by asking for their suggestions.  The Y who offers the best suggestion can get a prize [no garbage gifts here … perhaps, coffee with the CEO or the president of the organization.]

Any thoughts out there about providing constant change or interactivity at meetings or conferences?

Thanks for your input and for chatting with me.  It’s been fun.


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Joan Eisenstodt

Ann - Sorry I didn't get to this until today - and having participated in the PCMA meeting, it was interesting to talk about generational differences when it came to content delivery and meetings. Was surprised that some Gen Yers still want lectures - where they are given the 'answers' about how to do things. I wonder if the next gen. (those being schooled in the US on "no-child-left-behind") will revert to learning for the test/goal learning v. wanting to learn and being interactive. Such fascinating times.
Thanks for all you wrote. Good education and food for thought.

Kelly Rush

I wonder how much those who look for lectures really "defy" the generational learning issues Ann is actually talking about, Joan. In terms of the information age issues and short attention spans, there's definitely a section of the crowd out there that "just wants the answers"; I've found that many don't want to take the time to start with a question and follow the paths of logic and connection to an answer, perhaps because this process sometimes leads only to another question, as you and I know.

Then again, I also wonder if this might have something to do with how they perceive the information that they're receviing: is it something they "need to know" and that's why they're at a meeting, or is something they're actually interested in and are willing to spend more of their time learning.

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