Poll: Attendees want more engaging activities

I’m a longtime proponent of more engaging activities, participation, and connection around relevant content at events. Sometimes, I feel like I’m whistling in the wind. So I felt happy when I saw the following in a global poll by PCMA of 4,500 members of Generation Z.

If you could change something about the business event(s) you’ve been to in the past, what would it be?
more engaging activities

(In case you were wondering, interviewees could choose more than one option.)

Over two-thirds of the respondents chose “more engaging activities” as something they wanted to change at their meetings!

Now I’m not a fan of what I’ve called the Generation XYZ baloney. I think core motivations to attend events remain fixed over time. To put it another way, human nature doesn’t really change between generations, though circumstances and the consequent opportunities do. (And it’s the latter we should focus on.)

Whatever your beliefs on generational culture, this finding means that stakeholders need to act on building more engagement, participation, and connection into meetings if they are serious about improving the attractiveness and effectiveness of events.

We’ve known how to make meetings participation-rich and connection-rich for decades. Younger generations are more exposed to active learning formats in school, like flipped and group learning. Yet most meetings shun these powerful modalities for the same old relatively ineffective lecture formats.

This poll suggests that the young are seriously dissatisfied with current opportunities for meaningful engagement at events. As time passes, these folks will move into positions with increasing responsibility and influence.

Ignore their needs at your peril!

Poll details: 560 responses (27% between the ages of 21-24), conducted for PCMA and reported in the March/April 2021 issue of PCMA Convene by Editor in Chief Michelle Russell (hat tip to Michelle!)