C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 12

C+C ❭❭ FEATURE: DIVERSITY

The Evolution of

Multi-Generational

Events
BY CARA SILLETTO, MBA

A

ttendees' expectations are
changing and are becoming more diverse every day. One size
no longer fits all!

The Evolution of Expectations
Many years ago, people accepted what was offered in life. You take
what I give you, and you'll eat what's on your plate, remember?
But today, we demand choices. Do you go to a car dealership
looking for a red car and instead drive home in a blue one? No! We
set our expectations and then keep searching until we find exactly
what we want. The same is true for our customers, aka attendees.
Our society has evolved dramatically over the last 30 years,
mostly due to technology, access to more information and a new
abundance of options - think retailers, TV channels and cereal
brands, to name just a few. So I find in the meeting world, the
younger the attendee, the higher the expectations. Because we
(yes, I'm a millennial) grew up with more options as kids than our
parents had, we are much less likely than an older attendee to
be tolerant of a less-than-dynamic speaker, for example. We will
quickly pull out our cell phone to do "something better" with our
time if we are not getting enough value out of a session. An older
attendee, on the other hand, will be more "respectful" (as they
were taught to do in church as a child), staring blankly toward the
front of the room trying not to fall asleep.
So how do you handle this evolution of expectations and
widening spectrum of attendee needs? Focus on continuous
improvement.
12 | C+C magazine | MPI Chicago Area Chapter

Get Better Every Year
Planners used to have the luxury of using last year's template
to duplicate an event with efficiency. You'll die that way now!
Every year, you must raise the bar on something, if not lots
of things - better topics, better speakers, better networking
opportunities, better meal experiences, better interaction, better
receptions, better entertainers, better technology, better expos.
You must find ways to wow your attendees by bringing as much
value as possible within your budget, which hopefully grows each
year as you continue to impress attendees who then encourage
their friends to attend next time.
While you're probably conducting attendee surveys to collect
participant feedback, are you really analyzing them? Are you
asking how could we make the program better next time? Many
of your attendees go to other events as well, so consider adding
the question, "What's the coolest thing you've seen at a recent
event elsewhere?" And be sure to research other industries and
professions, since best practices for meeting planning and great
conferences are industry agnostic.
Remember, you do not have to come up with the great ideas
yourself, you just have to find (and borrow) them. So check
out events with bigger budgets and figure out a way to scale
that cool offering back for your smaller budget. Or share the
pricey new idea that would bring extra value to attendees with
vendors and suppliers to get focused sponsorship dollars. They
will tell you they are "capped out" on sponsorship dollars if it's a
generic "silver level partnership," but many would love to have
their name attached to the most memorable aspect of your
better-than-ever event.

Diversify Your Agenda
Since everyone sees the world differently today, give people
options. As a speaker, I'm asked to provide my content in a range
of formats - from full-day workshops or one-hour keynotes
to 15-minute TEDTalk-style programs or 5-minute lightning



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
LEARNING BYTES
THE EVOLUTION OF MULTI-GENERATIONAL EVENTS
WHY CORPORTATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS SMART BUSINESS
THE NEW RFP - HOW ARE YOU COMMUNICATING WITH IT
BLOGSPOT
VOLUNTEER WITH MPI: HOW TO GET INVOLVED
DESTINATION FOCUS: THE GREAT LAKES
WELCOME TO THE NEW MEMBERS OF MPI-CAC!
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover1
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover2
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 3
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 4
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 5
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 6
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 8
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 9
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 10
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - LEARNING BYTES
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - THE EVOLUTION OF MULTI-GENERATIONAL EVENTS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 13
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - WHY CORPORTATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS SMART BUSINESS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 15
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - THE NEW RFP - HOW ARE YOU COMMUNICATING WITH IT
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 17
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 18
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - BLOGSPOT
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - VOLUNTEER WITH MPI: HOW TO GET INVOLVED
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - DESTINATION FOCUS: THE GREAT LAKES
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover3
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover4
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