Organisers need to focus learning style preferred by millennials, research suggests

Research launched by Loughborough University and Imago suggests that event organisers need to have a stronger focus on style of learning preferred by millennials and the business leaders of the future.

The research was conducted in conjunction with Loughborough University and The Right Solution and measures whether the meetings industry is doing enough to inspire the business leaders of tomorrow. It follows on from last year’s successful report; does the future have room for face-to-face communication?

Professor Rachel Thomson, pro vice-chancellor (teaching) at Loughborough University, said: “We are continually developing our learning and teaching methods to take advantage of the latest developments in technology, including designing flexible spaces to foster learning and collaboration, preparing a new generation of students for the world of work. It is important for their future employers to recognise these different learning styles when delivering training to realise the full potential of their millennial talent, given that they were immersed in technology from an early age.”

Key findings from the research include:

  • 82% of delegates and 81% of students said a major motivator to attend meetings was for personal career development yet this wasn’t rated highly as a motivator by organisers.
  • Just 51% of delegates and 37% of students feel fully encouraged to take part in meetings.
  • Delegates see meetings as an opportunity for creative and innovative thinking yet feedback suggests they don’t always get this and that meeting organisers and facilitators could pay more attention to stimulating creative thought.
  • 75% of delegates and 77% of students like meetings to use interactive games and new technology yet only 66% of organisers are making use of them.
  • Passion and enthusiasm are the highest ranked elements delegates, organisers and students want from a speaker
  • While social media activity will not necessarily motivate people to attend meetings, 61% of delegates, 51% of organisers and 65% of students believe it is a good tool for creating awareness.

Emma Boynton, head of sales and marketing at Imago, added: “The research discovered that millennials place great value on face-to-face meetings and while technology does have an impact on how they prefer to communicate and conduct business, they are looking for a more customised learning experience. They want to learn from inspirational experts to gain knowledge that helps their future career aspirations, and in many cases, their needs are not being met by meetings organisers.”

Boynton added: “Delegates want content that offers inspiration, passion and leadership and they don’t value meetings which are aimed purely at obtaining information about the company’s vision compared to organisers.

“The results serve as a rallying cry to the meetings industry and British business to do more to encourage passion and enthusiasm for work to maintain motivation and increase productivity in the future. As an industry, we need to work harder, be more flexible and think ahead to provide value to people who attend meetings so it is more worthwhile for them.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Martin Fullard


Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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