By Kevin Dana, executive director of product and development, CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings
Many aspects of traditional corporate meetings and conferences appear mundane and uninteresting to millennials in today’s work force. Creating entertaining and inviting environments that challenge and excite them is the key to creating a successful event. Both meeting and event attendees want to feel inspired, connected to fellow participants, and engaged in the overall event experience.
Millennials crave social and sharable content and experiences, so making every moment feel like a highlight will keep them excited and engaged. They want an authentic experience that fosters learning and contains elements of surprise. By blurring the lines between work and play, event planners can create an environment that is both productive and inspiring.
A program that encourages participation and activity are the keys to creating an experiential meeting. Design and furnishings also play a pivotal role in providing the right environment for these shared experiences. Leveraging principles of design can help planners transition from run-of-the-mill meetings to immersive, impactful experiences.
If you want your attendees on their phones during presentations, stick with theater-style seating. If you want them to engage, then get creative. Go bold and surprise your attendees with unique seating arrangements, such as casual seating vignettes and small lounges to make your space feel comfortable and inviting. Create unusual lounges using Hexagon Ottomans or Island Sofas that encourage groups to sit informally, collaborate and help break down barriers of communication. Spaces that are interesting facilitate interesting conversations.
Go with the Flow
Allow for exciting and unscripted collaboration by creating a space that is adaptable and flexible. Consider using curved or round seating, such as pieces from the CORT Endless Collection, that encourage a constant flow around the furnishings. Standing bar tables are a great way to increase energy in a session, and allow for easy movement around the space. The Marche Ottomans swivel and can be configured for impromptu campfire style gatherings, plus they add a shot of color to keep the room fresh. Wagner Chairs and Vibe Cubes are great ways to add texture and color to a space while still maintaining comfort and style.
Millennials are known for multitasking on multiple devices, so creating a space where they can plug in and connect is essential for young professionals. When attendees rush to find seating by wall outlets to charge their phones or other electronics, it’s disruptive to the overall experience. Utilize a variety of powered furniture to charge up your meeting rooms and create communal workspaces that foster a team environment and encourage collaborative strategic planning.
Breakout sessions are a unique opportunity to connect with your attendees in a more personal and engaging way. Creating intimate spaces that allows for in-depth conversation, collaboration and interaction maximizes productivity. Define large or small breakout areas with Miramar Dividers or Boxwood Hedges to allow for smaller conversation spaces within a large room and they provide opportunities for branding and signage. Comfortable and energetic places within your meeting encourage interactivity that creates memorable learning experiences.
Planners must continually update their vision for meetings and events and innovate to engage millennials. The evolving social workplace environment allows planners to create exciting combinations of technology and creativity and makes events more impactful than ever before.
About Kevin Dana
Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development for CORT Trade Show and Event Furnishings. He handles national marketing strategy across all channels and developed CORT’s proprietary event furniture brands; including the Endless collection, Luna Lighting, Napoleon, and Elements decor collections. To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections, visit www.cortevents.com.