by Kevin Dana | August 22, 2017
When it comes to corporate meetings and conferences, the same old set up just won't cut it for Millennials. Keeping these young workers engaged and excited about presentations takes more than banquet seating and a PowerPoint presentation. Millennials want interesting, memorable, and unique experiences they can share. Creating a space and atmosphere that makes them feel connected, intrigued, and engaged will make your meeting more successful overall.

Workers are motivated by ingenuity and efficiency. Blurring the lines between work and connecting employees to their passion in new ways creates an authentic experience that fosters learning and contains elements of surprise.

1. Collaborative. Standard theater-style seating is uninspired. Spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and encourage collaborative learning, networking and brainstorming make Millennials feel understood and included. Utilizing variations of seating styles and arrangements can accommodate different learning styles. Create unusual lounges (for example, using pieces like the Hexagon Ottomans, from my company, CORT, pictured above) that encourage groups to sit informally, collaborate and helps break down barriers to communication. 

2. Flexible. Create natural flow in your event space by using curved or round seating, that promote discussion, collaboration and inclusivity. Bar tables for standing around to network are popular among Millennials and can increase energy and improve social dynamics. Incorporating non-traditional seating, centered around monitors or tablets, for social and synergistic input from all group members. 

3. Connected. Using multiple devices while multitasking is an important facet of Millennial work culture, so creating an environment where employees feel connected, secure, and plugged-in is vital. When attendees rush to find seating by wall outlets to charge their phones or other electronics, it's disruptive to the overall experience. Instead, incorporate powered seating into your meeting designs. Introduce a variety of powered furniture to your meeting rooms to create communal workspaces that foster a team environment and encourage collaborative strategic planning. 

4. Personal. Breakout sessions are a unique opportunity for attendees to gain valuable insight into topics they are interested in learning. Creating inviting, personal, intimate spaces can create a breakout session environment that encourages Millennials to participate. Define large or small breakout areas to allow for more intimate gatherings within a large room and provide opportunities for branding and signage. Comfortable and residential feeling spaces encourage interactivity that creates memorable learning experiences.

By connecting to young professionals in a way that makes them feel included, allows them to be social, encourages brainstorming and collaboration, and understands their need for a multifunctional space, planners can maximize engagement and create a successful and productive event. 

Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development for CORT Trade Show and Event Furnishings. He is responsible for national marketing strategy across all channels and developed CORT's proprietary event furniture brands; including the Endless collection and Luna Lighting. To learn more about CORT's exhibit and event rental collections, visit www.cortevents.com.