How meetings can bridge the generational gap

How meetings can bridge the generational gap



Texting the CEO. Borrowed from rock concerts, this one works well for large gatherings of over a thousand attendees, says Planning the Globe's Felix: Attendees text-message questions and comments to a centralized location, where a staffer vets, edits, and spell-checks them before posting them on a big screen.



Meeting match-up. Have your presenters sit on a panel so attendees can approach them individually. It's an easy way to appeal to different age groups, says Fishman, who sat on such a panel at one meeting. "Gen X is very entrepreneurial, so they like to ask business leaders how the game is played. And Gen Yers like to tell you their opinions."



Two-for-one. "Boomers complain about younger employees' dress code and the fact that they don't show up on time," notes Johnson. "And the younger folks feels they aren't taken seriously at work. If a meeting included a session called 'Getting Older People to Take You Seriously,' it would appeal to Gen Yers"—who will not, she adds, sign up for one called "How to Dress Appropriately." "It would also answer boomers' concerns by dealing with verbal skills, dressing appropriately, covering up tattoos, and so on."

CHARITY ACTIVITIES. These are great for Gen Yers and Silents (older folks, usually CEOs and others at the top end of the corporate ladder; they value expertise and education and are helpers). They can also work well for boomers, who love team activities. However, they may alienate Gen Xers, who dislike group events—unless you can appeal to their love for the environment.