ConventionSouth

JAN 2013

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Planning Directory Home Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase ASSOCIATION MEETINGS Amy Ledoux, CAE, CMP: "Just because attendees are veterans, that doesn't mean they aren't using social media." Bridging the Age Gap By Selena Chavis Engaging All Generations At Association Events From the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers to Generation X and the Millennials, associations are facing challenges like never before in meeting the needs of a wide array of attendees. With at least four generations to cater to in today's current market, how can planners adequately balance resources to appeal to both the 25-year-old and the 65-year-old attendee? It's not easy, and according to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), it's about understanding the value proposition of why each group attends an association event. Consider that a high-tech event incorporates interactive learning and social media, which may appeal strongly to a 10 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ JANUARY 2013 younger generation, but older attendees may find it easier to learn through a more traditional lecture approach. Older attendees may desire that their experience be leveraged and showcased at association events, but often, younger attendees want to see a balance where age is not a measurement of maturity or expertise. In a recent series called Innovation Talks conducted by the ASAE regarding diversity issues, the organization pointed out it should be the goal of associations to resonate with their members so that "something in that message taps into a belief, a value, an aspiration, a fear or something important to that constituency." And while a large percentage of a par- ticular age group may prefer one learning format, Amy Ledoux, CAE, CMP, senior vice president of meetings, expositions and events with ASAE, cautioned that meeting planners should not expect that everyone in that demographic will feel the same way. "The best way to engage any generation of attendees is to make sure the content is relevant and is delivered in a variety of formats that will appeal to a broad spectrum of attendees," she suggested. "Not everyone wants to sit and listen to a speaker without interaction, but some people do. So make sure you have both interactive sessions as well as those where attendees listen." ■ w w w. c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m

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